Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
The Stage Door Theatre presents Showtune, a musical revue conceived by Paul Gilger, which celebrates the words and music of Broadway composer Jerry Herman. The forty songs featured in Showtune come from the musicals Milk and Honey (1961), Hello, Dolly! (1964), Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Mack & Mabel (1974), The Grand Tour (1979), A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (1980) and La Cage aux Folles (1983).
Jerry Herman was the first composer-lyricist in history to have three musicals run more than 1,500 performances on Broadway with Hello, Dolly! (2,844), Mame (1,508) and La Cage aux Folles (1,761). He has been nominated for the Tony Award five times, winning twice for Hello, Dolly!, and La Cage aux Folles. His work is honored by a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and by the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre, named after him by his alma mater, the University of Miami.
Showtune, under its original title Tune the Grand Up, premiered on May 1, 1985 in San Francisco, where it ran for two years. It received eleven awards, including Best Musical from the Hollywood Drama-League, the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and the San Francisco Council on Entertainment. In 1998 the revue was produced twice in London with a new title, The Best of Times. In 2002, the revue was renamed Showtune for its New York out-of-town tryout. The new title was inspired by Jerry Herman's memoir of the same name. In February of 2003, Showtune officially opened Off-Broadway at the the Theatre at St. Peter's in the Citicorp Center Building.
The songs in Showtune are presented in thematic scenes and song-cycles amply giving through-lines to the show without any dialogue. The musical-themed set of the Stage Door Theatre production serves the purposes of the show fancifully. While the costumes for the second act are pleasant, those for the first act, especially the opening, are dreadful. They are unflattering on the performers, unattractive to look at, and barely match the thematic plot
Each of the performers in this six-person revue truly has a chance to shine through singing, acting and dancing moments. Carolyn Kimmel has a clear voice and good stage presence throughout the show and is best in "Time Heals Everything." Shane Tanner has the most dramatic voice in the cast, shinning both in "I Won't Send Roses" and in the more energetic character songs, such as "Movies Were Movies." Though Showtune does not have intricate choreography, Joey Zangardi would seem the dancer of the cast and is pleasant to watch in "Tap Your Troubles Away." Tiffany Herlien sings and acts her best in the comedic "What Do I Do Now?" as the pregnant Agnes Gooch. Eileen Faxas pulls off an emotionally charged "If He Walked Into My Life" surprisingly well. Don Stansfield handles the biggest acting piece in the show with "Put a Little More Mascara On." A not-so-shy woman selected from the audience couldn't have been more pleased to be Dolly for those few musical moments of a reprise of "Hello, Dolly!," and the audience seems to adore the ending number sing-along"The Best of Times." This production of Showtune has a strong through-line, many memorable songs and a balanced cast of performers
Showtune will be appearing at the Stage Door Theatre through February 15, 2009. The theater is located at 8036 W. Sample Rd in Coral Springs, Florida. The Stage Door Theatre is a not-for-profit professional theatre company hiring local and non-local nonunion actors and actresses. Their two stages in Coral Springs are open year round. For tickets and information on their season, you may contact them by phone at 954-344-7765 or online at www.stagedoortheatre.com.