What's good about 'Crazy for You'? Just the cast, dancing, songs and wit

July 19, 1996|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Last year, Bobbi Smith's Talent Machine gave us the hit of the summer with a smashing "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

This year, in cahoots with director Robert Neal Marshall, she's done it again with a sassy, high-kicking production of George Gershwin's "Crazy For You," playing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings through Aug. 9 at Key Auditorium on the campus of St John's College. Curtain time is 7: 30 p.m.

What's so good about this show?

To begin with, there's "Crazy For You" itself. The plot, which isn't much more than a variation on the old "Hey, kids, let's put on a show" theme, has a Broadway wannabe heading to Nevada to resurrect an old theater, only to find the girl of his dreams into the bargain.

The dialogue, however, is endlessly witty, and what a score: "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Embraceable You," "I Got Rhythm," and "Nice Work If You Can Get It" for starters.

Matt Garrity, Anne Arundel County's consummate song and dance man, is back, this time as Bobby Child, the upper-crust hoofer who puts it all on the line for the love of Polly Baker, who is played by Severna Park's Julia Osborne.

They are a spirited, well-matched pair who can act, play for a laugh, hoof like pros and croon some of the swankiest songs ever written with a sophistication that belies their tender years.

Also striking is the excellence of the cast, from top to bottom. Kelly Lidz is a grand comedian as the sexpot fiancee Bobby jilts once he starts feeling at home on the range.

Pat Smith is hilarious as the villainous Lank Hawkins, as is Matt Stevenson, who plays the sleazy New York impresario who does the right thing out of sheer lust.

From hillbillies to Bobby's snooty mother, to the dotty British couple that saunter in without a clue, there's not a weak spot anywhere.

That extends to the dance corps. Featured performers such as Jessica Crouse, Sophie Larrimore, Alice Bavis, Jennifer Brainsky and gymnast Ray Perry are all marvelous. They dance on anything: tables, stairs, bar counters, suitcases, cocktail trays, car roofs, you name it.

Costumes and sets are terrific (but what's with that unnecessary smoke in the finale?), and the recorded tape is true to the spirit of Gershwin.

Talent Machine is more than a catchy name. It's a pretty good description of what Bobbi Smith has going over there.

Ticket information: 956-0512, Ext. 6.

Pub Date: 7/19/96

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