This weekend we caught West Valley Light Opera's Wonderful Town, a musical based on the play, My Sister Eileen, about two young ladies that move from Columbus, Ohio to NYC in 1935. I'd never seen the show before, so found myself in for quite an unexpected treat!
The sets by Stephen C. Wathen were, as usual, incredible, truly bringing you into the seedy little apartment in Greenwich Village. The street scenes were vibrant, the club was intense, and I even found the velocoraptors hiding in the trees in the opening drop. (Stephen's sets always have a dinosaur hidden in them somewhere for those of you with keen eyes).
Afton Bolz as Eileen Sherwood absolutely glowed with the uber-cuteness factor, even though she played being oblivious to the fact very well. Her light soprano voice balanced very well with Leslie Hardy Tamel's (Ruth Sherwood) rich alto in the amazingly well put together song "Ohio". These two actresses really brought me into their story, making it an absolute delight of a production!
K. Michael Riley was outstandingly sleazy as newspaperman Chick Clark, making my skin crawl every time I saw him make a move on poor naive Eileen. A part well played!
Jennifer Smith (Helen) and Jay Steele (Wreck) played off of each other very well, as a "living in sin" couple in NYC, always drawing attention during the cast-wide pantomime scenes, and pulling off lots of delightful shenanigans.
Other standouts include Caren McCreight as the NYC Tour Guide, Matt Tipton as a drunk *and* a police officer (and many other roles, as far as I could tell!), and Reggie Reynolds as Violet (a ne'er do well).
My absolute favorite part of the show was in the police station when all the Irish cops sang "My Darlin' Eileen" to a lovely girl they insisted was Irish. Jeff Henson as Officer John Lonigan really stole the show with this song, with his rich velvety voice and perfect Irish accent.
The show runs for two more weekends - it's well worth the ticket price! Please go out and support the arts!
On a related note, I'm very excited about rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast starting next weekend!