On Sunday, June 22nd I had the delight of seeing Stratford Festival’s production of Crazy for You, a sweet and energetic Gershwin musical that was a joy for the entire audience. There are a few spoilers, but I’ve tried to keep them to a minimum.
Crazy for You was a bundle of laughter and song, all wrapped in glitzy western wear. First of all, the premise of the show itself was adorable. I loved that it was a man who was trying to break onto the theatre scene and not the stereotypical female character. I felt that it gave a whole new spin to some of the songs that I knew from other places, as well as making the plot unique and interesting. The one-liners in this play were amazing! We laughed so hard at the dialogue, and some really slapstick scenes as well, that my cheeks hurt by the end from smiling. The songs that are used in this play were wonderfully familiar. It makes for a great time of toe tapping and humming along, listening to these catchy and familiar tunes. I still have “I’ve got rhythm” stuck in my head! And when the songs are already so amazing, to have such entertaining dialogue in between makes the show a pure joy to be a part of.
The sets and costumes were beautiful and made a feast for the eyes as well as the rest is for the ears. The stage especially caught my eye; it embodied the beautiful colours of a southern sunset, but was able to endure the intense amount of dancing that occurs throughout the show. The changes between New York and Nevada were beautiful, and each set was very distinctive and flashy all its own. I loved the curtain and tassels that you see when you first walk in the theatre; it sets the stage for the beautiful story that was about to unfold.
Speaking of the dancing, it was absolutely incredible. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such impressive tap dancing as I did at this show. There were so many actors and for all of them to be so in sync was mind blowing. Donna Feore, who both directed and choreographed this beautiful show, derives a huge BRAVO for this one! While I am always impressed by the plays that she is involved in, this one was a cut above the rest, mostly because of the number of people who are involved at any one given time. It seemed like there were huge tap ensemble numbers every other song, and it just made the play so invigorating. It made me remember why I used to love to dance, because I wanted to be able to dance like that!
I thought that the play was very well cast. I especially enjoyed the singing cowboys played by Marcus Nance, Steve Ross and Stephen Patterson. They were adorable, and their harmony was just amazing. The lead couple Bobby and Poppy, played by Josh Franklin and Natalie Daradich, were absolutely lovely. Their voices were beautiful, and they sounded so good together and danced so well. Tom Rooney was just hysterical. I loved his character and the scenes that he did were so funny, I could hardly stop laughing. Not to mention he’s a great singer and dancer! Another fan favourite was Lally Cadeau’s portrayal of Lottie Child, Bobby’s mother. She had the perfect voice and presence for the role and left a lasting impression on the audience. Monique Lund and Shawn Wright’s performances were also hilarious and should be mentioned. They had us all rolling with laughter. Truly, there was not a weak link in the show!
This is definitely another family friendly play! While I didn’t see as many young ones as at Alice, I certainly think this is one the whole family can enjoy, especially if you want to introduce your kids to the Gershwin brother’s fabulous music. I would certainly recommend this show to anyone and everyone looking for a fun and entertaining theatre experience! Who could ask for anything more?
If you’d like to purchase tickets, here’s the link: http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/OnStage/productions.aspx?id=24041&prodid=52392
Also, the Stratford Festival has recorded the songs from this show and made their first ever Original Cast Album! Here’s the link to the store if you’d like to purchase one! (I highly recommend it!) http://store.stratfordfestival.ca/Crazy-For-You-CD-Stratford-Festival-Cast-Recording-688368-CD/