Two revues in two weeks, as different as night and day, makes for a happy reviewer. This week’s was PowPAC’s very ambitious Jerry’s Girls directed by Jeffrey Gastauer with Rich Shaffer as Musical Director and Alisa Williams on the choreography. This is a big show with a large cast, and lots of production numbers and dance routines.
Joel Colbourn’s set design opened up the stage just about as wide and deep as possible, offering a variety of entrances. The down-stage center entrance, on a raised platform, allows for truly elegant, showy presentations. Chad Oakley’s lighting design adds to the glitz and glamour of the silver-draped set. He uses a lot of hot monochromatic colors. Costume Designer Sherrie Colbourn, with the aid of nine others, brings a vast array of costumes, from simple black and white to red to outstanding gowns.
Director Jeffrey Gastauer has his cast changing costumes at such a pace that one would think they have a full staff of dressers back stage. Alas, I did not see a credit for even one. Even with these changes, I didn’t see a missed cue or a pause for a costume change.
Musical Director Rick Shaffer, another very busy talent, brings the cast to performance quality as well as spending two hours plus each performance with his hands never leaving the keyboard.
While everybody is familiar with the songs from Hello, Dolly! La Cage Aux Folles, and Mame, other lesser known productions are included. My favorite, recently seen in Canada, is Mack and Mabel, the story of Mack Sennett and Mabel Norman.
Choreographer Alisa Williams, who seems to be working for just about every theatre in town lately, outdid herself in production numbers. There are simple solo numbers to trios to chorus lines of six to ten ladies.
Leads Kristen Bauer, Kate Hewitt, and Meredith Russo have some very nice moments. Bauer’s “Look What Happened to Mabel” from Mack and Mabel, Hewitt’s “I Don’t Want to Know” from Dear World, and Meredith Russo’s “Time Heals Everything” from Mack and Mabel were very enjoyable.
Many of the cast were triple threats (act, sing, and dance). Many of the ensemble also had solo moments. Michelle Law’s rendition of “Nelson” from A Day in Hollywood is memorable. I wanted more. Maria London gave us a fine “So Long Dearie” from Hello, Dolly!. Nicol Reeves roused us with “Movies Were Movies” from Mack and Mabel. Veronica Schneider teamed with Maria London on “Kiss Her Now” from Dear World. Jessica Hince brought us “Take It All Off” from Jerry’s Girls. Justine Hince and Kelly Tran brought Mame’s “That’s How Young I Feel” to the audience. All of this while these lovely ladies were backing up the principals and constantly dancing.
PowPAC has taken on an extremely big production with success. It has brought together a very good directorial staff. They cast a varied group of triple-threat actresses. The result is an audience-pleasing production. The energy is excellent. I only had one serious criticism. The piano must be dampened much, much more than it was. Some of the voices are soft and are drowned out. Part of the problem is that this is a hard-walled set, which amplifies the piano. Jerry’s Girls is an enjoyable production and the audience enthusiasm is electric.
Kristen Bauer, Jessica Brandon, Kate Hewitt, Justine Hince, Michelle Law, Maria London, Nicol Reeves, Meredith Russo, Veronica Schneider, Kelly Tran
Producers Sherrie & Joel Colbourn, AD/SM Ric Michaels, Set Design Joel Colbourn, Costume Design Sherry Colbourn, Sound Design Rick Shaffer, Lighting Design Chad Oakley, Tech Chris Fadden
Total Rating: Two and half stars
Genre: Musical Revue
Author: Conceived by Larry Alford, Wayne Cilento, & Jerry Herman
Director: Jeffrey Gastauer, Musical Director Rick Shaffer, Choreographer Alisa Williams
Date Reviewed: November 4, 2007
Dates Weekends, thru November 18, 2007
Running Time 128 minutes
PowPAC – a community theatre
13250 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064
Box Office Phone: 858 679-8085