Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wetumpka Depot: "Broadway Our Way"

For three performances only through tonight and tomorrow afternoon, the Wetumpka Depot Players are giving benefit performances of Broadway Our Way, a revue production featuring songs from nine Broadway shows that the Depot has produced over its 32 years, and one showstopper from their own scripted production of The Wedding from Hell.

They have recently refitted the theatre with new seating, and have upgraded their lighting equipment; hence, the need to raise funds for this award winning company's home space. [And, the Depot Players will be hosts for the Alabama Conference of Theatre's Community Theatre Festival in October.]

The cast, all dressed in evening wear, is an ensemble of many of the Depot's most familiar faces, many of them reprising songs they performed in full productions. Performing solos, duets, trios, quartets, and group numbers are: Sally Blackwell, David Brown, Jonathan Conner, Jennifer Haberkorn, Patrick Hale, William Harper, Kim Mason (who also directed), Kristy Meanor, Brad Moon, Merelee Robinson, Tom Salter, Cindy Veazey, and Jimmy Veazey.-- Marilyn Swears on piano is another Depot regular, even taking on a few lines of dialogue in this show, and provides the only live accompaniment masterfully.

Most of the numbers are played straight, but some others are given a "twist" of interpretation, given the "revue" nature of this evening's entertainment. Patrick Hale's version of "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma had a true homespun feel; Jonathan Conner & David Brown's rendition of "River in the Rain" from Big River was sensitively harmonized, but then Mr. Conner demonstrated an amazing falsetto in a comical version of "Till There Was You" from The Music Man. Cindy & Jimmy Veazey's interpretation of "People Will Say We're in Love" from Oklahoma was a lovely romantic duet; Jennifer Haberkorn's shows a strong comic persona in "Lovely" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and "I Can't Say No" from Oklahoma; Brad Moon once more taps into his inner-Elvis with "Jailhouse Rock" from All Shook Up; Tom Salter's in-your-face tirade in "Guv'Ment" from Big River was an audience favorite; Kristy Meanor and William Harper's fine tongue-in-cheek version of "Old Fashioned Wedding", and Kim Mason and David Brown's one-upmanship in "Anything You Can Do" -- both from Annie Get Your Gun -- got plenty of well earned laughs; Sally Blackwell produced a moody & sensitive "Blue Champagne" from G.I. Jukebox; and, just before the finale came "The Rose" from A Wedding from Hell, sung straight by Ms. Blackwell and "signed" with deadpan boredom and edgy intensity by Merelee Robinson: outrageously funny!

In less than and hour and a half of non-stop entertainment, the Depot Players have sent a tribute to Broadway musicals and their long history in Wetumpka.