Toes tap, hands clap, voices sing and cowboys tap-dance on the roof -- West Springfield's got rhythm and its production of the musical "Crazy for You" proved it dramatically.
"Crazy for You" follows the misadventures of Bobby Child, son of a wealthy banking family, who just wants to dance. Bobby journeys to Deadrock, Nev., to foreclose on a run-down theater, but ends up saving it -- and falling in love with the town's postmistress, Polly Baker.
Based on the 1934 musical "Girl Crazy," playwright Ken Ludwig's 1992 version is mainly an excuse to string together some of George and Ira Gershwin's catchiest songs from the original show and other Gershwin productions.
Set in the '30s, the action veers through love at first sight, mistaken identity, broken hearts and transferred affections -- with a few gunfights and verbal battles thrown in for good measure.
Displaying admirable energy as Bobby, Dan Plehal sang, tap-danced and impersonated his way through the show. His voice was warm and expressive, especially in numbers such as "I Can't Be Bothered Now."
Opposite Plehal, Marilee Greene was a feisty Polly, swinging between longing ("But Not for Me") and exuberance ("I Got Rhythm").
The two showed a persuasive affection for each other and comic skill, especially when Bobby masqueraded as producer Bela Zangler.
As the real Zangler, a renowned but bumbling theater impresario, Zack Moody was a formidable comedic force in his drunken duet with Plehal, the hilarious "What Causes That?"
Jesse Lambert, as an irritable saloon owner, and Ashley Linder as Bobby's wealthy but frustrated former girlfriend, engaged in some amusing verbal sparring.
The show got a dose of just plain silliness from Chris Douglas and Ashley Corum as an eccentric British couple, and from Nathan Taylor as a dimwitted cowboy.
The Follies Girls, led by Jasmine Mahboob, provided high-voltage smiles, synchronized dances, and the occasional burst of harmony, especially in "Nice Work If You Can Get It."
The set, designed by Mike Wines, conveyed a variety of locations, from a brightly lit New York street to an intense-hued Nevada desert.
The costumes, by Emily Levin and Sara Rogers, added realism to the characters and, in the case of the Follies Girls, a dash of glitz and glamour. The choreography, also by Levin and Rogers, made creative use of pans, strings, streamers and flags, and included tap-dancing on almost every flat surface available. The orchestra played well, although at times it overpowered the actors.
"Crazy for You" achieved a wonderful blend of singing and dancing, comedy and romance. Who could ask for anything more?
Duke Ellington School of the Arts
With intoxicating energy, an amazing set, fabulous performances and superb choreography, "who could ask for anything more" from West Springfield's production of "Crazy for You?"
The 1992 Tony Award-winning musical "Crazy for You" is playwright Ken Ludwig's reworking of the 1930s Broadway show "Girl Crazy," featuring music by George and Ira Gershwin from the original show and other vintage Gershwin productions.
The story follows Bobby Child, the heir to a banking fortune who would rather spend his life dancing than banking. Child falls in love with Polly Baker, the postmistress of Deadrock, Nev. Polly returns the affection, until she finds out that Bobby is connected to the bank that is trying to foreclose on the theater where her mother became a star.
To win her back, Bobby disguises himself as Bela Zangler, a famous producer, and tries to put on a show in the old theater to pay off the bank.
Lead performers Dan Plehal and Marilee Greene were stellar as Bobby Child and Polly Baker. Plehal was captivating with his natural stage presence, impressive singing voice and grasp of character. Greene's graceful dancing was enchanting and her beautiful, clear voice was particularly well showcased in her first song, "Someone to Watch Over Me."
Ashley Linder was hysterical as the angry and frustrated socialite Irene Roth, masterfully capturing the snobbish and cold-hearted character, who claims Bobby as her own. As Bela Zangler, Zack Moody provided compelling singing, good comic timing and ability to maintain a believable Hungarian accent.
The cast members portraying the Follies Girls had remarkable energy and stage presence, as they mastered intricate and clever choreography by Emily Levin and Sara Rogers, particularly in "I Can't Be Bothered Now" and the lively, well-executed "I Got Rhythm."
Although set changes were numerous and sometimes lengthy, it was worth it when the curtain opened and revealed the elaborate and complicated sets, designed by Mike Wines and Helen McCarthy. Each was a gem, well utilized by the cast, as they danced on roofs and fell down stairs. This aspect of the show felt very professional.
With little fault to be found, West Springfield's "Crazy for You" was an incredible feat for a high school cast and crew, well deserving of its roaring standing ovation.
Thomas Edison High School