Dramateurs’ THE GREAT ALL-AMERICAN DISASTER MUSICAL – A Good-Time Romp for All Ages

by Kelly Thunstrom

As director Mary Fitzgerald writes in her program notes, “There are no pressing life messages hidden in the dialogue, just good, old-fashioned shtick.” I couldn’t have said it better myself about the Dramateurs’ season-ender THE GREAT ALL-AMERICAN DISASTER MUSICAL. It’s a fun time for all ages, with toe-tapping songs (literally) and a talented cast that had the audience in stitches.

Andrea Kalan, Elizabeth Wheeler, and Pete Haas in the Dramateurs production of THE GREAT ALL-AMERICAN DISASTER MUSICAL.

In the office of unscrupulous studio producer Junior Dover, Jr. (Pete Haas), things have reached an all-time low. He has to put up with a tacky tour group (Gary Bullock, Abigail Morgan, Amy Peart, Michael Warren, and Chris Waters), who come in to his office every day to see a little bit of “Hollywood.” He’s been producing flop after flop – no wonder, since one of his titles was Zombies of the Stratosphere – and is desperate for a hit. He, along with his secretary and receptionist, Ethel Kent (Liz Wheeler) and Ginger McGregor (Andrea Kalan), come up with a “brilliant” plan to get back on top. They will con six major movie stars, Apassionata Abalone (Patrina Harding), Baby Bernice Bumble (Roseann Pignoli), Gee-Gee Fontaine (Madison Sloan), Bob Everlove (Jim Hopper), Theo Bartok (Chris Exley), and Flint Wormwood (Clark Van Hekken), to appear in their new Disasterama flick by tailoring separate scripts to make it seem like they are all the stars. And with gossip columnist Sylvia Metroland (Maureen Scallatino) charting their every move and the narcississtic direction by Plato Voltaire (Tom Stumme), the movie can’t turn out to be anything less than a disaster, right?

Some of the songs in THE GREAT ALL-AMERICAN DISASTER MUSICAL are unmemorable, but the cast works well together to make them come alive. Standouts include Wheeler and Kalan, who have beautiful voices and show their frustration over Dover’s shenanigans well. Harding and Van Hekken are a hoot in their parts as the former Queen of the Silent Movies and the macho movie star respectively. I sensed a little tentativeness from some of the cast, and it was difficult to hear a few lines, but hopefully that will get better as the performances continue. This is the type of show that needs to be embraced with gusto.

So I’m happy to say THE GREAT ALL-AMERICAN DISASTER MUSICAL does NOT live up to its name. Go see it!

Book by Tim Kelly
Music and Lyrics by Jack Sharkey
Director: Mary Fitzgerald
Musical Director: Lauren Exley
October 4-13, 2013
The Dramateurs, Inc.
at The Barn Playhouse
1600 Christopher St
Jeffersonville, PA 19403

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