Tuesday, November 21, 2017
News Roundup

'Crazy for You' plays the Francis Wilson Playhouse in Clearwater through Oct. 7

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CLEARWATER

They've got rhythm. They've got music. They've got pretty-in-pink showgirls and rootin' tootin' cowboys that dance better than they shoot. It's Francis Wilson Playhouse's production of Crazy for You, playing through Oct. 7.

The musical, which won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical of 1992, is bursting with high-energy dance numbers, funny lines and Gershwin greats including I Got Rhythm, Someone to Watch Over Me, Embraceable You and Nice Work If You Can Get It.

Who could ask for anything more?

When musical director Jason Tucker was asked what he thought audiences would love about the show he replied, "The question is, 'What won't audiences love?' "

It's the midst of the Great Depression when wealthy heir Bobby Child (played by George Cahill) is given the task of foreclosing on an empty theater out west.

So he travels to Deadrock, Nev., where he meets the girl of his dreams, Polly Baker (Rebekah Shade). He's a showbiz wanna-be anyway and convinces her to put on a show to raise the money to save her father's theater. He enlists the help of the chorus gals from New York City and soon the cowboy town is bubbling over with Follies Girls.

Naturally, there are plenty of snags and gags along the way.

Cahill, 24, of New Port Richey, said he was eager to reprise the role of Bobby. It's one he played in the J.W. Mitchell High School's rendition of Crazy for You.

"Bobby is a magical character that loves to tap dance," he said. He pulls off the song-and-dance act well, emanating a Gene Kelly-like style.

Shade, 25, is a mezzo soprano with a brassy edge. She says her voice fits her feisty character.

"Polly is a tomboy with a really big heart," she said, "but she's very naive in love."

The playhouse paid additional royalties to be able to duplicate the Broadway choreography of Susan Stroman, said box office manager Gabrielle Snapp. That means there's a whole lot of tappin' going on.

"It's a great cardio workout for our dancers," said choreographer Amy Phillips. Her biggest task, she said, was making sure all the dances successfully tell a story.

"Through these dances, the characters go on a journey and change," she said.

The cast of 24 was chosen in May. They had eight weeks of dance training before starting six weeks of regular rehearsals, which were held five times a week, said director Jason Fortner.

"Normally, you have 75 rehearsals," he said. "We had 150 for this show."

Submit ideas: Send Diversions feature story ideas to Terri Bryce Reeves at [email protected] They must take place in North Pinellas for consideration.

 
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