OKLAHOMA; it’s “O.K.” to have fun at the theatre Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Some interesting facts about the ‘Sooner’ State. Oklahoma was the first territory to hold a land Rush in 1889. It received Statehood in 1907 and was the first State to utilize parking meters (1935) and the first one to erect a ‘Yield’ sign in 1950. The motivation for mentioning Oklahoma’s myriad originals is because “OKLAHOMA” was the first collaboration of Rogers and Hammerstein in1943; heralding the golden age of Broadway musicals. Take Riggs’ book ‘Green Grow the Lilacs’; add in superb music and amazing lyrics and no wonder the result is still a sellout 74 years later!

          The farmers & cowboys of pre-statehood “OKLAHOMA”

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“The Book of Mormon” a hoot from start to curtain. Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG
Admission of guilt; this scribe is a longtime fan of Eric, Kyle, Stan & Kenny (the ‘South Park’ kids), so naturally I’m an admirer of their creators -Trey Parker & Matt Stone. Along with Robert Lopez, this talented duo created the musical BOOK OF MORMON, and just like in that fictional Colorado locale, nothing is sacred and everything is grist for their destructive pens. Fortunately, the same humour that afflicted the denizens of South Park is subjected to an atheistic assault on the followers of Joseph Smith & Brigham Young. For what I know of Mormonism, read this column to its end.

Connor Peirson (Elder Cunningham) coverting the Ugandans

Connor Peirson (Elder Cunningham) converting the Ugandans

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“Catch Me If You Can”; a musical about larceny & youth Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Ages ago, while flying back from Italy, the airline was showing the Spielberg movie with Di Caprio & Hanks about the actual larcenous antics of Frank Abagnale Jr. Unfortunately, a tailwind brought us to YYZ about 15 minutes early and so I never found out how the story ended…until now. Meadowvale Music Theatre is presenting the musical version of ‘CATCH ME IF YOU CAN’ and the plot remains (almost) true to the actual saga. By age 19, the young man had conned the system for about 2 million dollars. Talk about youthful enterprise!

the cast of "CATCH ME IF YOU CAN"

                    The cast of “CATCH ME IF YOU CAN”

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“FLOYD COLLINS”; a tragic musical based on reality Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
‘There was a spelunker named Floyd; who was told caving he should avoid.
But he didn’t listen – in the cave he went missin’; his naysayers had the last ‘woid’.
Even the most unflappable columnists sometimes go off the rails, so please forgive the above doggerel as just yours truly being immature. In any case, it does reflect the plot of Guettel & Landau’s musical “FLOYD COLLINS”. Every snowbird driving south on U.S. 75 passes the turnoff sign for Mammoth Cave just north of the Kentucky Tennessee border.

Ben Chiasson as "FLOYD COLLINS", alone in his underground grotto

Ben Chiasson as “FLOYD COLLINS”, alone in his underground grotto

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“FOOTLOOSE”, Sheridan’s showcase vehicle Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor

“Where the Hell is Bomont?” is the opening bit of dialogue, and truth be known; it’s actually @ 34°- 57’ N & 97°-23’W. The place is really Elmore City, OK where in 1898 a local bylaw was passed outlawing dancing and only rescinded in 1986. Multi-talented Dean Pitchford took the story and turned it into both a movie and stage play, gleaning both an Oscar™ and Golden Globe™. Sheridan’s David Connolly has taken this ‘period piece’ (re: Joel Cumber -asst. director) and utilized it as a showcase vehicle for the faculty’s undergrads’ abilities. Acting, singing and dance are all role requisites. The entire cast has all three…in spades.

Students Willard & Ren addressing the Bomont Town Council

Students Willard & Ren addressing the Bomont Town Council

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“BLOOD BROTHERS”, revisited & redirected Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG
Our first exposure to Willy Russell’s musical tragedy,” BLOOD BROTHERS” was coincidently, ten years ago- almost to the day. It was then staged by Clarkson Music Theatre and starred Jo Kemp (also coincidently was in the audience for last night’s iteration).  Second version: – Sheridan’s 2012 marvelous Studio Theatre adaptation. WEST END STUDIO THEATRE under the direction of Yo Mustafa has taken the play’s starkness to a new level and its impact is thus intensified. A totally bare stage; minute & momentary props plus concentrated harsh spotlighting are the only ancillaries to the dialogue or vocal solos & duets.

The cast (& swing/crew) of "BLOOD BROTHERS"

The cast (& swing/crew) of “BLOOD BROTHERS”

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