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GRITS: The Musical

a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Erica Allen McGee

COMPANY : ART Station Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : ART Station Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4923

SHOWING : July 14, 2016 - July 31, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

It’s four women, four generations, and four different views. It’s your mother, your sister, your grandma, your best friend. It’s sweet tea, collard greens, fresh tomatoes, and banana puddin’. It’s stories you’ll recognize and tales from the past. It’s country music, jazz tunes, old time blues, and toe tappin’ rock. It’s the old, the new, and some things in between. It’s about love and laughter, revelation and grace. It’s "GRITS: The Musical!"


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Karen Beyer
Georgia Liza Jaine
Virginia Dejie Johnson
Florence Allison Spragin
Charlotte Joy Walters
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REVIEWS

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Girls Raised in the South = GRITS
by playgoer
Monday, July 18, 2016
3.0
"GRITS: The Musical" takes its acronym to heart: its four characters are named after Southern states or cities, and its content leans heavily on Southern stereotypes. Its structure is a uniform series of sequences starting with a quotation, followed by a monologue, and ending with a song. The first three songs cover exactly the same material as the subsequent song, and all of the other sequences tie the two together in a pretty straightforward manner. It’s like saying in depth "this is the content of what I’m going to sing," then singing it. It makes for a very thin evening of entertainment. It doesn’t help that most of the song have repetitious lyrics.

ART Station has assembled a fine cast, and they do their best to sell the material. All have good voices and great stage presence, with Liza Jaine particularly having a sparkle in her eye as she reacts to unexpected stage mishaps and audience responses. Karen Beyer has staged the show with enough variety and movement to keep things moving. Patrick Hutchison’s piano accompaniment is splendid, but as music director he hasn’t achieved a good balance of voices in some ensemble numbers. These aren’t the Andrews Sisters.

Technically, the show has some problems (or did at the performance I attended). Jeanne Fore’s costume design is fine, and Michael Hidalgo’s set and sound design are pleasing. Lighting, however, is occasionally lacking behind the scrim that backs the porch set, making movements back there murky. This was particularly disturbing during "Mama," with the dance accompanying the song hardly visible.

Songs in the show are a mixture of original songs (most of the first act) and cover versions of well-known songs and melodies, often with custom lyrics (most of the second act). This isn’t a long show, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. There are some big laughs in the show (particularly the ending of the monologue preceding the song "Sweet Tea"), and it’s pleasant throughout. But pleasant and bland doesn’t add up to powerhouse entertainment. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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