Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Most Happy Fella ****

(Please click on the title to see the full review.)
Perhaps I should have called this an opera review, because this fine production is actually at Dicapo Opera Theatre. Whether it's a musical or an opera may be open to argument, but there's no arguing over whether Frank Loesser's masterpiece is a milestone of American music. This was my first time at Dicapo, and I was both surprised and delighted at the lavishness and high quality of their work. I wasn't expecting a chorus of 20 or an orchestra of 32. Their theater in the community center of St. Jean Baptiste Church is attractive and has excellent acoustics and sight lines. The cast was almost universally strong. Although Michael Corvino's slight build is untraditional for Tony, his voice is anything but slight. Molly Mustonen makes a lovely Rosabella, but needs a bit more volume. Lauren Hoffmeier's Cleo, on the contrary, needs to turn it down a bit. Peter Kendall Clark looks and sings a fine Joey. Brance Cornelius is both funny and affecting as Herman. The three chefs' rendition of "Abbondanza" stopped the show. The choral numbers are exemplary. Francine Harman's choreography shines in a very lively "Big D." John Farrell's sets are simple but functional. Julie Wyma's costumes are excellent. The orchestra, seated at the back of the stage, plays well under the baton of Pacien Mazzagatti. Michael Capasso's direction keeps things moving. All things considered, this production is a winner. Running time: 2 hours, 50 minutes including intermission. Note: It closes July 8, so hurry if you want to see it.

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