What do we have when a guy meets a doll with a past and a lot of baggage? Add some singing, cooing, and a whole lot of tapping, and you have My One and Only, the 1983 Tommy Tune and Twiggy vehicle now playing at the Broward Stage Door Theatre at its main headquarters in Coral Springs.
The Gershwin brothers music comes alive, thanks in part to the libretto by Peter Stone and Timothy S. Mayer. It also doesn’t hurt that the production and design staff are much more coherent than they were for West Side Story, still playing at the BSD’s sister complex in Wilton Manors. It seems they were saving their talents for their mainstage.
My One and Only takes place in 1927, and flying ace Captain Billy Buck Chandler (Dennis J. Clark) is planning on being the first pilot to fly nonstop from America to Paris, France. Assisting him in this endeavor is mechanic Mickey (Stephanie Sine), whose fondness for Billy goes way beyond his flight skills. It doesn’t help her cause when Chandler falls for Edythe Herbert (Erin West), who is also being courted by a Russian prince (Tom Bengston). Lending Chandler a helping hand in getting his dream girl are an evangelist (James Middleton) and a barber (Kenney Green).
Clark’s portrayal of Chandler as an innocent bystander of love is as believable as his downhome charm. As a true ingénue, West breathes color into a somewhat cliched character, playing Chandler to get what she wants, then finding out something special to love about him at the end.
Stephanie Sine is does well as the comic relief Mickey, while Tom Bengston’s dark prince is easy to make fun of while hating him. Kenney Green is fabulous as Mr. Magix, the barber. While seductively cool one minute, teaching Chandler how to be a player in "High Hat" the next, Green breaks out into a tapping fury during "My One and Only" that is reminiscent of Gregory Hines.
The timeless music of Gershwin may be the focus of this musical, but the highlight of this production comes through Ron Hutchins’ toe-tapping choreography. The New Rhythm Boys (Marcus Davis, Jarran V. Muse, and Christopher George Patterson) lead the ensemble with near-flawless precision, high stepping through selections which include "I Can’t Be Bothered Now" and "He Loves and She Loves."
Eric Alsford’s musical directing and David Cohen’s orchestration blend together well, but people still yearning for a live orchestra will be disappointed. David Torres’ sound machine isn’t as much a nuisance as it is in West Side Story, however, so the actors can be heard over the music.
The Broward Stage Door has two operating venues with three stages. With talented ensembles and quality designing, there should be no excuse for not providing live music. Producers Derelle Bunn and David Torres should eradicate this oversight in order to have more effective presentations like My One and Only.
My One and Only plays through March 14 at the Broward Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Road in Coral Springs. For reservations, please call (954) 344-7765 or www.Stagedoortheatre.com.
BROWARD STAGE DOOR THEATRE - My One and Only
Directed by Kris Stewart
Stage Manager: Peter Feldman
Musical Direction: Eric Alsford
Scenic Design: Sean McClelland
Wigmaster: Tony Sommella
Featuring: Dennis J. Clark, Stephanie Sine, Tom Bengston, Erin West,
Ensemble: Marcus Davis, Jarran V. Muse, Christopher George Patterson
-- Kevin Johnson