I highly recommend "I’m Just Wild About Harry," at Crown City Theatre. 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 91602
Featuring Music Adapted by William A. Reilly
Additional Lyrics by Gary Lamb
Christmas is a time when we all reflect on the past. We revisit our memories, our collective history and our own mythologies and traditions. We return to a time in our lives when family, love and a more innocent and simple way of living brings us the kind of joy that can only exist once a year in the holidays.
Michael J. Marchak as Jack, Michael Mullen as Babberley and David Jubala as Harry
So, it’s become a tradition of mine to see as many NoHo Christmas shows as I can over the holidays, and this year I was particularly fortunate that Crown City Theatre went all out with their “I’m Just Wild About Harry" musical extravaganza.
Set at the turn of last century in Milwaukee, "I’m Just Wild About Harry" follows the chaotic and hilarious exploits of two college roommates, Harry and Jack, as they attempt to propose to their sweethearts without causing a scandal. Included in the farce is their fabulous friend Benjamin Babberley who they persuade to impersonate Jack’s rich widowed Aunt visiting from Brazil to ensure their celebratory luncheon is a success. Their plan is of course torn asunder by the sudden appearance of Harry’s father, their intendeds' evil uncle and Jack’s actual Aunt…wonderful stuff!
Michael Mullen as Benjamin Babberley
The action is littered with classic musical hall songs (many of which I had great difficulty not signing along to!) such as "Daisy Bell," "You Made Me Love You," and many, many more. It’s a caper, a joyous romp through wonderful, familiar songs, and silly situations all set around romances, both new and rekindled.
The center of the show really is the Grande Damme, the classic English drag performance of Micheal Mullen. He did a splendid job with the delightful and flirtatious aunt, and the kind pal Babberly getting himself into ever increasing circles of awkwardness, much to the entertainment of us all. But everyone is really brilliant in this show, fantastic vocals, lighthearted and delightful performances, all mixed together with a reverence for the farcical.
Michelle Holmes as Dona Lucia and Renee Cohen as Ida
I adored the honesty of this play, not trying to be clever, or shocking us with 21st-century references as if we need to feel anchored to our present. "I’m Just Wild About Harry" is a lovely echo of a time gone by, plays from a century or more ago, sweet and charming and full of fun. A perfect remedy for the digital dramas of our lives, Crown City yet again offers us an alternative version of an evening out - less cynical, more gentle and as always, very, very entertaining.
Renee Cohen as Ida, Michelle Holmes as Dona Lucia, Amy Segal as Katy and Jolie Adamson as Margie
Playing: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm
December 15th - February 26th
Michael Marchak - Jack Chesney
David Jurbala - Harry Whitman
Christina Rose - Margie
Amy Segal - Katie
Jolie Adamson - Margie
Sarah Beth Comfort - Katie
Michelle Holmes - Donna Lucia
Ryan Thor - Frank Chesney
Renee Cohen - Ida
Michael Mullen - Babberley
Kristian Steel - Guido Spettigue
BEHIND THE SCENES:
Director - Bill Reilly
Co-Director/Choreographer - Lisaun Whittingham
Assistant Director - Rolando J. Vargas
Costume Design - Tanya Apuya
Lighting Design - Zad Potter
Sound Design - Lucas Dunwoody
Production Stage Manager - Zad Potter
House Manager - Michael Pammit
Producers/Artistic Directors for Crown City - Gary Lamb and Bill Reilly