Thursday, July 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

‘Show Boat’ is a big hit

By
From page A9 | July 14, 2013 |

Ron Bohmer (Ravenal) and Jennifer Hope Wills (Magnolia) in "Show Boat" produced by Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavilion. Charr Crail/Courtesy photo.

Photography © Charr Crail www.charrcrail.com Images for personal use only.

Check it out

What: “Show Boat”

Where: Music Circus, 1419 H St., Sacramento

When: 7:30 p.m. through Sunday

Tickets: $30-$74 general

Info: 916-557-1999

When Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Show Boat” first opened in 1927, it was like nothing anyone had ever seen before. Based on the book by Edna Ferber, it was no light and frothy musical, but more of a musical melodrama, as it dealt with serious problems, more in the manner of an opera.

The story focuses on race relations, miscegenation, alcoholism, failed marriages, compulsive gambling and single motherhood. It also has the necessary beautiful love story and a happy ending, with the comic characters of Captain Andy and his wife Parthy, who run the show boat, the Cotton Blossom.

“Show Boat” has become a beloved musical theater classic and is now being given a loving re-creation by Sacramento’s Music Circus, under the direction of Glenn Casale. This is a production which, unlike the 1951 movie, follows the Ferber book rather faithfully.

Opening in the late 1880s, the story centers around the Cotton Blossom, captained by Cap’n Andy Hawks (George Lee Andrews). Andrews (who owns the Guinness world record for most performances in a single show on Broadway, after appearing in “Phantom of the Opera” for nearly 25 years!) is a perfect Cap’n Andy. Though under the dominance of his shrill-voiced wife Parthy (Audry Neenan), Andy shows his independence now and then, especially when it concerns his daughter, Magnolia (Jennifer Hope Wills).

Neenan makes Parthy a real harridan and, honestly, there’s nothing much likeable about her. It would have been nice to see her softer side occasionally.

Wills is a beautiful Magnolia, with a lovely voice. She begins as a young, innocent girl and ends as a mature woman who has weathered all the bad things that life has thrown at her and come out a winner. Wills’ transformation from innocent to girl in love to successful matron is impressive.

Ron Bohmer is Gaylord Ravenal, the riverboat gambler who wins the heart of the young Magnolia Hawks and probably most of the females in the audience. He looks every bit the part of the suave roué who sweet-talks Magnolia. Though their instant love seems a bit unbelievable, their chemistry throughout the play works well for them both. It doesn’t hurt that his powerful baritone blends beautifully with Wills’ beautiful soprano in popular numbers such as “Only Make Believe” and “You Are Love.”

If there is a show-stopper, however, it is Phillip Boykin as the stevedore Joe, whose “Old Man River” brought out every nuance in that well-known song and gave it even deeper meaning. He also hit all the low notes clearly, which is a special treat.

The character of Julie Laverne, the light-skinned black woman, passing for white, and the most popular attraction on the Cotton Blossom, is always a character I would like to see more of, but Nikki Crawford made the most of her two powerful numbers, “Can’t Help Lovin’ that Man of Mine” and “Bill.”

As her husband, Steve, Gordon Goodman is wonderfully noble as he cuts Julie’s hand and sucks a bit of her blood to prevent there from being a charge against them for a mixed-race marriage (since one drop of Negro blood means that you are considered a Negro) as they are ejected from the Cotton Blossom.

Jennifer Cody and Jamie Torcellini are wonderful as Ellie and Frank, the comedic duo. People may not recognize Torcellini, since he was covered in costume as the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz” earlier this season. Cody is cute as a button, trying desperately to become an actress, but forever stuck in comic roles because she’s so good at it.

Sharon Wilkins is Queenie, the “mammy” character in the original, who finds her own dignity in this production with numbers like “Mis’ry’s Comin’ Aroun’.”

Eleven-year-old Noa Solorio, a student at Pioneer Elementary School and a veteran of Davis Musical Theatre Company productions, appears as young Kim, Magnolia’s daughter. She’s very cute, though her role is brief.

Dan Mojica is the choreographer for this show and has created some lively, bright numbers, though perhaps the most outstanding was a dance scene that takes the audience through some 30 years of history via dance and costume changes. Costume designer Leon Wiebers must have been in his element!

“Show Boat” is a delightful production without a weak spot in the nearly three hours (including intermission). Act 1, which runs about an hour and a half, was so engaging that my 93-year-old mother was surprised that it was so “short”!

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Carmen GiffordJuly 12, 2013 - 7:17 pm

    Why is not the review of Show Boat in the printed edition of the Davis Enterprise????? Page A9 only has the comic and cross word puzzle.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BevJuly 13, 2013 - 11:40 am

    The review always appears in the on-line version the day before it appears in the print edition.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LouiseJuly 13, 2013 - 9:04 am

    I agree, Bev! It was a wonderful production. Exceptional voices and choreography. I'd never seen the musical or watched the movies (1936 and 1951), so the plot was a treat. The conclusion brought me to tears. Some might be surprised and/or offended by the use of certain words and racial stereotypes. To help the young diverse cast prepare, the Music Circus had them study the history of the era, in particular race relations and law. The cast spent a great deal of time in discussion. They were asked to write a background story for their character which they shared with other cast members. For example, the actor who played Joe (who sang Old Man River) wrote a story describing his , i.e. Joe's, life as a black child living in The South around the turn of the century . Kudos to The Music Circus and cast.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

News

 
USDA predicts record almond haul in California

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Teens lead the way in fight against cancer

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
CSU pumps brakes on enrollment growth

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Diplomas all around for professor and sons

By Dave Jones | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Consumption guidelines for Cache Creek fish updated

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

 
Local singer/songwriter will perform Friday on KDRT

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Davis Flea hosts night market Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Free technology help offered to seniors

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Contestants sought for Yolo County Fair Queen contest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Parents can learn all about IEPs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Museum sells market bags as fundraiser

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
City of Davis recruits for its advisory commissions

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Colleges woo Native Americans with new programs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Zip Book: Request it, read it, return it

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

.

Forum

Battle lines are drawn

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Don’t tell me I can’t help him

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Water trains through Davis

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Water storage must be a priority

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

The real problem isn’t conflict, it’s violent conflict management

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Act now to support middle school students

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

UCD coach has navigated a Maze of experiences

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lethargic and roster-thin, Post 77 loses Area 1 opener

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Pence outscores Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Quincy Amarikwa: years in the making

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Area sports briefs: Nelson earns All-Academic honors

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

 
Youth roundup: Aftershock finishes second in tournament

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Majka makes winning look easy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
.

Features

Name Droppers: Transportation fellowship goes to Aggie

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Arts

 
‘South Pacific’ storyline still making waves

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

‘The Miracle Worker’ auditions set for WOH

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Death notice: James Thomas Feather

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

 
.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8