Regional Reviews: Seattle
Movin' Out National Tour at the Paramount
Also see David's review of Too Darn Hot
The show's thin plotline takes place on Long Island in the 1960s, with high school friendships and relationships about to be altered or ended as a result of the boys going off to fight in the Vietnam War. The second act depicts their attempts to rebuild their lives, restore old relationships, heal old wounds and, well, move on. Twyla Tharp's choreography is demanding and requires virtuoso dance skills, but it is also repetitive and reminiscent of her work on the film version of Hair, with nods to Bob Avian's staging of Miss Saigon. While it is undeniable that opening night soloists Ron Todorowski, Holly Cruikshank, David Gomez, Julieta Gros, Matthew Dibble, John Carroll and a disciplined ensemble earned many a hand in the dance numbers, this show is much more a dance concert than a truly theatrical experience, with the pleasant but colorless lead vocals by pianist Darren Holden (who alternates Matt Wilson) who is hardly in a league with the voice of Mr. Joel himself. His own one-of-a-kind vocal dynamism is sorely missed in the course of the performance.
The onstage band members offer solid instrumental and vocal support, and the visual end of the show is well-served by Santo Loquasto's spare but stylish scenic design, Donald Holder's flashy lighting, and Suzy Benzinger's attractive and period perfect costumes.
I am always glad to know that Broadway and road musical theatre houses are filled with hit shows that have obviously found an appreciative audience. So thanks to the creators of Movin' Out for providing a satisfying theatrical meal for many. For me, it was more of an evening of light appetizers.
The National Tour of Movin' Out at The Paramount Theatre, 9th & Pine Street in downtown Seattle, runs through Sunday June 20. For more information, go to www.theparamount.com.
- David-Edward Hughes