The All Night Strut!
By Fran Charnas
Direction and choreography by Roy Alan
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park FL
Everything sounds better in four part harmony, even if that not how it was originally written. Tonight’s review covers music from the ’30s and ’40s, and it keeps the cast (Heather Alexander, Shawn Kilgore, Todd Mummert and Kate Zaloumes) completely on stage the whole time. Dramatic black and white outfits were the costume of the night, a touch of red on everyone in the first act gave nod to the blood of WW2. It was brutal war, but a lot of good music came out of the conflict. The best sounding stuff covered the Andrews Sisters and the Gershwin boys, noteworthy numbers include Mr. Kilgore on “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” and the zippy and provocative “Beat Me Daddy Eight to The Bar.” I loved Sam Forrest’s drum solo in “Anent Misbehaving,” there are so few drum solos at Winter Park Playhouse. The jazz material was a bit more challenging, this was the whitest “Minnie the Moocher” I’ve ever heard. Still you could hear every lyric, and there were some later verses that have always been unclear in my mind. “Java Jive” and “GI Jive” were curiously slow, but there were good productions of “Rosie the Riveter” and “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” You hear these phrases all the time, but can you hum the tune? Thought not. The set was simple but effective; the back drop consisted on silver Mylar with dramatic lighting and art deco wall sconces made out of my favorite material, white plank foam with dramatic paint. No worrisome plot points, this is just a great concert full of stuff that sounds straight from a black and white movie.
For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org