CRAZY FOR YOU is a musical with a book by Ken Ludwig, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and music by George Gershwin. Billed as “The New Gershwin Musical Comedy,” it is largely based on the songwriting team’s 1930 musical, GIRL CRAZY, but interpolates songs from several other productions as well. CRAZY FOR YOU won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Musical.
The Players Club of Swarthmore’s production of CRAZY FOR YOU is a good, solid, old-fashioned musical with “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl” for the plot; a little over two hours of toe tapping (theirs and yours), high energy entertainment, and great hummable tunes which will be stuck in your head as you walk out of the theatre. The entire cast was strong and not a bad banana in the whole bunch.
Kevin Dietzler who plays the male lead Bobby Child is a triple threat who dances like a pro; his performance of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” in the second act really hit home his natural Fred Astaire qualities. The role of Bobby Child carries the show and the director Brian Walsh should thank his lucky stars that Kevin Dietzler is up to the task.
The other star of the show is Stacy Moscotti, as the female lead Polly Baker, who has a voice that sounds natural whether she is belting “I’ve Got Rhythm” or sings dreamlike “Someone To Watch Over Me”.
I really enjoyed the supporting cast members Kat Lemon as Irene Roth and Richard Gonzalez and Lank; they made the most of their sarcastic lines and you knew that they were made for each other (good chemistry, too). However Mr. Gonzalez would benefit from a little extra practice to smoothly get his gun out of the holster. I was looking forward to Ms. Lemon’s song “Naughty Baby” in the second act, but was disappointed; Kat Lemon has the voice and comedic skills to pull it off but it seemed like the number was too busy and over- blocked/choreographed.
The chorus was great and had lots of energy and made you want to have as much fun as they seemed to be having. Once again, great vocals and high levels of twinkle toe abilities for both sexes. The ladies were Rockette-like while the guys had the laid back quality of “Bidin’ My Time” pitched perfectly. The staged fights and gymnastics for the saloon scenes were fantastic and very professional; they really did make you feel like you were in the Wild West. Some of the bits and shtick seemed overly long or under-rehearsed such as cutting the rope with the ax for “Slap That Bass” or “What Causes That”; but a quick brush up with the props and a tightening of the pacing would solve those problems.
The set designer Tom Lee did not have a biography in the program but should get kudos for lifelike Wild West sets and the cast and crew should get a good notice for the quick set changes (and helping to build the sets). I had already taken a note that the costumes were great but that was before Polly’s last dress appeared… it seemed ill fitting and was not flattering.
One of my few and last quibbles for this production is that there were too many chorus members. While they were all great and I could not tell you which ones to cut; it looked like the stage was too crowded and I kept waiting for one of them to get accidentally kicked or knock each other into the orchestra pit (luckily it never happened).
Quibbles aside, this is a solid production. Make time during this busy holiday season to head on over to Swarthmore to catch a performance before the run ends on December 17th.
CRAZY FOR YOU
Book by Ken Ludwig
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Directed by Brian Walsh
November 25 – December 17, 2011
The Players Club of Swarthmore
614 Fairview Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081-0236