Good night, Irene!
September 1, 2011 —
All it takes is one minor disaster to remind me of how dependent I have become on technology. Even though the hurricane could have been much worse, we still took a hit here in the mountains and I couldn’t help but think of Gilligan, his island... and how the song might have gone, were it today: “No phones, no lights, no Internet... ”
There are plenty of “luxuries” I can do without, but no Internet? Egads. As the cancellations began pouring in, I scrambled to make preparations for the worst and quickly made my way over to the Forestburgh Playhouse (www.FBplayhouse.org) for their final presentation of the season, the Fats Waller musical revue, “Ain’t Misbehavin.’”
While hardly a “disaster of epic proportions,” truth be told, I found it fraught with problems. I spoke briefly with original Broadway cast member Charlayne Woodard over the weekend and expressed my concerns. “Honestly, it is not an easy show to do,” she told me. “It takes experienced actor’s who can sing, to pull this show off.”
With a tremendous catalog of songs to inspire the show, I initially felt that nothing could go wrong, but quickly discovered that hitting the right notes is simply not enough. Although the young cast members certainly have strong vocal abilities, the show is less than cohesive and failed to strike a chord with me.
Not wishing to emulate Irene and tear it up, suffice it to say that without an excellent piano backing up the show, songs like “Mean to Me,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “Honeysuckle Rose” were overshadowed by the ennui that seemed all-pervasive. Troy Scarborough’s cartoonish, exaggerated caricature of Waller left me befuddled and I was distracted by Kate Mincer’s tragic costuming choices and hideous wigs.
Before the Internet abandoned me, I noticed that another review called this production “delightful.” Potato-potahto springs to mind as I survey the mess that Irene has wrought on the Catskills, grateful that this show is the exception for the FBP season, rather than the rule. I hope that the hurricane has stirred things up over there and that this weekend, the joint will be jumpin’.