Curtain Up

Tapping into 2016!

by Jan Davisson

After all of that holiday partying, the perfect solution to getting back your energy is to take in a few of the high energy theatrical shows that kick off 2016 season.

Starting on January 5, 2016 through January 10, the national tour of everyone’s favorite tap dancing show, 42nd Street, hits the boards at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach. It’s one of those delightful tales of a young, innocent girl, Peggy Sawyer, who wants to make it big on Broadway so she leaves Allentown, PA to audition in New York for a new musical, Pretty Lady. Against all odds, she gets cast and then, the star can’t go on opening night. So, guess who gets to take the lead? You guessed it. I love these song and dance fables of

Tricia DeSario, Blake Stadnik as Billy Lawlor, and Lucia Foster in “We’re in the Money” (Photo by Jan Marcus)

Broadway and the American Dream. It’s based on a novel by Bradford Rope and Busby Berkely’s 1933 movie. Who can forget Busby Berkley’s fantastic choreography! The costumes are always over the top with sequins and feathers; the music, under the direction of J. Michael Duff, formerly of the old Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre, provides happy tapping music to “Lullaby of Broadway,” “We’re in the Money,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” and, of course, “42nd Street.”

With a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, this sparkling new production will be directed by co-author Mark Bramble and choreographed by Randy Skinner, the team who staged the 2001 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival. The national tour production promises to be an extravaganza. 42nd Street is the second production of the Kravis on Broadway Series. Tickets available!

Former Palm Beach Gardens dancer, Brittney Bigelow, backstage getting ready for “We’re In The Money” dance production. She’s on the National Tour of 42nd Street and will be appearing at the Kravis for the Performing Arts January 5-10.

If all that tap dancing doesn’t jazz you up, let’s head to the Maltz Jupiter Theatre for Will Roger Follies: A Life in Revue which runs from January 12, 2016-January 31. It’s a chance to celebrate the life of beloved American Entertainer Will Rogers. The Broadway production earned the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1991 along with five other Tonys and two Drama Desk Awards.

Taken from a book by Peter Stone, the lyrics were written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green with music by Cy Coleman. It’s a dazzling production directed by Mark Martino and choreographed by Shea Sullivan. The best news is the return of Matt Loehr as Will Rogers to the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Loehr created a special audience following when he appeared in Crazy for You and The Music Man at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, winning a Carbonell Awarded for his portrayal of Prof. Harold Hill. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre production of The Music Man, which also won Best Musical.

He’s given outstanding performances in several productions at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre and has recently been seen as Elder McKinley in the Broadway hit, The Book of Mormons.

The Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Revue, has 22 musical numbers, featuring several roping numbers, a Wild West dance, a classic Ziegfeld Follies number and a vibrant tap extravaganza that opens the show.

What a way to start the year!

On a more serious note, look to the outstanding productions presented by Palm Beach Dramaworks at the Don and Ann Brown Theatre on Clematis Street, West Palm Beach.

Under the direction of William Hayes, founding member of Palm Beach Dramaworks, the Eugene O’Neil classic, A Long Day’s Journey into Night, a semi-autobiographical play about O’Neill’s painful relationship with his dysfunctional family will run from January 29-February 28.

Eugene O’Neill had a painful relationship with his tortured family and was himself a tormented soul, as is evident in the semi-autobiographical Long Day’s Journey Into Night. All the demons of the Tyrone family are laid bare over the course of one very long August day in 1912.

Heading south to Boca Raton, The Wick opens 2016 with South Pacific. All those wonderful songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein: “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Younger Than Springtime,” “There is Nothing Like a Girl”…the list goes on. South Pacific probably had more songs that made it to the mainstream of society than any other musical. South Pacific runs from January 7 through February 14.

The Wick also provides fantastic costumes and razzle dazzle. All of the musicals are great for young audiences. Lots of lively music, dancing and a G-rated story line.

The Palm Beach Dramaworks production of A Long Day’s Journey into Night, is a wonderful opportunity for high school and college students to view a classic stage production at a first-class theater.

Tickets and locations: January 2016

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach 33401 Tickets: (561) 832-7469 or (800) 572-8471; Kravis on Broadway Series 42nd Street, (Jan. 5-10)

The Don & Ann Brown Theatre 201 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach Box Office (561) 514-4042 or visit A Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Jan. 29-Feb. 28)

Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Rd. Box Office: (561) 575-2223 or go on line to Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Revue (Jan. 12-Jan. 31)

The Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton. Box office (561) 995-2333 or South Pacific (Jan. 9-Feb. 14)

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