Best of Broadway 2011-2016
Directed by Wade Hair
Musical Direction by Angelyn Rhode
Choreography by Angela Cotto
Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park, FL
If Mr. Hair put any more people on this stage, he may create a gravitation singularity that could wipe out most of Winter Park. But on the positive side, a show with this many people and a large a percentage of the cast under age, it means no one has to learn too many songs all by themselves. Tonight’s McGuffin is the last five years of Broadway hits; that means many of these shows are still running and are still off limits to the Community Theater tribes. While plenty of kids are working here, the best numbers still come from the adults; and with over 30 tunes it’s hard to pick a favorite. But can assure you this: its value for your ticket price.
Tonight opens with “Hello” from “Book of Mormon”; it’s a complicated modern style number with complicated choreography (thanks to Angela Cotto) and best summed up by Elder Cunningham: “Would you like to change religions?! I have a free book written by Jesus!” Amen, brother. “Hello” is big and in your face; a smaller but equally pretty tune comes with “Fly Away” from “Catch Me If You Can” sung by the beautiful Naisha Aviles. It’s a solo, and an amazing one. A few weaker numbers snuck in, and one came from “Newsies.” Alec Lacher just couldn’t pump much energy into “Santa Fe”.
There were plenty of kid’s songs and kid roles in this collection as well; Jason Zavitz was cute and energetic singing “Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun” from “Christmas Story”; it brings back those old days when kids had guns and they only used them against tin cans and squirrels. Two more big assembly numbers wrapped up Act One; there was an adult cast-wide Motown medley and then the kids closed out the first act with “Revolting Children” From Matilda. I liked it; I know a few outside of theatre.
Act Two sparkled with Hugo Gonzales “Proud of Your Boy” from Aladdin and a soulful “Stormy Weather” sung by YaDonna Russel. Andrew Emery led an energetic “God, I Hate Shakespeare” from “Something Rotten” and while this is sacrilege on a stage, I have to agree. The Bard wrote a LOT of fart jokes, and not many of them still work. Lastly I’ll mention an odd number from “Fun Home;” the number “Come To The Fun Home” is one of the few up-beat productions I recall about a funeral home. Overall this was a great evening, even if the lobby can barely hold the cast for post-show handshakes. On nice evenings, perhaps they could extend the reception line down Fairbanks Avenue a bit.
For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com or look them up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breakthrough-Theatre-of-Winter-Park/