From the Deep Archives – A Typical Day at Jim’s Garage: Flat Rock Premieres Endearing, Laid-Back Musical

Theatre review originally published in MetroBeat.

At Jim’s Garage, an auto repair shop in a small North Carolina town, you’re as likely to hear the mechanics singing as tune up your car. Jim, the amiable owner/operator, keeps a guitar on him at all times. As for the shop’s three mechanics, the laid-back ZZ burns up both an upright and electric bass, while Purvis, the town stud just back from the military, plays lead guitar and Dee usually sings back up. Dee is the newest mechanic, and she (yes, she) knows her way around a carburetor, sports an angelic voice and has a few ideas that might just shake up the auto industry. The shop’s receptionist, Ivy, also sings back-up and is certain that if she’s chosen as the pin-up girl for this year’s Jim’s Garage calendar, that’ll be her ticket to the big time. Merle, the straightlaced bookkeeper, takes his place on piano and mandolin. And if you’re really lucky, Purvis’ Aunt Ethyl may show up, eager to add her voice to the proceedings before inviting you to a pig-pulling.

That’s a typical day at Jim’s Garage, the endearing and “high octane” country musical now making its world premiere at Flat Rock Playhouse.

Continue reading “From the Deep Archives – A Typical Day at Jim’s Garage: Flat Rock Premieres Endearing, Laid-Back Musical”

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From the Deep Archives – Razzle Dazzle at the Peace Center: Fosse- the Musical Snaps, Crackles and Pops

Theatre review originally published in MetroBeat

 

It opens quietly, the magnificent voice of Reva Rice singing that “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” then explodes into a fast-paced evening of dance excitement. Fosse-the Musical, quite simply, rocks. From the Stomp-like “Percussion 4” to the sex-drenched “Take Off With Us” to the electrifying finale set to Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing,” Fosse never ceases to draw us into the magical world of one of Broadway’s all-time greats.

Fosse was conceived by Richard Maltby. Jr., Chet Walker and Ann Reinking as a tribute to and celebration of the choreography of Bob Fosse (1927-1987), the only person to win an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy in the same year, all for directing. Reinking in particular has impeccable credentials to stage such a piece: not only was she Fosse’s long-time lover, she also danced for Fosse both on stage and on film. Continue reading “From the Deep Archives – Razzle Dazzle at the Peace Center: Fosse- the Musical Snaps, Crackles and Pops”

From the Deep Archives – It’s Showtime, Folks: “Fosse” at the Peace Center

Theatre preview originally published in MetroBeat

It’s all in the fingers, held apart with hands outstretched, elbows tucked in, full of energy. Dancers call it Fosse hands.

Bob Fosse choreographed every detail of a dance routine — the drooping eyelash, the bowler hat cocked at a rakishly precise angle, the pinky finger curled at just the right moment. You don’t see a lot of big chorus lines and beauty pageant smiles in Fosse numbers. You do see a lot of skin.

Bob Fosse died in 1987, at age 60, but his work lives on in the musical tribute that bears his name. Fosse – the Musical premiered in 1998, won three Tony awards in 1999 (including Best Musical) and arrives in a touring production at the Peace Center, January 2-6. The show has no plot: it’s more of a journey, an evening of song and dance highlights from one man’s extraordinary career, work that encompasses theatre, film, television and even ballet. Continue reading “From the Deep Archives – It’s Showtime, Folks: “Fosse” at the Peace Center”