I'm still hoping that the show will be added to the Epinions database in the next couple days and I can post a full review, but here are some initial thoughts:
- This is a show that demonstrated why acting happens in the "pauses." Gordon Hicks and Kat Cooper did so much storytelling in the moments where they had no lines. It was their reactions to Mama Rose that made such numbers as Everything's Coming up Roses so very heart-breaking.
- Kat Cooper also deserves kudos for being subtle about Louise's performance struggles. Louise lacks the more natural talent of her percocious sister and there are many choices of how to play that. Cooper gave us a Louise who fumbled her dancing, but tried to cover it up. She didn't draw attention to the errors, but trusted that the audience would know it was intentional. It was a subtle choice that paid off.
- Emily Hadick was the perfect Baby June--all bouncey and cuddly. Plus, she could sing.
- Cindy Lyons Miller has an excellent voice and her numbers were very strong. In the first act, her movements seemed awkward and forced, which made it difficult to relate to her. However, they became more natural as the show went on and as the character's drive and mania intensified.
- Since West Side Story, has there been a Sondheim musical that showcased choreography? Certainly the only opportunity for it in this show were in the vaudeville numbers and in Joe Quick's delightful Act I dance as Tulsa. There again, it was Cooper's longing expressions that added depth to that scene and made it more than just a great dance number.
- Terra Forbes has my respect for her commitment to the role of Mazeppa. It's difficult enough to play a stripper with a trumpet, but to do it with an injured knee deserves an extra bow.