APPLAUSE! Musicals Society

Dates and Venue 14 – 17 February 2013, 8pm | Pyatt Hall - VSO School of Music, 843 Seymour Street

Cast Michael Antonakos, Devon Busswood, Melissa Maxine Clark, Caitlin Clugston, Braedon Cox, Steffanie Davis, Cameron Dunster, Steve Dotto, Michael Gill, Cory Haas, Alex Nicoll Andrew Wade, Cathy Wilmot

Reviewer Karen Fitzgibbon

Michael Antonakos as Fiorello LaGuardia shows great talent portraying an Italian New York congressman who runs for mayor. LaGuardia is intent on destroying the corruption of Tammany Hall. Only 8 musicals have won the Pulitzer Prize for Musical Drama and Fiorello! is one of them.

This classic Broadway musical is based on the true story of Fiorello LaGuardia. LaGuardia, a Republican, was the 99th mayor of New York City for three terms from 1934 to 1945. This musical premiered in 1959.

There are uplifting, rousing choruses and sad ballads. Although this musical runs for only 3 days I wonder why teleprompters aren’t used instead of having the cast read off of scripts. Just the reading from the script instead of memorizing lines is quite distracting from the musical.

Antonakos knows his lines well and rarely looks at the script. Some of the cast members make errors in the spoken lines at very important moments. It makes me wonder how that it is possible to err, since they were reading off of the script. It is not as excusable as forgotten memorized lines. Most of the music lyrics are well memorized and the cast does well on harmony.

Some of the wonderful arrangements were “When Did I Fall in Love,” chorus numbers "Politics and Poker," and my favorite towards the end of the show was a fun and really well done "Little Tin Box." Steve Dotto as Ben Marino shone in his performance in “Little Tin Box.”

Caitlin Hayes on piano was terrific. She was the guiding light for some of the performers in some unsteady moments. Cathy Wilmot as Marie Fisher is very professional, and I am surprised at the power and range of her voice. Well done Cathy! I see great promise in your future.

© 2013 Karen Fitzgibbon