‘MY ONE AND ONLY’ OPENS GOODSPEED’S SEASON

 By Marlene S. Gaylinn

 “My One and Only,” billed as Goodspeed’s “Latest Tap Dance Spectacular,” certainly lives up to its expectations.  With original choreography by Tommy Tune and staging by Thommie Walsh and at Goodspeed under the skilled direction of Ray Roderick who did “Singin’ in the Rain” and “42nd Street and Choreographer Kelli Barclay, who also worked on Goodspeed’s “42nd Street” and “How to Succeed in Business,” this predominately dance musical contains numerous other spectacular dance styles as well.  There are romantic ballet sequences reminiscent of old Gene Kelly and Cid Charisse films, fine examples of Fred Astaire’s signature “High Hat” tap numbers, plus exciting jazz and Charleston dances as well.   By making use of tiered space in the form of platforms and a wide stairway, Roderick and Barclay have the knack of making a chorus of only 15 dancers give the appearance a full-scale Broadway production.  For dancers to move freely, without knocking into each other on Goodspeed’s limited stage takes some real doing.

 
  Tony Yazbeck and Gabrielle Ruiz, both excellent dancers and singers, play the leading roles in a patchwork of a plot regarding a barnstorming aviator who falls for a bathing beauty.  I say patchwork because this show based in the 1920’s was originally a contrived vehicle for Tommy Tune to keep dancing on Broadway.  Apparently Ira and George Gershwin’s songs, taken from various other shows, were worked piecemeal into a very corny plot according to today’s standards.  The fact is, tap- dancing is rapidly going out of style, there are only few really great tap dancers left and most of them happen to be black folks who are largely represented in the chorus at Goodspeed.  Thus, when Alder Lewis Jr. takes over the stage in a leading role such as “Mr. Magix,” his rare, easy rendition of rapid, talk tapping brings the audience to its feet.

  The sparkling, 1920’s dresses and bathing suits are by Robin McGee and Michael Clark is responsible for novel, recreated projections of a moving plane onto rotating, white umbrellas.

  If you suspend time and place and concentrate on the show’s pure entertainment value, “My One and Only” at Goodspeed is well worth seeing in East Haddam.

Plays until June 25                                            Tickets:  860 873 8668/www.goodspeed.org

This review appears in “On Connecticut Theatre” June/2011
   


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