Bawdy, entertaining, well-staged, dramatically lighted and cleverly choreographed: “The Wild Party” by Andrew Lippa plays through Aug. 22 at the …
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Bawdy, entertaining, well-staged, dramatically lighted and
cleverly choreographed: “The Wild Party” by Andrew Lippa plays
through Aug. 22 at the Aurora Fox.
This award-winning musical is clearly meant for adults and is
based on a poem by Joseph Moncure March, which was banned in Boston
in 1928. It’s the story of a wild Prohibition-era party in the
Manhattan apartment of an odd pair of Vaudeville performers: dancer
Queenie and her clown lover Burrs.
It’s presented by the year-old Gravity Defied Theatre, which
operates under the umbrella of Rocky Mountain Arts Association, a
nonprofit organization that also includes the Gay Men’s Chorus,
Denver Women’s Chorus, Out Loud, The Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus
and the Mosaic Youth Chorus.
Director is Danny Harrigan, who also choreographed this visually
rich production, ably assisted by music director Ron Troester. The
pair cast a group of actors with fine voices and shaped them into a
musical with an attitude. Vocal blends are notable.
Young and promising Erica Vlahinos takes center stage as the
conflicted flapper Queenie. She will attend the prestigious
University of Cincinnati — College Conservatory of Music this fall
to further polish her performance skills. Watch for her name in
Keith Rabin Jr., an experience performer who started the GDT
company, plays the sinister clown, Burrs, cycling him from upbeat
and in love to drunken and threatening.
The two, although feuding, decide to throw a wild party and
Talented Chicago College of Performing Arts student Liz Bollar
portrays guest Kate, who brings a good looking guy she picked up at
a bar: Black, played by silver-throated Aaron Conklin, also a
Chicago College of Performing Arts student.
Other guests file, spotlighted, in through a high read door.
Each is costumed by Laura High in detailed ’20s style and they
dance, sing and writhe across the stage, interacting in various
mostly clever vignettes. A mood of hedonism is quickly set in
place, with song and dance numbers to highlight the distinctive
Lighting, designed by Vanessa Janson is particularly effective.
The sound system allowed some voices to fade briefly on opening
night, but has presumably been tweaked since.
This is a complex story and score for a young company to attempt
and it’s so well done that we will look forward to future
productions. Just be forewarned that it’s raunchy.
If you go:
The Wild Party” by Andrew Lippa plays through Aug. 22 at the
Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax, Aurora. This award-winning musical is
for adults and is based on a poem by Joseph Moncure March,
presented by Gravity Defied Theatre. Performances: 7:30 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays; 4 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $25, www.rmarts.org. (R rated).
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