Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
Baker Street is a charming musical based on the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Arthur Conan Doyle, and set in London during Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. It involves the great detective's battle with his nemeses the evil Profession Moriarty. The malicious genius plans to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London. In the original story, Irene Adler was also the archenemy of Holmes, but in the musical Irene is assisting to recover the jewels and to have a little romance with the great gumshoe.
Some of the songs are catchy, particularly when the "Baker Street Irregulars," a bunch of disheveled ragamuffins, are prancing about the stage singing Cockney-colored lyrics. Jerome Coopersmith's script is entertaining. (The 93-year-old Coopersmith attended the 42nd Street Moon opening performance.)
Michael Monagle is pitch perfect as Sherlock Holmes and he has an effervescent voice in "Cold Clear World" and "Finding Words for Spring." Dan Seda gives a first-rate performance as Dr. Watson (he was recently played Peter Allen in The Boy from Oz) and Abby Haug is splendid as Irene Adler with terrific vocal chops on "I'd Do it Again." Michael Barrett Austin is outstanding as Professor Moriarty and he has a malevolent voice when rendering "I Shall Miss You." Scott Maraj is admirable in the small role of Inspector Lestrade. The "Baker Street Irregulars" consisting of Jesse Cortez, Kalon Thibodeaux, Stephen Vaught, Alison Quin and Tobiah Richkind, led by Andrew Mondello, wonderfully enliven the musical with "Leave it to Us, Guv" and "Roof Space." Stephanie Prentice and Lindsey Marie Schmeltzer nicely present small roles.
Amy O'Hanlon provides striking projections against a large screen as a backdrop, with wonderful 19th century drawings of England. David Dobrusky on piano is a great asset to the singers. Costumes by Thom Venegoni are wonderful authentic 19th century outfits. Cindy Goldfield directs and she brings out the best in this difficult musical.
Baker Street plays through November 20, 2016, at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, Gateway Center, San Francisco. For tickets call 415-255-8207 or visit at www.42ndstmoon.org. Coming up next is a return of Scrooge in Love starring Jason Graae, which will play at the Marine Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter Street, San Francisco.