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Crazy for You

When musical theatre buffs talk about their favorite shows, the George and Ira Gershwin tuner Crazy for You rarely makes the list, but after seeing Boulder's Dinner Theatre's knockout production, it's apparent that the only reason for this oversight is that the show is rarely performed because of the wealth of talent needed to pull it off.

But artistic director Michael J. Duran has more than enough talent in his company—and not only that, he knows the show inside and out, having spent three years on Broadway doing it with the folks who first conceived, directed, and choreographed it: Ken Ludwig, Mike Ockrent, and Susan Stroman. The results of his direction and choreography, and Alicia Dunfee's co-choreography, are spectacular.

Alicia Dunfee as Polly and Scott Beyette as Bobby
Alicia Dunfee as Polly
and Scott Beyette as Bobby
Photo: Boulder's Dinner Theatre
Like so many of the shows produced between the Depression and the WWII, when George was composing and Ira penning these songs, the romantic comedy Crazy for You mixes rich and poor, glamour and poverty, show biz and big business: Bobby was born with a silver spoon in his mouth—his mom wants him to learn the ropes at the family bank—but he wants to sing and dance; As chance would have it, mom sends him to Deadrock, Nevada to foreclose on an old theatre; There he meets Polly, born and bred on these modest boards by her parents who owned the place; He's smitten—she's anything but.

Scott Beyette, as Bobby, sings and taps his heart out trying to win the girl's hand, but she's seen this all before. Part hoofer, part chanteuse, and every inch a cowgirl, Dunfee's Polly is a handful. When she discovers Bobby's from the bank, well "them thars fightin' words!"

Number after number the crew goes to the hilt—from the smashing "Zengler Follies" extravaganzas to the inventive tap numbers that employ every available prop. The action never stops. Then there are the slapstick barroom scenes and an astonishing mirror-image routine between the irrepressible showman A.K. Klempke, as Bela Zangler (the Flo Ziegfield send up), and Beyette, who's disguised as Zangler to impress Polly.

Whenever we're in Deadrock, Amy Campion's Western set fills the stage like those famous dusty streets on every Hollywood back lot. When we're in New York, Campion's backstage trappings and Linda Morken's campy showgirl outfits of feathers, sequins, and lingerie, take us back to the Great White Way, all lit deliciously by Nicholas Kargel.

The Wild West also does a number on Irene Roth, Bobby's NYC fiancée of five years, when she gets a hold of Lank Hawkins (John Scott Clough), the proprietor of the local hotel. Then we watch with glee as Shelly Cox-Robie turns Irene from an uptight debutante into a steamy vamp, while charming us with her lovely pipes (not to mention gams) in "Naughty Baby."

By the time Bobby and Polly agree they're made for each other, and the curvaceous show girls (Cindy Lawrence, Teresa Cope, Joanie Brousseau-Beyette, Christianna Sullins, and Lara Chamberlain) have taught a bunch of itinerant cow pokes (Stephen Bertles, Brian Jackson, Stephen Benton, Matthew D. Peters, Brian Norber, and Michael J. Duran) how to dance, "Things Are Looking Up" for the old theatre and for Polly's dad, Everett (Wayne Kennedy), as he confides to us while crooning over Bobby's mom (Barb Reeves).

The jazz sextet, led by Neal Dunfee, does all our Gershwin favorites proud, including, "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Embraceable You," "I Got Rhythm," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," and "Nice Work If You Can Get It." As you see, everybody gets in the act—it's quite a spectacle!

Boulder's Dinner Theatre's production of Crazy For You runs through March 3rd. 303-449-6000.

Bob Bows

 

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