Monday, August 18, 2008

Swinging on a Star: The Johnny Burke Musical

Clackamas Repertory Theatre
August 7 - 24, 2008


The toe-tapping, finger-snapping show features the lyrics of Johnny Burke and eight different composers. Top shelf-tenor David Maier, the electrifying voice talent of Elizabeth Bacon, tell-me-a-story jazz singer Karen Maria Capo, hot and handsome Dustin Milberg, triple-threat tapper Donzelle Richardson, Broadway Baby Briana Shewbert, and swinging-it Chicago style James Sharinghousen.


Anonymous said...

WOW!! I saw this show last night. While there are definately things about it that area little rough - some of the acting was off, some of the singing either too much or not enough. (It was a Thursday opening preview, after all) briana S. was so funny as an airheady movie star in a radio bit - the harmonies (a small group that sang seperate) in that scene were great and the tapper that played Betty - what a hoofer!!! This show was very entertaining. The costumes are lovely and Elizabeth Bacon (in a gorgeous red dress-wow!)steals the show with the torchy way she belts "Imagination". She is first class, for sure. The Bing Crosby Bob Hope sketches are HILARIOUS!!! Dustin Milberg (I think that's his name) was a phenomenal Bob Hope. Davis Mayer was good as Bing, I was a little put off by the operatic quality to his voice at times, but overall, he did fine. The dancers were very good, minus a tap bit they did that got a little off - Karen (dont know her last name) sure can sing and THe guy that played the man from Pakistan was so funny and perfect!!! It ends with actual swings that they swing in - TERRIFIC!!! I recommend this show. For sure.

Anonymous said...

i agree. a good show. the cast is talented, and the band is terrific! best parts:bing & bob skits, the tapdance in the radio bit and elizabeth b singing imagination- awesome! gorgeous costuming. if youre looking for something that will take your mind off life for awhile...this is it! worth the drive.

Anonymous said...

what a great performance! I saw this Sunday and was so impressed. Brianna Shewbert is HILARIOUS! Donzelle Richardson sure can dance. The lighting and costumes are perfectly done, the combo is smart and "swinging" Karen Maria Capo - holy smokes can she sing! Elizabeth Bacon too - wow! The guys are all great as well. I had a great time. It was longer than I thought it would be, but didnt drag so, I looked at my watch and was surprised at the over 2 hours that went by. Johnny Burke really deserves his title of The Poet. What a pleasure!

Anonymous said...

this reminded me of the early days of broadway rose -- the scrappy "we've got nothing to lose" attitude.
i liked it a lot.
the direction and choreogreaphy are frequently inspired and the band of 5 sounds like twice that.

Anonymous said...

Two words: Brianna Shewbert.

One word:


talented cast - great time. Go see this show.

Anonymous said...

i think the first 3 posts here are wildly over the top.
it is a fun show but with plenty of shortcomings.
however, the cast has fun and thereby so do we.
but it is not a WOW by any means.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, shortcomings - but what a talented bunch this crew is.

I would have like to have seen and heard more of Eliz. Bacon ond Donz Richardson - less tenor solos (enough already) Eliz and Donz were always missed when they left the stage.

Karen Maria Capo is delightful

Brianna Shewbert is someone to watch for - her comedic timing is spot on.

kudos to Dustin Milberg for his acting chops that added a fantastic layer. And James S. is a delight on stage.

David Smith-English's decision to use the tech for the bing and Bob stuff in the way he does is hilarious and smart.

really - the heart of this show is sweet, and the talent is pretty meaty.

Anonymous said...

I saw this show last night - up until the intermission that is, when it was acceptable to leave. I think I was born too late to appreciate this. Worst live performance I've seen in a very long time - the tap dancing bits especially, where no one seemed to be in synch with anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Great show to say the least. for the most I found the tapping amazing, and Brianna was ditzy which was perfectly in character for her.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful show! Singing, dancing, comedy! The section with the stage hand providing tech effects was genius. Could have done without the "commercial" before the show, but all and all my friends and I had a great time!

Anonymous said...

Okay, so this is a little late...

It hurt my heart a little bit to drive SO far to see a show, but I was very impressed with the theater itself - it's a nice little space. The production values were much higher than I expected, as well. The minimal set pieces were well done, costumes were beautiful all the way around, and the band was great.

The singers were all over the board, in my opinion. Elizabeth Bacon and Karen Maria Capo were absolutely the standouts. Some of the others were not quite as strong, vocally, dramatically or both. I did enjoy Brianna Shewbert's performance, although at times it got a little shrill and histrionic for my taste. Her comedic timing is great.

The ensemble numbers were enjoyable - I thought the choreography was well executed for the most part. Let's remember that most of the people on stage are singers first, actors second and dancers third. Taking that into account, the dancing far exceeded my expectations! The harmonies in the radio scene were mostly really tight, although I was surprised at some of the voicing choices that were made. With such a small cast, choosing the right blend is of utmost importance, and at times it really missed the mark.

My main gripe about the show was the timing. I saw a Thursday show, so they were all coming back from days off, but some parts dragged interminably, in particular the solos of David Maier. I am not sure if the band or the singer is to blame for that, but the songs started slow, and seemed to wind down into a funeral dirge, turning it into a long masturbatory session for the musicians, and a lesson in meditation and perseverance for the audience.

Some of the dramatic moments could have used a little more forward momentum as well. The subject matter is not heavy - no need to linger on every little turn of phrase so much to make sure we get it. We do. It's not that deep.

Overall, it was a night pleasantly spent. I wouldn't go see it again, but for my $20, it was a nice night of entertainment.