Saturday, January 1, 2011

More Praise for Dolly!

Chicago Theatre Blog
The dancing IS athletic and amazing!   Rudy Hogenmiller channels Gower Championto choreograph dance sequences that elicit applause DURING the movement.  In particular, two memorable moments are actualized by a large segment of the chorus.  First, in the parade scene, the band moves into a revolving kick line.  For a small stage and multiple dancers, the graceful high-kick turning is incredibly impressive.  In the second act, the waiters have a vigorous prolonged dance sequence.  The word I think I’d use is ‘phenomenal.’    The synchronization is perfection.  The waiters’ jumps are a harmonious spectacle.
Despite promises that ‘Dolly’ll never go away again,’ it’ll be “Goodbye, Dolly!” in a week.    So, here’s your goal again,  get in drive again, if you wanna feel your heart coming alive again… get your tickets now… before the parade, and the full orchestra, passes by!
So what happens when Light Opera Works — a non-Equity company that works with a limited budget, focuses on original scores in full (including offering the luxury of a professional, 22-piece union-orchestra) and is not about to bring in today’s Channing or Merman — takes up this relatively thin work?
Good and joyous things, as it turns out. The company’s artistic director, Rudy Hogenmiller, both directs and choreographs his 30-member cast with a “we can do it” feel, and conductor Roger L. Bingaman and his orchestra bring out the musical pleasures of such numbers as “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “Ribbons Down My Back,” “Dancing” and “Elegance” that show Herman working on a subtler and more serious level than in the show’s anthem “Before the Parade Passes By” and its big title number (a hit thanks to Louis Armstrong’s recording, even before the Broadway show opened).

 Chicago Theatre Addict

Light Opera Work’s unfettered production, directed and choreographed by Rudy Hogenmiller, keeps focus on the music, comedy and budding relationships. In the title role, Mary Robin Roth is a force [...] This is a working class Dolly, full of vigor and spirited determination. She’s having a joy up there, selling her songs with old-school showbiz pizzazz, and it’s simply infectious.
The full orchestra, under the direction of Roger L. Bingaman, provides a rich, round sound that’s too often missing from musicals — though they could ramp up the energy in a few spots. Choreography by Hogenmiller for the young ensemble ranged from serviceable to very good.
While the handsome chorus jubilantly sings “Dolly’ll never go away again!,” you only have until Jan. 2 to catch Light Opera Works’ joyous production. Don’t let this parade pass you by!