By Hannah Cass
St. George Musical Theater’s Best of Broadway: Movie Musical Magic!, playing now, is so much fun, I hope all who love movie musicals can go see it. I am so exhilarated and enthralled after seeing this wonderful show! From the very start, I found myself unexpectedly in a state of excitement regardless of being so tired from an early and strenuous day of work. There was something in the air; an energy that I couldn’t pinpoint exactly at the time, but I pondered the possibility of it being the connection between everyone involved in the production. Even though the show hadn’t started yet, I later found that I was entirely right. That sensation of unity and combined drive only became more prevalent as the show went on, with the energy the cast and musicians were exerting entwining with each piece in such a way that there was an undeniable amount of love and dedication in every single performance. Like pieces in a Broadway-themed jigsaw puzzle, the production flows with the same level of passion throughout from beginning to end, and even though the bits of content originated from various musicals with varying themes, it all fits perfectly into this delightful mashup of Broadway favorites. I can say with utmost sincerity that I loved literally everything about this show and the way everyone involved works together.
This cast is absolutely magnificent. Everyone, EVERYONE, has such an amazing and unbelievable amount of talent and I was entirely blown away. It is inspiring that everything in Best of Broadway: Movie Musical Magic! is local talent. And yes, I took it upon myself to casually stalk a few of them on social media and become even more fascinated and enlightened with new information about southern Utah talent. So, without further ado, I want to elaborate more on this cast in no particular order. Angela Lebaron stunned me with her angelic voice in “Think of Me” from The Phantom of the Opera and “Falling Slowly” from Once. Oh, to be able to sing like that. I loved watching Tazia Murie perform in “Another Day of Sun” from La La Land, “Ticket to Ride” from Help!, “And All That Jazz” from Chicago, and “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman (or Chrissy Rogers, depending on the night you see it.) Speaking of Showman, Landon Boyce, Sloane Griffith, Mike Bearden, and Ellie Bearden all performed “A Million Dreams”. Joel Thomas really put on a show for us in “Hair” from Hair, “Staying Alive” from Saturday Night Fever, and “Falling Slowly” from Once alongside Lebaron. Jordon Lebaron sang the part of Raoul with his wife (Angela) in “All I Ask Of You” from Phantom, which was plenty romantic. Emmerson Een sang with Bearden in “For You” from Wicked with such cute girl friendship, and her brother Ashton Een sang “Drive It Like You Stole It” from Sing Street. Aaron Barnum does the hilarious role of the cop in “Ticket to Ride” from Help! and performed wonderfully during “Dancing Through Life” from Wicked. There was also a fun twist to the Jersey Boys segment, which became Jersey “Girls” featuring Griffith, Savannah Johanson, Alissa Meyer, and Adyson Uzelac during “Working My Way” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. McKenna Bowler, Sherlynn Davis, Katie Gardner, Harper Griffith, Saffron Peterson, Hollie Reina, Karly Snow, and Enoch Weaver also performed wonderfully and added so much to this production.
In the introductory paragraph of the director’s notes listed in the program, Director Bruce R. Bennett writes: “I hoped to create a new level of revue-style show that was high-energy, offered plenty of surprises, a variety of emotions and left the audience exhilarated”, and I personally believe that he has achieved just that. I’ve previously mentioned my observations of the level of energy and wonder this show entails, and it is all thanks to the efforts of each individual involved in the process.
I really wanted to list the names of the people that performed the live accompaniment, but sadly, they were not listed in the program. They do a fantastic job and it adds a touch of magic to each scene. On the subject of the music, Rogers is the Music Director for the show as well as part of the cast. The choreographer is Becky Reed, who I’m assuming also directed the ballet portions of the show that I adored so much. Lovely. Stage Manager Tara Griffith is “the on task, organized glue that makes everyone look good” according to Bennett’s notes. I loved the lighting choices made by Lighting Designer Jennifer Roberts, especially the “Defying Gravity” scene that illuminated the cast and stage with an appropriate hue of emerald. Costume Designer Tina Forsyth and assistants Cindy Nielsen and Ellen Bennett helped to make the cast look the parts necessary for their various scenes, and the outfits for the Jersey Girls were completely adorable. Sheldon Demke is in charge of the video projections, and I’m still so curious how they accomplished the look of the Showman cast silhouettes dancing around.
Even days later after experiencing this fabulous show, I’m still entirely moved and inspired from seeing it. All amazing songs, all talented crew, all magic movie musical fun! This is absolutely a show worth seeing, especially considering the fairly lengthy run time, there will be lots of chances to bring the family or a date to watch and listen to some of Broadway’s best hits.
St. George Musical Theater presents: Best Of Broadway: Movie Musical Magic!
The Historic St. George Opera House, 212 N. Main Street, St. George, UT 84770
March 8-April 7, Monday, Thursday-Saturday 7:30 PM, Matinee March 24 2:00 PM
Show runs 80 minutes with NO intermission, refreshments for sale from The Sweet Tooth Fairy
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