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a Musical Comedy
by Peter Stone (book), Jule Style (music), Bob Merrill (lyrics)

COMPANY : Centerstage North Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Art Place - Mountain View
ID# 4895

SHOWING : May 06, 2016 - May 14, 2016



CenterStage North is delighted to bring a musical back to our stage for 2016. Based on the film “Some Like It Hot,” SUGAR chronicles the zany lives of two musicians, of the prohibition era, who witness a gang slaying. Forced to disguise themselves as women, they join an all-female orchestra, and the games begin!

Director Chris Ikner
Musical Director Mark W. Schroeder
Joe (Josephine) Joe Arnotti
Ensemble Hayley Becker
Bienstock Thomas Buxton
Dude Paige Crawford
Sugar Kane Emily Decker
Sweet Sue Mary Beth Morrison
Sir Osgood Fielding Joel Rose
Ensemble Weston Slaton
Ensemble Christopher Steele
Jerry (Daphne) Zachary Stutts
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Doin’ It for Diabetes
by playgoer
Sunday, May 8, 2016
They say that a rocky dress rehearsal means a great opening night performance. What do they say about a rocky opening night performance? That it means a terrific closing weekend? Let’s hope so, for the sake of CenterStage North’s "Sugar."

Most of the elements are in place for a sparklingly good production of this admittedly less-than-stellar show. Alyssa Davis’ choreography is active and cheery, but the dancers weren’t terribly synchronized on opening night. Brad Rudy’s lighting has some inventive moments for romantic kisses, but the spotlight used for solo moments was generally jerky and late on opening night. Mark Schroeder’s musical direction has the singers doing nice work on all the musical numbers, but the mushy piano accompaniment was joined on opening night by the unsubtle drumming of a last-minute replacement percussionist. The costumes designed by Chris Ikner and Karen Worrall add visual appeal to the show, but the drab brick panel set designed by David Shelton and Kevin Renshaw adds none, although it does obviate the need for set changes.

The lead performers all do fine work. Joe Arnotti and Zachary Stutts combine great voices and winning comic panache to create charming portrayals of Joe/Josephine and Jerry/Daphne. Mary Beth Morrison sparks across the stage like a human sparkplug as Sweet Sue. Joel Rose is well-cast as Sir Osgood Fielding, using his fine voice to advantage in what are unfortunately the weakest musical numbers in the show. Emily Decker plays Sugar Kane as too much of a Marilyn Monroe tribute, but conveys a sweet, winning personality.

The minor roles have more of a minor impact, although Paige Crawford scores as a gangster sidekick. One of the conventions of the show is to use tap-dancing to represent machine gun shots, and it works remarkably well. Mr. Ikner has blocked the ensemble to populate the periphery of the show during much of the action, giving them a chance to act as a surrogate audience, their reactions underlining their (evolving) characters.

While "Sugar" has several catchy musical numbers, it’s not the finest of Jule Styne’s scores. Peter Stone’s book hews closely to the "Some Like It Hot" film script for its most memorable lines and situations, but doesn’t always shoehorn the musical numbers into the flow in a successful fashion. Nevertheless, there’s the possibility for a lot of audience satisfaction, particularly in the cross-dressing performances of Messrs. Arnotti and Stutts. The opening night performance may have been a bit of a shambles, but the promise is there for the show to improve in each subsequent performance. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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