theater department closes the curtain on its final production of the season
Excited whispers danced between the aisles as upbeat music began to swell, artistically transporting the audience to a desert town full of dance and dreams.
“Crazy For You” is a musical comedy last performed in the Tower Theater in 2007, when director Andy Geffkin performed in the production himself. He and choreographer Aubri Siebert have worked with the cast and crew to bring to the stage the glamorous Zangler show girls, Gershwin songs and 1930s charm the musical is known for.
Each scene showcases wooden sets that bring the audience into the world of shoot outs, run down saloons and resurrected dreams. Geffkin and Siebert look on as their students tap across the stage, captivating and delighting the audience, who soon care about the characters as much as the performers do.
The character of Bobby Child, portrayed by actor Aaron Hall, is a dreamer at his core, longing for more than the life of a banker that his mother has all but set in stone for him. Child has a strong desire to express himself through dance, and he does.
At the show’s beginning, Hall immediately charms the audience with an inviting performance of the song “K-ra-zy for-You,” setting the tone for a night of smiles and singing.
Pressure from his mother to finalize a theatre foreclosure leads big-city Bobby to the sleepy town of Deadrock, Nevada, and into the arms of Polly Baker, whose father owns the very theater Bobby is there to take.
There, Bobby is smitten by the rough-and-tumble Polly, played by Kelsey Dial, and the two showcase their playful relationship during a lighthearted performance of “Could You Use Me.”
Hoping to save the theater cherished by the girl he now loves, Bobby hatches a plan to enlist the cowboys of the town—who do not know a neigh from a plié—and the show girls he befriended in New York to bring the town back to life with a musical like no other.
The town’s protective saloon owner, Lank Hawkins, played by Kiser Shelton, gives a hilarious performance. Having proposed to Polly himself over 15 times, Lank does not take kindly to Bobby’s tap shoes stepping on his boots, and in retaliation, Lank offers to buy the theatre himself. Lank collaborates with Bobby’s girlfriend from New York, Irene Roth, played by Paige Abbatacola, to try to slow down what starts as an insane plan to put on a production. Soon, the plan becomes a town-wide tornado of change and excitement as the show comes closer and closer.
Mistaken identity and the lure of infatuation lead lovesick musical producer Bela Zangler, played by Christian Mucci, to Nevada, where more laughable shenanigans ensue as polar opposite New York and Nevada minds collide.
The lively dances and heartwarming music leave cheeks sore from laughing and hearts full of joy. “Slap That Bass” and “Stiff Upper Lip” are two standout songs that will make any audience member want to get on their feet and dance.
The show wraps up with a grand finale of cowboy hats, flopping curls and excited singing. By the end of the show, the Tower Theater feels a part of the little Deadrock community itself, and the audience leaves encouraged by the townsfolk and their achievement in selling out the show, saving the theater they all love.
“Crazy For You” is a musical that unites those on and off stage, reminding those in the crowd what people are capable of when they are doing what they love. Full of grit, wit and plenty of pizzazz, Liberty’s rendition of the award-winning Gershwin musical is the perfect final curtain to the theater season.
“Crazy For You” is open to audiences April 30 to May 9. To purchase tickets, visit the Ticket Office website.
Nadia Vires is a feature reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @nadiavires.