April 13, 2010

LEE HARTGRAVE REVIEWS - 'Lady, Be Good' - "A Don't Miss!"

 Pictured: Rena Wilson and Andrew Boyer 
 in the musical "Lady Be Good" 
Courtesy Photo


LADY BE GOOD AT 42nd Street Moon 

George and Ira Gershwin wrote some of the best music for musicals in history. And 42nd Street Moon knows how to bring that music to life on the Eureka Stage.

“LADY BE GOOD” first opened at the Liberty Theatre on Broadway in December 1924. The story takes us through avenues of mistaken identities, spoofs; show stopping songs and fantastic dance routines. Yep – there is no doubt about it. The 42nd Street Moon players are not amateurs. No, they are Broadway ready – and they’re dancing and singing.

The story revolves around an out-of-work sister and brother. They get booted out of their apartment and end up on the sidewalk. But by happenstance -- they find romance and money.

Adding to the great fun evening is the hilarious, scheming, outrageously funny Lawyer, Watty Watkins (Åndrew Boyer). He is entertaining as ‘Hell’ with stage presence that’s just explosive! Boy, has he got a lot of tricks up his sleeve.

The show was originally written for Fred and Adele Astaire – and it was the Gershwin’s first Broadway hit. With the permission of the Gershwin Estate – the action takes place in San Francisco and Napa.

You’ll remember her. I’m talking about Rena Wilson, who plays the delightful, somewhat ditzy Susie Trevor. If ever a role was made for anyone – they must have had Wilson in their mind. She fits the era so perfectly with her sweet smile and those little bee lips. No wonder she ends up hooking up with a millionaire in the show. You can’t help being swept up in the energy.

42nd  Street Moon sure has the knack to revive these wonderful musicals. They follow the tradition – but make them fresh again with innovation. I could see them over and over again – and never want to leave.

The Big Cast is all special. They are the reason that this musical literally jumps off the stage to involve you. It’s an electric fantasia that is full of song, dance and innocent sexuality. Let’s PUT THE SPOTLIGHT ON THEM: Lisa Shepard Hensley (Josephine Vanderwater) sure is fascinating. Ian Simpson (Dick Trevor) as the out-of-work brother – must have channeled Fred Åstaire. He’s one of the best.

All the actors, Dancers and singers – Ben Knoll, Lexie Papedo, Jade Shojaee, Nicholas Yenson, Luke Anthony, Noel Anthony, Lillian Askew Everdell, Kerie Geni Darner, Caleb Haven Draper and Rudy Guerrero. All make this a wonderful. Good-time hit.

The Musical Direction by Dave Dobrusky is a 3-D extravaganza

The Director Chris Smith pulled out all the possibilities – and worked miracles. THIS IS A CAN’T 


42ND Moon Theatre. (At the Eureka Theatre)

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

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