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"Embraceable You," "Slap that Bass, "Someone to Watch Over Me," and "I Got Rhythm,” are all hit songs written by George and Ira Gershwin and each is included in the highly entertaining production of "Crazy For You" now playing at the Forestburgh Playhouse. Under the skillful direction of Trent Blanton, the musical springs to life as a pastiche of Gershwin tunes strung together by a frothy plot line of boy-meets-girl giddiness. It's replete with mistaken identities, disguises, beautiful chorus girls, manly cowboys and tap, tap, tapping that raises the roof with energetic joy as this wildly talented cast sings and dances its way into your heart.
Choreographer Chaz Wolcott has outdone himself, and the big showy numbers are outrageously fun. But it is the entire cast that makes the production sparkle, as even the smallest bit parts produce laughs, chuckles and guffaws often followed by spontaneous applause. Leading the pack are Christopher Rice (Bobby) and Darien Crago (Polly), both of whom are incredibly charming on stage and so at ease in a pair of tap shoes that they make the complex dance numbers appear effortless. Wolcott's smooth Broadway voice is beautiful, enhancing the Gershwin's well-crafted songs, and Crago is just plain amazing as she belts out tune after tune at his side. Both performers are truly triple threats, singing, dancing and acting their way through the two acts with a style and verve that hearken back to the golden age of musicals.
Character actors Daniel Hines (Bela), Carol MacAdam (Mother), Brandon Walters (Eugene), Harold Tighe and Shelly Walsh (Patricia) also have their moments in the spotlight, while Ian Laudano (Lank) gives his best performance of the season as the villain in the story. Jennifer Evans (Irene) is alluring in "Naughty Baby," but there are some more serious tunes as well, highlighted by sweet vocals on the part of the "stars." Crago's plaintive rendition of "Someone to Watch Over Me" is lovely, as is Rice's "They Can't Take That Away From Me." Once again, the resident company steps up, and both the boys' and girls' chorus is great fun to watch as the kids agree to “put on a show” in order to save Polly's theatre and revive the town of Deadrock, NV.
While the chorus enhances every number as a whole, a few individuals have their moments to shine, including Annalise Griswold (Patsy) and Zach Landes (Moose) but make no mistake, this is a really big show and each performer on stage contributes to the making the entire production memorable and just plain fun. Dalyn Boyd's scenic design is charming, Ashleigh Poteat's costuming on point, while unsung hero Lorelei Davis had a field day peppering the set with props and geegaws that enhance the overall look of the production.
While there is one main stage production ("The Graduate") still on the calendar, "Crazy for You" is the last splashy musical of the season and not to be missed. All too soon, these performers will be hitting the road in search of lifelong careers on the stage. Nice work, if you can get it.
For tickets and information, go to www.FBPlayhouse.org or call the box office at 845/794-1194.