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Grove Street Wannabees: Circle of Love

Book by Brian Saxe
Produced and directed by Brian Saxe
Musical direction by Martin St. Lawrence
Choreographer Amy Milano
Spotlight On Winter Theatre Festival 2002
Raw Space Theatre L
Equity showcase (closed)
Review by John Chatterton

The Grove Street Wannabees, a Spotlight On fixture, feature big casts, lots of dancing, some comedy sketches, and lots and lots of songs from previous eras. This latest incarnation was no exception, with the emphasis on the songs.

The theme was the five stages of modern romance: being single, falling in love, marriage, getting divorced, and being single again. Literally dozens of songs (far too long a list to repeat here) covered every conceivable base, with equal opportunity matter-of-factly given to gay romance, too. (In particular, David Josefssohn's thread as a gay character offered several chances for him to shine in a variety of songs.) Nicole Moeller, also assistant choreographer, showed off outstanding dancing talent, in "Whatever Lola Wants" as well as chorus numbers. The general level of singing and dancing in the cast of 16 ranged from solid to outstanding. The choreography seemed to be aimed to the lowest common denominator of the cast's terpsichorean abilities.

The comic monologues by Michael Somerville, wittily cast as a bartender for the singles segment and then as a judge in the divorce segment, provided much-needed comic relief to an endless parade of bits of songs that began to prove tiring by evening's end. Some of the other comic material fell flatter, especially when involving material of a coarser nature than the rest of the show -- not because it was in bad taste (much theatre is), but because it was cut from a different piece of artistic cloth.

The costumes were constantly in flux, as performers left the stage, jumped into new clothes, and re-entered: mostly a kaleidoscope of brightly colored items appropriate to the numbers. The lighting (Jim Stewart) was more successful for this show than the other two shows reviewed in Theatre L, as it got to show off the cabaret strengths of the rep. plot.

Also featuring Lara Buck, Danielle Gerardo, Roger Hanson, Steven Morgan, Nathanael Reimer, Brad Thomason, Amy Lynn Zanetto, Melissa Ciesla, Valerie Gilbert, Beau Hauser, Patricia Overly, Will Woodrow, Betsie Becker.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 1
Musical Directing: 2
Choreography: 1
Performing: 1
Set: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2002 John Chatterton