While Philadelphia Phillies fans await major league baseball play-offs, South Street, a new musical comedy by Richard Addrisi (music and lyrics) and Craig Carlisle (book), explores another aspect of the city of brotherly love at the Pasadena Playhouse. Fabulous dancing, rife with colorful characters and even more colorful costumes make this world premiere a fun romp.
Set in 1997 at Sammy’s Place (marvelously realized by Scenic Designer Andy Walmsley) a local watering hole in Philadelphia’s famed South Street neighborhood (with a flashback to the early 1980s), the show is packed with many protagonists. As written it was difficult, at first, for the audience to know which were supposed to be the central characters and what exactly the story was about. Answers came in a strong Act II.
Sammy’s Place started out as a firehouse, was for awhile a strip-club (complete with pole dancing) and ultimately became home of the local annual Full Moon Dance Festival. As such it served as home to a wide variety of folks portrayed by an energetic and talented cast of triple-threat singer/dancer/actors.
Each and every member of the cast gave their all on opening night, Sunday, September 25, 2011. As would be true in real life, patrons of Sammy’s came in all shapes, sizes and ages. Memorable performances were turned in by Tom Shelton as Sammy, Valerie Perri as his wife, Sybil, Maria Eberline as Cloe, Brent Shindele as Johnny and Matthew Patrick Davis as Norton.
Stand-outs included Andy Scott Harris as Young Norton, Cassie Silva as Crystal, Lowe Taylor delightful as “always the bridesmaid” Lydia, Ezra Buzzington (all kinds of fun as a lover of loud polyester attire), Harrison White as Lou (his duet Best of Friends with Sammy was a highlight) and Jim Holdrige as the somewhat shady Tony Pachagalope.
Biggest kudos to Choreographer Dana Solimando and her dynamite, versatile dancers. They showcased their abilities in everything from pole dancing, tango and western swing to hip hop (Crystal and her two girlfriends rocked).
South Street is a crowd-pleaser if the enthusiasm of the opening night audience is any indication, and it is worth the price of admission just to see all the wonderful dance numbers. The live orchestra under the direction of Michael Borth is a also a real treat.
South Street performs 8 p.m.Tuesday through Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday through October 16. Tickets are $39-$69, premium seating $100. Preview tickets are $10 off the regular price (except premium seating). Rush tickets $20 one hour prior to performance subject to availability. Call 626-356-7529, visit the box office or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org. Group Sales (8 or more) are available by calling 626-921-1161.
The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.
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