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Center Stage: Broadway Palm reopens with hit classic, safety protocols

By MARSHA WAGNER - | Nov 24, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Marsha Wagner

“Mamma Mia!” was the first show to safely reopen at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre on Oct 1. I unfortunately had to miss opening night since I needed to quarantine at home after returning from a summer spent in Massachusetts. Fortunately, I did get to review this terrific production on Nov. 10, just prior to closing night on Nov. 14. My shortened version of that review would simply be: WOW!

“Mamma Mia!” abounded with talented performers giving high energy performances delivered with enthusiasm. The musical concoction was a neat mixture of hit tunes by Abba, zippy dance numbers by choreographer/director Amy Marie McCleary, performed in platform shoes and flashy Lycra costumes ever so reminiscent of the ’70s era. The charming romantic musical comedy was the perfect prescription for chasing the blues away, along with the boredom cast upon all of us from the coronavirus, and made for an evening of fun and frolic. In McCleary’s own words, “A fitting story to tell after a six month’s hiatus from the joy that is ‘live theater.'” I could not agree more. Live theater is the operative word, especially after watching the audience’s joy-filled faces, after the cheering standing ovation the cast received from the appreciative audience.

“Live” theater is the operative word in this instance; there is nothing in this world as joy filled and exhilarating as being part of a live audience seeing a thrilling live performance by top-notch performers. What a thrill to see folks jump up to stand and cheer for the show and the performances given by the wonderful cast of actors, singers and dancers. And that was not all. When the live orchestra backstage kept playing and the performers decided to dance along, the audience joined in. Only in live theater do you get responses like that — a totally spontaneous reaction. And that, my friends, is why live theater and live concerts can never be replaced! Having said that, are you ready to have some fun? Well guess what, you can! The Broadway Palm has put major safety practices in place so that everyone entering the theater is checked for temperature and required to wear a mask, except when eating or drinking. The facilities are cleaned after each and every performance, and the staff follow all the health rules.

Bottom line, put some fun back into your lives by phoning the Broadway Palm at 239-278-4422 and reserve your spot for the next glowing production. “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn” opened on Nov. 19 on the main stage, with performances running through Dec. 26. This show played the Broadway Palm in 2011 but was titled “White Christmas.” The original opened in the 1940s as a film starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. No matter the title, the musical is a delightful romantic plot which serves as the ideal means for presenting the 15 Solid Gold Berlin tunes. McCleary will once again work her magic as she spices up her concoction of flash and dash dance routines and musical staging so perfect for delivering this razzle dazzle Christmas offering. So stay tuned by reading next week’s review of “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn.”

I could not sign off without thanking owner and executive Will Prather for making Broadway Palm’s live theater possible for our community, while keeping all of us safe — audience, actors and theater staff. Thank you, Will!