The Boy from Oz (review)

The Boy from Oz (review)
The Boy from Oz (review)
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THE PLAY: This is a bio musical of Peter Allen, who was a flamboyant entertainer, prolific songwriter, husband to Liza Minnelli and proudly gay.

 

THE PRODUCTION: Chris Hester has spent a year preparing for the title role and it shows in his carefully curated performance. Although, he may have over-prepped: Instead of inhabiting the character, you can see the wheels turning. His most honest moment was when a storm caused a brief power outage and he had to adlib his way in the dark. Brandon McKinney (who played young Peter) exhibited charismatic talent in his few scenes, but the star turn belongs to Grey Garrett as Judy Garland. She’s magnetic and magnificent, even better than she was as the character in “Beyond the Rainbow.” The chorus works hard, but is often out of sync. Director Justin Amellio has created moments of fun, but not much dramatic momentum (partially hindered by the choppy shallow script). Also, having the company constantly move the piano and frequently swivel the set panels was a distraction. Frank Foster’s set was passable, but lacked a cohesive design. Michael Jarett’s lights were effective. D. Mark Souza’s created period campy, colorful and fun costumes (just wish Chris hadn’t worn that V-neck T that often showed under his low-button shirts).

 

THE POINT: The show has momentum and some strong elements, but Chris Hester’s performance didn’t feel genuine or dazzling enough to make this “Boy” sing.

 

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

At Richmond Triangle Players thru 7/16

 

LISTEN TO MY REVIEW (as aired on WRIR)

 

 

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Grey Garrett, Chris Hester, Anna Grey Hogan (Photos by John MacLellan)

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