By Mark A. Leon
The incredible thing about live theatre is that each performance is a unique one of a kind experience.? Live theatre reaches into your soul and pulls the triggers of your deepest emotions.? It drives you to tears and laughter, warmth and heartache.? Every now and again, a play comes along that just entices you to just have fun.? That play is Disaster: The Musical.
The Village Rep on Woolfe’s latest production is a nostalgic roller coaster ride, sing along, laugh induced parody of the 70’s disaster genre with a little help from the lyrical genius of Blondie, Eric Carmen, Diana Ross, Bay City Rollers and more.
Take the likes of the drama filled, star studded 70’s disaster drama, i.e. Airport, Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, adding in the slap stick parody of Airplane and the musical composition of Grease or Rock of Ages and you have an evening that is sure to make you smile and maybe even try to find those old 8 Tracks.
With a cast from age 12 to 65, Disaster, under the wonderfully crafted direction of Keely Enright, musical direction of Kevin Thorn and choreography of Sarah Callahan Black, brings 1979 back to life with flare, color and excitement.
From the opening number of “Hot Stuff”, to the unrequited love scenes belted to the hits of “Feelings” and “Without You” to the insanely funny dismembered rendition of “Three Times a Lady”, this show will leave you smiling and reminiscing.? No musical taking place in the 70’s is complete without a little Gloria Gaynor.? Spoiler, some did survive.
The ensemble cast were the true show stoppers.? Their overly emotional expressive dialogue and musical numbers lit up each scene.? Complimented by stunning wardrobe selections that either made you yearn for the 70’s once again or remember why those outfits went away, the costumes add to the humor of the evening.
Two performances shined just a little bit brighter in this sky filled with local stars.
Madelyn Knight, as Sister Mary brings a subtle, often out of character humor to the stage.? Her comedic timing, extremely talented vocal range and blend of physical comedy turned that black and white nun’s outfit into one of the most colorful characters on stage.? This range of acting skill has showered the Lowcountry in several performances including Sense and Sensibility, Dogfight, The Wedding Singer and Nunsense.? She is a gifted talent in the Charleston theatre community.
Skyler Waddell, at age 12, alone shows courage and talent performing nightly to a large group.? Skyler takes this role one step further.? He takes on the role of twin brother and sister Ben and Lisa.? It wasn’t enough to take on two roles, with two voice ranges, but he has to be in several scenes as both (mind you a dummy stepped in to help a little).
From children to adults in the audience, it was clear that Skyler played a cherished character(s).? When he was on the floor after the boat rocked and he said, “I can’t find my Light Bright pegs in the shag rug”, it reminded many in the audience of a different time.? This young actor has a promising future.
Individually, there were golden moments of pure laughter.? Kathy Summer (Shirley) whose spasms and vulgar outburst were pure magic and Tamara Delaine Sauders Jenkins (Levora) had a voice that could hold its own on Broadway.
If you want a fun evening, where you will find yourself unconsciously singing along to songs we all know and love, where you will laugh as the performers poke fun at the silliness of life and where you will be swept away by a night of music, love and an earthquake, come to Woolfe Street Playhouse and catch Disaster:? The Musical, playing through May 12th.