It is no secret that the University of Cincinnati - Conservatory of Music (CCM) is one of the top musical theater programs in the nation. Each graduating class produces multi-talented performers who find success on Broadway within a few years. Matt Bogart, Lynette Perry, Jason Graae, and Michele Pawk are just a few of the many alumni of this distinguished college. It is no surprise, therefore, that the latest mainstage production from CCM is a fully professional-level staging of a Broadway show, My One and Only.
My One and Only originally graced the boards of Broadway in 1983 as a vehicle for Tommy Tune and Twiggy. Set in 1927, the show wraps the classic tunes of George and Ira Gershwin around a new (in 1983) book by Peter Stone and Tim Mayer. The musical survived a difficult tryout in Boston to become a success on the Great White Way. The plot centers around an airplane pilot's attempt to be the first to cross the Atlantic, while also pursuing a romance with a beautiful swimming star. This setting and all of the various storylines are cute and humorous, but primarily exist to allow the characters an opportunity to dance and sing the wonderful Gershwin songs. This type of "light fluff" is not typically my favorite style for shows. However, one can't deny that the musical is enjoyable and a crowd-pleaser, especially in the hands of CCM Director Aubrey Berg and the always terrific performers and musicians.
Leads Tyler Maynard and Julie Tolivar bring as much depth as possible to their characters and are impressive singers and dancers. In supporting roles, Gregory Lofts, Gabrielle Stavelli, and Erik Nelson are likewise effective. The spirited chorus includes standouts Sara Jane Everman and Kurt Domoney. The orchestra, led by Musical Director Roger Grodsky, provides strong support and shines when given the opportunity.
The physical production of My One and Only at CCM is especially top-notch and classy. A mix of students and staff supplies effective lighting, sound, costumes, and make-up. Set Designer Thomas Umfrid wonderfully brings colorful and attractive pieces to the stage, including planes, trains, nightclubs, and a beach (with real water). The choreography by Diane Lala uses a great deal of tap and large ensemble numbers and is fun, crisp, and well-suited.
CCM's My One and Only is yet another
example of their excellence in showing the progress of their talented
students while also presenting quality musical theater productions. The
Spring 2001 production of Grand Hotel will doubtless continue this
legacy. My One and Only ran from November 16 - 19, 2000.
-- Scott Cain