Crazy For You
The Sainsbury Singers presented Crazy For You on 30 October-3 November 2008 at The Hexagon Theatre, Reading.
This show introduced major choreography challenges to the company – in the words of chairman Lesley Vought, "This is an entirely new show for us...containing far more ensemble dancing than we have ever attempted before, including a lot of tap work."
The cast were tapping to the 1991 celebration of the genius of the Gershwin brothers that is Crazy For You. This extravaganza is filled with song and dance and Ken Ludwig's hilarious dialogue. Any audience will be captivated by this artfully constructed and dazzlingly staged tale of boy meeting girl in the Wild West, where they spread goodness and where, ultimatley, everyone ends up happily with the one they love.
The story starts in the theatre world of New York but quickly moves to Deadrock, Nevada where the wealthy young Bobby Child is sent by his Mother to close Deadrock's Theatre, The Gaiety. In Deadrock, Bobby meets Polly Baker with whom he falls in love at first sight. To escape Polly's anger at the possible closure of the local theatre, Bobby pretends to be Bela Zangler, the New York producer and comes up with an idea of putting on a show to raise the money owed to his mother.
Thus are the seeds of comic deception sown and the harvest is reaped to the full when the real Zangler comes into town.
Principals (in order of appearance)
- Tess dance leader, Zangler's favourite Lesley Vought
- Patsy showgirl, sometimes a bit dizzy Catherine Hannan
- Bobby Child New Yorker, in love with musical theatre Dan Groves
- Irene Roth debutant, engaged to Bobby Child Helen Eggleton
- Bela Zangler Broadway producer Peter Cox
- Mother Mrs Lottie Child, Bobby's busines obsessed parent Isobel Stebbings
- Moose Cowboy trio Brian Bretney
- Mingo Cowboy trio Sean Faulkner
- Sam Cowboy trio Chris Thomas
- Polly Baker Deadrock postmistress Kim Antell
- Everett Baker Polly's father Chris Goodchild
- Lank Hawkins saloon owner Nigel Wilson
- Eugine Fodor English tourist Chris Faulkner
- Patricia Fodor Eugene's sister Caroline Steed
Tricia Hamon, Gemma Kettle, Hilary Latimer, Lorraine Meecham, Emma Prince, Nicci Rodie, Denise Schult, Jessica Smith.
Citizens of New York and Deadrock, Nevada
Stephen Cox, Helen Cleeve, Sharon Cooling, Josh Eggleton, Chris Howard, Peter Hubbard, Mary Ireson, Pat Long, Chris Reeves, Emma Reeves, Michael Schult, Paul Stoneley, Ruth Sutherland, Jessamy Vincent.
Stephen Cox, Chris Howard, Chris Reeves, Michael Schult.
- Leader Susan Greenwood
- Violin Nicola Brown, Vera Charlwood, Beverly Clements, Harold Kershaw, John Spurgeon
- Cello Christine Baugh, Neil Charlton
- Bass John Barham
- Reed Tracy Askem, Jonathan Bowler, Geoff Knaggs, Sarah Turvey, Phil Wayman
- Trumpets John Marlow, Shelagh Wythe
- Horn Tom Bennellick
- Trombone Nick Kershaw, Paul Dodge
- Piano Anton Gwilt
- Banjo / Guitar Chris Long
- Persussion Dave Bulman, Martin Proctor
Behind The Scenes
- Director Chris Boott
- Musical Director Michael Sharman
- Assistant Musical Director Fiona Wilson
- Assistant to the Director Viv Cox
- Joint choreographers Kim Antell and Isobel Stebbings
- Production Co-ordinator Rebecca Wyard
- Stage Manager Chris Stebbings
- Deputy Stage Manager Nigel Antell
- Assistant Stage Manager John Simmonds
- Stage Crew Joseph Daniels, Peter Harley, John Radley, Ian Robertson, Tom Waddell and Keith Webb
- Lighting Designer Kim Hollamby
- Lighting assistants and follow spot operators Steve Druce and Steve White
- Sound Assistant Sally Ollerenshaw
- Sound effects Tim Bastok
- Prompt Anne Lowder
- Head of Props Rachel Masters
- Props Team Rebecca Carter, Jennifer Kirby, Helen Macready
- Wardrobe Mistress Rita Gosney
- Wardrobe Assistants Valda Hull, Lindsay Simmonds
- Head of Makeup Louise Marshall
- Makeup Assistants Catherine Hannan, Simone MacDonald, Kerry Woodley
- Costumes The Society and WA Homburg of Leeds
- Wigs Angels (Wig Creations) of London
- Scenery and furniture Scenery and Property Hire Ltd of Newport
- Firearms Howorth Wrightson
- Graphic design, artwork and pre-press production Nigel Wilson
- Head of Publicity Helen Eggleton
- Publicity Team Brian Bretney, Kim Halliday, Denise Schult, Ruth Sutherland, Jessamy Vincent
- Displays Carolyn Steed
- Webmasters Nigel Antell and Brian Bretney
- Printing Print Wise
- Photography Ray Wilmott
- Front of House Manager John Jones
|Crazy for You (239)|
The Reading Chronicle
Crazy For You The Hexagon
This was the finest production by The Sainsbury Singers that I have seen in a long time. Director Christopher Boott injected the entire company with spontaneous vitality, which resulted in an infectious gaiety that was sheer joy.
The choreography by Kim Antell and Isobel Stebbings was both artistic and challenging but this committed company executed the dance with panache and expertise thoughout in Gersshwin's musical masterpiece.
In the leading roles, Dan Groves (Bobby) shone with his pleasant baritone voice and impeccable dance and acting ability, while Kim Antell (Polly) charmed with her pleasingly musical singing and dancing. I Got Rhythm was a highlight of the show.
Peter Cox impressed with his portrayal of Broadway producer Bela Zangler. The synchronised mirror image nuber by he and Bobby – What Causes That? – was masterly.
Helen Eggleton (Irene), the thwarted fiancée, performed with finesse and a warm singing voice plus finely tuned humour.
This engaging show shone under the musical direction of Michael Sharman.
Audience was crazy for Gershwin
Crazy For You is a celebration of the music of George and Ira Gershwin and was peformed by the Sainsbury Singers at The Hexagon, Reading last week.
Being a show that is created from music, it doesn't have a particularly strong story line. Boy wants to be an actor rather than a banker; meets girl; falls in love; she rejects him; he falls lucky and they live happily ever after. Or something like that!
Dance is usually a challenge for most amateur societies. Many of them import from dance schools. One of the hallmarks of this society is that they have always had excellent choreographers and an attention to all elements of musical theatre – acting, singing and dancing. So they were able to put together an entire show from their own members. That's really impressive!
This show was directed by Chris Boott, who is well known for his energetic performances at the Sainsbury's, particularly his dancing. So it was an ideal show for him to direct.
The logistics of the show are enormous as it moves from Broadway to smal town America and presents the saloon, theatre and street in sequence. The Sainsburys always provide big sets for this stage and many of them were spectacular, particularly the final scene. Movement from scene to scene was slick although there were some pauses at times. Far better than closing the curtains between each scene.
The show depends on the music of course: Shall We Dance, I Got Rhythm, They Can't Take That Away From Me, Nice Work If You Can Get It and many others. Many of these were performed as song and dance.
The principals were great. Dan Groves as banker-cum-actor Bobby Childs and Kim Antell as the all American Polly Baker made a very suitable couple, interacting well with each other as they moved through the stages of their romance. There were others, too many to mention, but I really did enjoy Helen Eggleton as Irene Roth, Bobby's ex-fiancée, and her splendid Naughty Baby with Nigel Wilson's Lank Hawkins, the saloon owner in Deadrock, Nevada. This was a particularly seductive song and dance.
The Follies Girls were first class too with some particularly good, shrilling American accents. There were also many other notable cameo parts in the chorus.
This was a great opportunity to hear al the top Gershwin numbers in one go. It was a very enjoyable evening and particular thanks must go to director Chris Boott, the director and choreographers Kim Antell and Isobel Stebbings.