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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Not Just "Any Dream Will Do"

I heard different messages as to whether or not the full run of Performance Now's Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is sold out or not. According to the Lakewood Cultural Center's website, all remaining performances are designated with "Limited seating may be available please call 303-987-7845." For this reason I am at first a little reluctant to praise the show too grandly and run the risk of "rubbing it in" if you can't get tickets.
However, the wonderfully talented Brianna Tracy, a member of the Joseph ensemble and apparently also a reader of this blog, asked me last night if I would be writing about the show here. Well, as you all know, I'm a sucker for a pretty face.
However, what can I say about the show that John Moore did not already say in his review? Not much, really. John covered it pretty well. Bryan Bell's Joseph is an experience. It is a lavish, Vegas-style rendition (complete with beautiful girls) of one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most-beloved and oft-performed musicals.
Instead, let me say a word or two about my history with the company that produced this extravaganza. About four years ago I had a professional and personal falling out with PN founder, the late Nancy Goodwin. It happens sometimes in this business, but this was a big one. I had every reason to never set foot in another Performance Now show, and, for a little while, I didn't. I tell you this, because I could very well be the last person that anyone would expect to wax lyrical about this company or the remarkable woman who founded it.
However, Nancy's enthusiasm for musical theatre, her commitment to quality, and her love for performers drew such talent to Performance Now that I found it hard to stay away.
Shows like The Baker's Wife, My Fair Lady, 42nd Street, Gypsy, and The Pajama Game drew me back in. Performances from Kristin Hathaway, Katie Weiland, Alisa Vaughters, David Ambroson, Bernie Cardell, Bryan Bell, Keith Hershman, Carla Kotrc, Gary Hathaway, Alannah Moore, Maddie Franke, Michelle Merz, Eric Lentz, Lyndsay Corbett, Brianna Tracy, and many, many more made it an undeniable truth that Performance Now is a regisseur of quality musical theatre. And let us not forget Nancy's choreography. Nancy and I could find many points upon which to argue (and believe me, we did), but I could never, ever fault anything about her ability to breathe life into a dance number. Whether she was inventing a never-before-seen move or finding new electricity in a dance step we've seen a hundred times before, Performance Now's dance numbers gained a reputation as some of the best in the business. This is a tradition that Bryan Bell and his sensational cast have continued masterfully in Joseph.
I wish I could say that Nancy and I patched things up before her passing, but we didn't - a fact that I will always lament. Perhaps I can find a way to be a better friend to her theatre company than I was to her. That, however, is neither here nor there. (And probably not at all what Bri Tracy hoped that I would write about when she asked me.)
I guess my point is this:
Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is part of a legacy. It is the fulfillment of a dream. Nancy Goodwin could have wished no less than for Performance Now to go on strong long after she was gone, and, if the show I saw last night is any indication, that wish has been granted.

"Dancers are the athletes of God." - Albert Einstein

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