Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Crazy for You
Also see Cindy's review of The Gingerbread Lady
Set in 1930s New York City, this Crazy For You opens with a montage of Broadway scenes by projection designer Josieu T. Jean that primes the audience for the collage of musical standards they will soon enjoy. Two dancers in Jim Buff's flashy but show-starting costumes tease us with what's about to come, and Buff's contributions are consistently complimentary and impressive thereafter.
We first meet Bobby, the rich son of a banking family, as he anxiously waits to audition for Bela Zangler (Wayne LeGette), the producer of the successful Zangler Follies. Though Bobby demonstrates showmanship and skill, Zangler rejects him when he accidentally lands on his foot during the audition.
Deflated and dejected, Bobby leaves, only to encounter his wealthy fiancée of five years, Irene Roth (Aaron Bower), and his stern mother Lottie (Dalia Aleman). Though the two women don't agree on much, they do concur that Bobby should stop this dancing nonsense and continue the family business. In the midst of a daydream in which he dances with the Follies girls during the number "I Can't Be Bothered Now," Bobby considers and then reluctantly accepts an assignment to go to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose on a rundown theater. While Bobby originally thinks Deadrock will narrow his world and kill his spirit, his experiences there prove to be the opposite.
Wick Theatre's production is chock full of elements that enhance and support not only the imagination of the characters but also the imagination of the audience. Scenic designer Robin Wagner incorporates the original 1992 Broadway set to create beautiful, huge, three-dimensional and multi-purpose set pieces that take theatregoers from the glamour of New York City's shows to a saloon town in the gold-mining west.
Deadrock is anything but. The mountainous city has tons of charm because of the hearty people who dwell there. There is strong-willed Polly Baker (Julie Kleiner), the sole woman left in the town; Polly's aggressive and unwanted suitor and saloon-owner Lank Hawkins (Ed Kemper); Polly's father Everett (Steve Carroll); and a bevy of cowboys, musicians, and bar hands in between. Not long after Bobby lays googly eyes on Polly does his mission of doom becomes one of redemption. His presence in Deadrock, replete with hijinks and slapstick (Loehr's mannerisms are reminiscent of the late John Ritter as Jack in "Three's Company") becomes the town's and his own personal saving grace.
Everything works together to produce an exhilarating, peppy and good-natured show. From David Wanstreet's fun and inspired choreography to Norb Joerder's sharp and versatile direction, able to elicit romantic scenes between Kleiner and Loehr, sexy scenes between Kemper and Bower, and wield the remarkable acrobatics of the ensemble, there is always something engaging happening on the cavernous stage. Every inch is used to its maximum potential. Justin Thompson's sound design is crystal clear, enabling each performer's vocals to soar and crescendo to the audience's delight.
The score for Crazy For You is an amalgam of several Gershwin musicals, with Girl Crazy serving as the foundation. From its inception in 1992, various productions have won a Tony Award, a Bibi Ferreira Award, and several Laurence Olivier awards. This presentation by the Wick Theatre stands tall and proud among the rest.
Crazy For You, through April 14, 2019, at Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton FL. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are available at www.thewick.org for $75-85 or by calling 561-995-2333.