Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lone Star Love - The 5th Avenue Theatre

Lone Star Love
The 5th Avenue Theatre
September 8 – 30, 2007
Tickets and Information

William Shakespeare’s accidental play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, has found itself set to music all around Seattle over this past year. Last March the Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program presented Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi and now the 5th Avenue Theatre brings Seattle Lone Star Love.

In this new production – premiering here in Seattle before moving straight to Broadway – the tagline at the end of the first act sums up the mood of the play quite well: “It’s not done until it’s overdone.” Lone Star Love is a cheesy, fun show that plays strongly for the cheap laughs and easy cracks. There are only so many singing cowboy jokes that can carry a show for almost three hours and this one uses them all. However, while the cowboy cracks get somewhat tired, the music carries this show well on its way. Jack Herrick’s music and lyrics (and performance as Pistol) are smooth, catchy and exceptionally fun. The music encompasses the down-home feel of post-civil war country tunes while staying true to every Broadway convention possible.

Dee Hoty, Randy Quaid and Lauren Kennedy. Photo by Michael Powers

Randy Quaid delivers a fabulous performance as the most loveable character from the Renaissance and today – Falstaff. While much more fit than his character ought be, Quaid holds himself very well and has a presence on stage that pulls the audience in immediately. Robert Cuccioli (Frank Ford) also provides a great show. After premiering Jekyll & Hyde in 1997 as the title characters, Cuccioli has done well in coming on board for Lone Star Love. He brings a fabulous fire to this performance. Ramona Keller (Mistress Quickly), however, steals the show every time a note soars from her lips. Her powerhouse performance brings down the house perfectly and brings a perfect grounding to the otherwise rather over the top show.

While many of the aspects to this show fall flat or are overdone to an extreme level, the performers on stage – especially the musicians playing Bardolph, Pistol and Nym (Chris Frank, Jack Herrick and Emily Mikesell) – and the overwhelming fun of the show give the audience everything they need from a Western Shakespearian Broadway Musical.

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