Categories: Arts Theater

Crazy good song and dance in Bay Area Musicals’ ‘Crazy For You’

It’s hard to resist the sequin-studded, toe-tapping cast of Bay Area Musicals’ “Crazy For You.”

The entertaining show, which opened the troupe’s fourth season over the weekend at the Alcazar Theatre, is packed with famous songs by the Gershwins. They’re accompanied by to-die-for dances choreographed by director Matthew McCoy (the company’s artistic director) and Danielle Cheiken, following Susan Stroman’s originals from the Tony Award-winning 1992 show with a book by Ken Ludwig.

The silly, almost inconsequential, story — roughly based on the 1930 musical “Girl Crazy” (with Ethel Merman and Ginger Rogers) and a 1943 movie of that name with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland — is a “let’s put on a show” tale complete with dated sexist jokes, mismatched couples and mistaken identities.

It’s about how Bobby (Conor DeVoe), a New York banker and aspiring song-and-dance man, is sent to a small, deadbeat Nevada town to foreclose on a rundown theater, where he immediately falls for Polly (Danielle Altizio), the theater owner’s sassy daughter. Of course, things don’t get worked out until local cowboys and imported showgirls find fun and meaning by doing some razzle-dazzle production numbers.

And indeed they are.

DeVoe brilliantly kicks things off with his solo “K-ra-zy For You,” followed by cute baby-doll dressed New York showgirls (reminiscent of the Hot Box dancers from “Guys and Dolls”) wielding telephones in the charming “I Can’t Be Bothered Now.”

Bobby and Polly hit it off, doing their best Astaire and Rogers in “Shall We Dance?” while Altizio shows her vocal prowess in gorgeous ballads “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “But Not For Me.”

Act 1 thunders to a great conclusion with the clever “Slap That Bass” in which the chorus girls actually become instruments played by the cowboys, and “I Got Rhythm” in which the entire company taps up a storm, assisted by saws, axes and, most amusingly, serving trays.

It’s worth mentioning the performers in this dance riot: Cheiken, Leslie Waggoner, Zoe Swenson-Graham, Alyson Chilton, Katie Baritell, Laura Morgan, Lucas Brandt, Mitchell Moseley, Jean-Paul Jones, Patrick Brewer, Brendan Looney and Jesse Cortez.

Adding to the festivities, in goofy “bad guy” roles are Morgan Peters and Sean McGrory as Irene and Lank, initially in love with Bobby and Polly, and Tony Michaels as Bela Zangler, the impresario with an unidentifiable European accent.

Music director Jon Gallo leads the seven-person band playing the great Gershwin tunes, but the show doesn’t only sound good. Cool sets by designer Kuo-Hao Lo move seamlessly from city to cow town, and colorful, flowing, glittery costumes by Brooke Jennings perfectly accent the wild and wonderful moves.

Though not among the deepest of endeavors, Bay Are Musicals’ “Crazy For You” is crazy good fun.

REVIEW
Crazy For You
Presented by Bay Area Musicals
Where: Alcazar Theatre, 650 Geary St., S.F.
When: 7:30 p.m. most Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; closes Dec. 16
Tickets: $35 to $65
Contact: https://www.bamsf.org/

Leslie Katz

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