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Schoolhouse revue samples some of Broadway’s finest

By Staff | Feb 19, 2009

“Classic Broadway Abridged” is, just as the title suggests, a kind of reader’s digest, packed with songs, though not in chronological order, spanning more than 80 years of iconic Broadway musicals, beginning with 1927’s “Show Boat” and ending with 2003’s “Wicked” –with almost everything in between.

If you’re a die-hard Broadway enthusiast or simply a Rodgers and Hammerstein fan, this show will tickle any and all who just love a great live show.

The cast of five (Adam Clough, Schoolhouse artistic director Victor Legarreta, Amanda Martin, Olivia Miller and Samantha Rotella) is absolutely wonderful, each one blessed with a powerhouse voice and an incredible acting talent (it should be mentioned that Olivia Miller is just 11-years-old and gives a performance as equally sublime as any of her adult counterparts).

The set, designed by Todd Sherman, is an impressionistic interpretation of the Great White Way accompanied by signs depicting the emblems of many well-loved, quintessential musicals, and seems to suit the intimate schoolhouse space and the talented group of actors perfectly.

The show’s accompanist and the one who’s responsible for the wonderful musical arrangements, Schoolhouse musical director Justin Cowan, is cleverly seated front and center with his back to the audience throughout the entire show– an ingenious and somewhat unexpected set-up that, as show-goers will find out, facilitates a bonus participation on the part of Cowan later in the show.

Bobby Logue, house manager and Schoolhouse choreographer, also makes a brief appearance for a hilarious faux audition, including a dance sequence mash up of what is casually referred to as a combination of the light-hearted musical “Annie” and the somewhat heart-wrenchingly desperate musical “A Chorus Line.”

And though Logue is only on stage for a short period of time, you can sense his expertise (and the immense talent of the cast) through rapid-fire time steps during a song from “Anything Goes” and the subtle, Fosse-inspired posing during the tribute to “Chicago.”

But if you enter the Schoolhouse for “Classic Broadway Abridged” expecting a simple rehashing of beloved Broadway hits, let it be known that this show is far from just showtunes.

Legarreta, who wrote and directed the show, has filled this unique revue with the occasional audience participation and plenty of hilariously funny elements and show-stopping surprises.

Though it would be unfair to give them all away, some superbly comical moments include a hysterically histrionic interpretation of “The Phantom of the Opera” and the biggest laugh-getter of the night, a riotous rendition of “The Wizard of Oz” –performed in under five minutes.

The cast is talented and they belt out big notes and perfect harmonies as naturally and as effortlessly as when they carry out moments of sheer slapstick comedy or difficult tap routines.

So if you’re in the mood for a lot of laughs from a show that was put together by people with some serious talent, reserve your tickets now for the Schoolhouse Theater’s “Classic Broadway Abridged.”

The show will run until March 7, Mondays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children 16 and under. Call the Schoolhouse Box Office at 472-6862 for more details.