Life Could Be A Dream
By Roger Bean
Directed by Roy Alan
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park Playhouse
Winter Park, FL
Doo-wop was pretty much done with when I became old enough to understand, but it still has this “thing” that fills it with a pleasant sense of nostalgia. Tonight, we are in the basement and two buddies want to win a recording contract from the local AM station. Denny (Bert Rodriguez) is the confident one, so he wins the argument about the band’s name. Eugene (Michael Scott Ross) can hit the high falsettos and make them stick; he stands in the back and prays he doesn’t get called on in class. Up above we have Eugene’s mother who only speaks though an intercom (how cool was THAT in 1953?) and reminds the boys to keep it down, do your homework, and come up for sandwiches. Things improve when Wally (Zack Nadolski) drops in. Not only is he tall, but he has church choir experience although “Abide by Me” isn’t going to win a Grammy. It’s not until biker Skip (Andrew JeJeune) shows up that the group really gels. He can sing lead, has a day job, and if they don’t all split up over a girl (Tay Anderson as Lois) they might have a shot at that abusive recording contract.
There’s not a song here you can’t sing along with, although that WILL draw the wrath of Heather and you don’t want her to cut you off at the bar. I’ll pick a few of my favorites here: Denny’s “Mama Don’t Allow it” The Ensemble’s “Fools Fall in Love” and Skip’s lead on “Duke of Earl” all got check marks in my program. The voices are hard to rank as well. LeJeune appears in more light opera material than the others, but the other guys all have extensive musical theater experience. Ms. Anderson is new to the playhouse but I suspect we’ll see much more of her until she moves to New York. And they even added a new musician to the band, Josh Ceballos.
Is this the best WPPH show ever? We’ll pretty much every show is a best; this is only the most recent and most memorable in my short-term circuits. There were a few empty seats due to the storm, but if your power is still out, they have air-conditioning, lights and ice at the bar.
For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org