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Stolen Shakespeare Guild's 'Crazy for You' falls short

Posted 8:53am on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Some of the costumes are really snazzy.

But beyond the colorful outfits worn by the chorus girls, there is not much to recommend Stolen Shakespeare Guild's production of the Gershwin-fueled musical Crazy for You, which opened Friday.

This 1992 show cobbles together a long list of George and Ira Gershwin war horses, such as I've Got Rhythm and Someone To Watch Over Me, around a new book by Ken Ludwig. It is intentionally silly and campy and, at its best, is a joyful romp through the rich Gershwin catalog.

Stolen Shakespeare's production has a couple of good voices. Jonathan Metting, in the lead role of Bobby Child, sings well and also excels in the show's tap dancing numbers.

Laura Stratton, as Child's love interest, Polly Baker, has an impressive voice, but it sometimes overwhelms the material and tends to meander across various styles and registers within the same tune.

Some of the production numbers, which require choreographers Stefanie and Monica Glenn to cram the enormous cast (28 players and musicians) into the cozy confines of the Fort Worth Community Art Center's Sanders Theatre stage, provide a bit of dazzle, thanks mainly to those costumes by co-director Lauren Morgan. The jivelike treatment of Slap That Bass is one of the show's better moments.

But little else in this production meets the standards set by this company's previous presentations of "big box" musicals. It appears to be a case of the artistic reach far exceeding the grasp of the talent involved.

The most egregious failing in this show, directed by Jason and Lauren Morgan, is the acting. Travis Cook, as the saloon owner Lank Hawkins, handles his part well, and Metting gets by. But few others are up to par.

With a cast of this size, it is extremely hard for any theater to round up the number of players who can act, sing and dance well enough to pull it off. And for an amateur house such as this one, it is just about impossible.

So it is a bit tough to watch so many people work so hard to achieve so little. There is no lack of effort here. Just a lack of satisfying results.

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