Crazy for You at Ja’Duke: Such Familiar Songs
Crazy for You at Ja’Duke is a Classic Song and Dance
Tonight we enjoyed a musical that rang out with familiar songs, ones that I’ve heard a million times and didn’t know their origins. It turns out that these wonderful Gershwin tunes were written in the 1930s for ‘Girl Crazy’ plus several different musicals and combined into the original production of ‘Crazy for You‘ in 1992, giving us chestnuts like “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.”
Ja’Duke Theater’s production of ‘Crazy for You’ brought out their best, with vibrant dancing, clever set design and actors having fun and belting out songs that end with celebratory arms and frozen smiles. You know, classic broadway singing and dancing.
The story, like so many musicals, is one of boy meets girl, boy fools girl with an obvious ruse, girl almost gets lost and then boy gets girl back. But the fun part here is the big musical numbers that showcase the dancing, the costumes, and the sight gags that add so much to a performance.
We watch the two characters, Bela Zangler (William LaPlante) and Bobby Child (Justin Begin) both drunk and dressed alike as they simultaneously swing their booze bottles in time with the song. And we see the chorus of 9 men and 22 women doing their dance number while the women ride on pick axes and use trashcan lids as impromptu drums.
It’s truly a toe-tapping show where the cast does wear tap shoes and no chance is missed to strike a pose and belt out a number. The costumes were impressive, from the follies girls’ perfect 1930s waves to the impressive set of tails worn by Bobby in the closing number. The dancing girls and guys all perfectly looked their parts and did a great job memorizing the complicated series of songs that required elaborate acrobatics.
The actors leaped up on chairs, climbed up on the roof of sets and did it all with grace and balance. This musical was in constant motion and it was a visual treat. The number of giant full cast numbers was impressive–there were only a few solos and duets.
Justin Begin in his role of Bobby Childs and Juniper Holmes as Polly Baker both stood out with their strong singing and dancing. Like in the other shows I’ve seen at Ja’Duke‘s bespoke theater the sets were cleverly designed, these turned around to go from the view of the street to the inside of the saloon.
With such a large cast it was inspiring to see how everyone managed to stay in their lane and keep in time but they all did it well. Kimberly William’s choreography was a lot of work and it showed!
Crazy for You is at the Ja’Duke Theater Industrial Blvd, Turners Falls, July 17, 22, 23 24. Tickets Ja’Duke Theater