10 things to love about ‘Show Boat’

May 19, 2009

By Kathleen R. Merrill

 Richard Todd Adams (Gaylord Ravenal) and Megan Chenovick (Magnolia Hawks) sing  ‘I Have the Room Above Her.’ by Jay Koh/Village Theatre

Richard Todd Adams (Gaylord Ravenal) and Megan Chenovick (Magnolia Hawks) sing ‘I Have the Room Above Her.’ by Jay Koh/Village Theatre

If you’re in the habit of popping gum or a mint into your mouth at shows at Village Theatre, make sure you’re done with it before Cap’n Andy launches into finishing his play on “Showboat.” Otherwise, you might swallow it.

Larry Albert, who plays Andy, literally had people slapping their legs and howling with laughter as he acted several parts of the play, which gets interrupted by a gunshot from a member of the audience of the play within this delightful musical.

And because it’s hard to review a play without spoiling it for those who still wish to see it, (and those who know the story will likely reach different conclusions than those who don’t) this will instead give you a list, in no certain order, of other things to love about the musical, which runs until July 3:

-The sultry, smoky voice of Cayman Ilika, who plays Julie LaVerne. She can make you feel heartbreak deep in your soul.

-The equally smoky, but even deeper reaching voice of Ekello Harrid Jr., who plays Joe. You’ve never heard “Ol’ Man River” like this before. -The sass of Kathryn Van Meter, who plays “dreadful” actress Ellie May Chipley with just the right amount of cheesy, but delicious spunk.

-The pair of dancers who “introduce” some of the scenes. You won’t be able to take your eyes off of them and the things they can convey without a single utterance. Your heart will ache watching them move, especially during the “Ol’ Man River (Reprise).’ Stunning.

-The wonder of that boat, all 6,000 pounds and three stories of it. It’s unbelievable that it can somehow fit, and even move, on the stage like it’s actually coming in to dock. You’ll be left wondering how they pulled that one off. (Especially when you consider that it lives on the stage, along with a Chicago hotel and nightclub, a Natchez saloon, a convent and many other places.)

-Every voice in the cast. Richard Todd Adams (in whose voice you can still hear echoes of the Phantom, if you saw him at The Paramount last fall) and Megan Chenovick are haunting in their lead songs about love. But every person in the cast has a truly professional-quality voice. You’ll be left shaking your head while trying to decide why you’re so lucky to hear them locally, instead of on a much larger stage or recorded music.

-The 156 costumes. The talented people at Village Theatre always know how to get costumes just right for any musical, and these are topnotch, even as the time periods change and people age. The attention to detail is simply excellent.

-The 17-piece orchestra. Bravo.

-All of the people on the production team and crew (director, choreographer, designers, carpenters, managers, artists, assistants). They brought this work to life.

This musical is great in so many ways. You really should go and see for yourself.

Reach Editor Kathleen R. Merrill at 392-6434, ext. 227, or editor@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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One Response to “10 things to love about ‘Show Boat’”

  1. “Just go see Village Theatre’s production” -Seattle Weekly « Village Theatre’s Blog on May 22nd, 2009 3:52 pm

    […] fun—just go see Village Theatre’s production. And, The Issaquah Press wrote a “10 Things to Love about Show Boat” feature that just about covers every topic […]

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