fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,


I went to Signature Theatre this afternoon to see Showboat, postponed from last week due to the snow. This production has gotten a lot of attention, partly because Signature is such an important theatre company but mostly because of the scaled down production, including new orchestration by Jonathan Tunick which uses only 15 musicians. The lack of a full-up riverboat set has caused some wags to refer to the show as "No Boat."

I'm pleased to say that the quality of the acting and the singing made the show worth seeing. Will Gartshore made Gaylord Ravenal a more complex character than just the cad he is often played as. Terry Burrell was an excellent Julie, especially in her performance of "Bill" in the second act. This production still kept Julie's decline as a problem or am I the only person who has ever wondered what happened to Steve? He's devoted enough to pull the "drop of blood" trick, so his disappearance after taking Julie away has never made sense.

But I was talking about the performances and I particularly want to note the charm that Bobby Smith (a local favorite) brought to the role of Frank. And Harry A. Winter was excellent as Cap'n Andy, with outstanding comic timing. Delores King Williams as Queenie is also worth noting, especially as the role was larger than it often is, thanks to the inclusion of "Mis'ry Comin' Aroun" and "Queenie's Ballyhoo," both of which are often omitted. I think there was also more attention to the relationship between Queenie and Joe than in other productions I've seen, so VaShawn McIlwain had something to do besides singing "Ol' Man River." He was competent at that, but I have to admit to having an odd bias about how song is supposed to sound since my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Bilash, sang it every Friday afternoon.

Overall, I enjoyed seeing this and would recommend it to people who can enjoy a more intimate production without some of the spectacle and fancy scenery.
Tags: musicals, theatre

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