LAUGHTER & SURPRISES
Marvelous, Magical Evening captures the colorful craziness
cleverness of the circus
Impresario John De Marco has raised the bar for this season
of Circus themed entertainment in the continually escalating level of performance
in the Art Projects productions.
got magic to do as we go a long our way….” Delivering the magic as the show promises is music
director Christopher Vassiliades, choreographer David Auxier, the latest in extraordinary Grove talent, and
set designer Eddie Knasiak.
Circus can be bittersweet as the evening
was divided into the magic and wonder and vaudeville of a circus but then John segued
into his roots, cabaret, which offers a darker side of life. I am told that John generously let the
ambitious performers choose their own songs for this segment and each demanded
rehearsal time to come as close to perfection as possible and it showed!
accommodating Hoffas set the tone
the Happiest of Homecoming Queens, HRM DeBree giggled her way through her
requisite royal presence
his most beautiful and fanciful…….beckoning
I THE CIRCUS
directorial instinct John chose to open the show subtly with an irresistible
invitation from Colm Reilly enticing with “Come with me and we’ll be in a world
of pure imagination…”
huge persona (and height) David invites in the cast
… circus themed
extravaganza casting its spell in “Magic to Do,” from Pippin.
Dale Lally, presented his gleeful cynicism as P.T. Barnum in
“There’s a sucker born every minute”
Panzi (see Invasion article) displays her ever expanding repertoire in a savvy Grove custom made song
, “Masculine women, feminine men … it’s hard to tell ‘em apart today” cleverly incorporating Marge Cozzolino,
Bella, Bobbie, Doreen, Wendy, Paul Jablonski
In an insanely funny new
approach to Sondheim’s heretofore untouchable “Send in the Clowns” Denise Dell
Harbin presents a broken down trapeze artist reluctant to make her entrance despite
the entreaties of Ken Woodhouse.
Susan Freedner in clown suits that seemed very natural as they charmed the
audience with stanza after stanza of “Be A Clown” (where are those index
studious Sherri Rase took on
Sondheim’s serious tongue twister “Everybody Says Don’t” from Anyone Can Whistle earning credit for intensity and level
of difficulty that underscored many of the cast’s selected songs.
Duus tested the audience’s capabilities in a tongue twisting “sing along”
– he was much better than us!
known that Tony Bondi starts off as a sight gag but that is only the beginning of a comic journey that took
her through “Cuban Pete” with her equally capable partner Dale. With enough fringes and shimmies for any Doctor’s Fund show she shook
her way through a manic “Boom Chicky Boom” so good I had to shoot it from all angles
Jeanne McDonald was cute as a
button sweeping up while confiding
in her dream “I’d like to be a lion tamer,”
artist Jim Speake convinced the
crowd “I don’t want to be young… Thank God, I’m old.” (Ask him about his new CD)
“Ruby Delight” Verbrugge sashayed through an exotic Yma Sumac number like an
aristocrat losing it at a soiree.
surprisingly touching song Ruth revealed “Baby cried the day the circus came to
town,” that ended with “Don’t cry out loud.”
intense David illustrated that all is not laughter and yuks in a circus as a
sad clown in the cynical, somber Jacques Brel song, “If I could be cute, cute,
cute in a stupid ass way!” rebuffing a pick up attempt with “I feel so bad to
turn you down cause god knows I’m a whore…I’m not that interested.”
Speake starts it off with “I’m a
Brass Band” ….
proves it in the dazzling first act finale with Dell on sax, Robin as a
majorette, James on trumpet, Panzi
on tuba (another great sight gag) and the rest of the cast including Director
John in gloriously colorful band
the show ended there it would have been enough!
brilliant vocal arrangements with Chris at piano David led a vocally
sophisticated quintet in tight harmony through a medley of period jazz songs like “Java Jive” that
really evoked the era.
stretched his new career even further singing live
Colors of MY Life”
“Doors” from Maltby and Shire’s Closer than Ever enlisted the full
company in its multilayered song…”everyday another door”
working Chris took a show off moment for himself, well deserved,
crowd with a kinky rendition of “Golden Showers (they don’t bring flowers”)
members Martha Pitkin, Lynne Tunderman and others tried to distract the audience as…….
Tony Bondi sang “Stormy Weather” in his own voice. A riot as
always when Bondi is onstage.
Sally Ann Piacentino,
always dashing, beguiled us with the favorite ”Once in Love with Amy” and everyone happily sang along this crowd pleaser specially with the real Amy in the audience.
numbers require a second and third take as “he” (?) regales us with his love song to Derek Jeter, donning the
Yankee baseball shirt. ”I’ll always be here when you admit you switched teams”.
Kelly’s costume draw murmurs of crowd approval even before she turned in a
sultry “At Last.” Torched it!
I am told
it took years to get the rights to the specially written song as Susan remarked that “Duane Reade” is everywhere (to the tune of
“Downtown” ) satisfying “a desperate need for condoms, men’s underwear, a cup
of soup and a tweezer…its all there”
inhabited (sorry) the Nunsense razz ma tazzy show stopper as Sister
Mary Robert Anne in “(I don’t care if you don’t know what my name is..) I Just
Want to Be a Star.”
Perez, in a smart Garland inspired outfit exhibited poise and poignancy with
his unrequited love in “Mad About
the Boy,” adding original topical references to Mel Gibson, Myrna Loy (!), Matt
Damon, Brad Pitt & George Clooney
charmed the crowd with a novel arrangement of “Let your hair down and…. Go on and Cry,”
complete departure from her earlier number Jeanne dressed up for the serious,
sensitive “Both Sides Now”
Cradles delivered such a cynically convincing portrayal of “Is That All There
Is?”, a nihilistic song that really depresses me, that the camera wouldn’t
cooperate for my sake.
Piano Bar Confession….. leads into
colorful swirl of “Before the Parade Passes By,”
from Hello, Dolly sung by the full
cast ended on the up beat!!!
John & Jerry – hugs & flowers afterwards
What woud a show be without Joyce, the Grove’s biggest fan,
in the house.
GREAT SHOW EVERYBODY!!!