26 April 2012
Last Sunday afternoon, the younger daughter and I attended Playhouse on Park for Show Stoppers!, the latest performance by the stop/time dance theatre, conceived, directed, and choreographed by troupe founder Darlene Zoller with fine musical direction by Colin Britt.
With selections from everything from Pajama Game, She Loves Me, Sweet Charity, and A Chorus Line to Copacabana, The Drowsy Chaperone, Burlesque, and Moulin Rouge, the dancers and singers tap, slink, stomp, and shake across the West Hartford stage. Ms. Zoller's choreography, as usual, uses her talented performers and intimate space to their fullest and ensures that the audience can take it all in -- no matter which side of the stage they're on.
A couple of the vocal selections (a dance show necessity for costume changes and breathers for the dancers) are highlights from earlier POP shows, Hillary Ekvall's "My New Philosophy" from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown and Rick Fountain's "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago, and are well worth the revisiting, but the show's focus is the dancing, which never disappoints!
My personal favorites from the 25 (!?!) musical selections are:
"Audition" from 42nd Street
"Bye Bye Balckbird" from Fosse
"Steam Heat" from Pajama Game
"The Crapshooters Dance" from Guys and Dolls
"Brotherhood of Man" from How to Succeed in Business
"The Jam" from Jelly's Last Jam
"C Jam Blues" from Tapping Fools
The audience left the theatre smiling and with decidedly happy feet (how could we not?), and you will too.
It runs tonight through Sunday.
A quibble: for my taste there was too much Christina Aguilera (selections from both Burlesque AND Moulin Rouge?) at the end of Act II. Yes, there's an undeniable energy in her music, but the stop/time dancers that I know and love, especially when they're wearing corsets and moving Zoller-ly, never seem to need the singer's over-the-top Aguilera-ness to get their own sexy attitudes across.
My sexy French cabaret tastes, after all, run more toward the Cole Porter of Can Can:
We are maidens typical of France;
We are convent educated.
From the wicked clutches of romance
We have all been segregated.
We're all very pure, we are all very good.
We all try to do exactly as we should.
We all go to church;
we all say our prayers.
and if, when we dance,
we show our derrieres,
it is to show that, even when we dance,
We are maidens typical of France!
Nonetheless, you will really like the show. In fact, if you're like me, you'll want to be IN the show, but control yourself.
Enjoy them, and then dance your way home.
Posted by Gilbert Gigliotti at 5:40 PM