Danny Scott’s PLACES!, currently at Footlighters Theater, is a breath of fresh air in a medium riddled with material that either offends, insults or outrages many audiences. Set in suburban Philadelphia, Mr. Scott’s musical tells the story of a group of community theatre actors from all walks of life; and their on and offstage antics as they put up a show. Led by their fearless leader and director Harrison Morgan, adeptly played by RJ Kurowski, we get a glimpse at some of the behind the scenes drama that can go on in the theatre world.
Scott’s production is inspiring. A Philadelphia native, he hadn’t been onstage for almost 40 years. A musician and songwriter at an early age, Scott earned a degree in music composition and theory, but then went on to become a Physician’s Assistant as well as Professor of Physician Assistant Studies at Salus University. While attending an audition with his daughter at Footlighters for GYPSY, he found himself cast, and six roles later, he found his inspiration for PLACES!, taking just one year to create.
PLACES! centers around three couples: teens Logan and Tiffany, played by Josh Davis and Abby Scott (daughter to the show’s creator); the young professionals Drake and Sidney, Kurt Anderson and Sarah Sperling; and finally the more seasoned Director and stage mom, Kurowski and Mary MacAvoy . With Broadway aspirations, the book will require some editing and re-writes, some of the repetitive ballads could be cut, and perhaps some stronger plot devices are needed, but overall, the show is truly inspiring in a world where dark themes seem to occupy the stage these days.
Among the cast, I enjoyed leading man Kurt Anderson, his singing was enjoyable and he had a professional ease on stage, no doubt from years of performing. Kurowski was a pro, commanding the stage from beginning to end; MacAvoy tickled the audience with her humor and wonderful singing, and Abby Scott was charming with her beautiful singing voice, tap dancing and fearlessness onstage. Though his singing voice wasn’t there, Mark Sborlini as Sidney’s meathead fiancé had some memorable moments and slick moves. Favorite music numbers include MacAvoy’s “How do I begin?” a widow’s lament about raising a son on her own; “Let This Feeling Last,” the sentimental duet between Kurowski and MacAvoy, and “Shuffle Hop, Shuffle Step,” a snappy tutorial on tap dancing, between Abby Scott and Anderson.
Great for the whole family, PLACES! could lure our dwindling youthful audiences back to the stage to see what they’re missing. I truly hope this show goes places, (pardon the pun, couldn’t resist!)
by Danny Scott
Directed by Camen Rossi
Feb 1 – 16, 2013
58 Main Avenue