Just crazy for 'Crazy for you'

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal  Robin Kato performs in the "Crazy for You" dress rehearsal on Sept. 19.

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Robin Kato performs in the "Crazy for You" dress rehearsal on Sept. 19.

Going to a Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company show is like sitting down with an old friend: You know it's going to be a pleasurable experience.

Such is the case with "Crazy for You," that amalgam musical woven together out of "Girl Crazy," a 1930 George and Ira Gershwin hit, and 13 other songs by the brothers. The show won three Tony awards in 1992, which testifies to its quality and sparkle.

The cast includes veterans who know how to put a show across. Lead actor Joshua Jessup as would-be hoofer Bobby Child, is in his fifth leading role with the company, and his performance is key to the production. He knows how to open doors as he does in his two opening numbers, "K-r-a-z-y for You" and "I Can't Be Bothered Now." He has a fine voice, and if his tap dancing is a bit sketchy, it doesn't matter. He gets the job done handsomely.

Co-starring is Michele Freeman as Polly, a Nevada girl with a definite mind of her own. Freeman, a modest-sized bundle of energy, has a strong and lovely voice and has the makings of a true hoofer. Her dance scenes with Jessup are plain fun, and if Jessup doesn't quite get the lifts up there, it doesn't matter. Freeman has some lovely solos, including "Someone to Watch Over Me," in which the audience is treated to something rare.

The men's quartet - Marcus Culpepper, Craig Parish, Domenic Procaccini II and Ryan McConnell - does a fine version of "Bidin' My Time" with the help of the Dancing Cowboys, and Jessup follows up with a lively version of "Slap That Bass," with a cello mysteriously substituting for the bass.

Jessup and Freeman offer an offbeat version of the ballad "Embraceable You," usually performed wistfully but fast-moving here.

The first act winds up with what is probably the most exuberant closer ever for a musical, "I Got Rhythm." The show could end right there and few would complain. It's a thrilling, pounding showstopper.

Second act comes up fresh with "Naughty Baby," sung by Andie Anderson as Irene with the Dancing Cowboys, and Jessup offering "They Can't Take That Away From Me," echoed by Freeman's plaintive "But Not for Me." "Nice Work if You Can Get It" by Jessup and the Follies Girls asks the old question and maybe gives an answer.

The finale can't quite match the first act's closer, "I Got Rhythm," but it's pretty dazzling on its own.

There's not a weak actor in the bunch, the orchestra led by Stephanie Arrigotti snaps to the dancers neatly and the direction by Robert Grant is quietly competent. A special nod goes to Gina Kaskie-Davis, who managed to get the cast of 40 stepping out on the right foot consistently.

The plot? Something about a New York theater, a Nevada town of Dead Rock, Bobby and Polly falling in love and other digressions. Doesn't matter, it's the music, the dancing, the costumes, the many fine voices that count. And they do add up to a delightful show.

n Contact Sam Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.

If you go

What: Musical "Crazy for You"

Where: Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Oct. 2


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