Author Archive for: ‘KedarAdour’

CARNIVAL! jumps off the stage at 42ndStreet Moon

CARNIVAL!: (1961) Musical. Music and Lyrics by Bob Merrill. Book by Michael Stewart. Directed by Greg MacKellan. 42nd Street Moon, Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94111. (415) 255–8207 or April 3 -2, 2013

Converting movies to stage musicals has been both highly successful as well as disastrous. The charming 1953 movie Lili, based on the novel Love of Seven Dolls by Paul Gallico was a huge hit. And why not, since it starred Leslie Caron, Mel Ferrer, Jean-Pierre Aumont and Kurt Kasner. The 1961 stage show, now called Carnival!, starred Anna Maria Alberghetti, James Mitchell, Kaye Ballard, Pierre Olaf and Jerry Orbach making his Broadway debut. In opened to rave reviews winning two Tony Awards.

Other notable names starred in the many road shows but it disappeared from the stage in the late 1970s until New York’s Encore series recently revived it with Anne Hathaway and Brian Stokes Mitchell. With such notable luminaries having filled the roles in the past, there must have been trepidation by Artistic Director in selecting his present cast.

If so it is not apparent with an equity cast filling the major roles. The stage story line follows the movie script where orphan Lili Daurier (charming diminutive Ashley Jarrett), a unsophisticated waif runs away to joint the “Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris.” After falling in love with Marco the Magnificent (Bill Olson) a lothario of the first order, she is given a part in his show as a supplement to the worldly Rosalie (seductive Dyan McBride) who just happens to be Marco’s live-in lover. After a disastrous (and hilarious) turn at her job, Lili is rudely dumped.

Never fear along comes puppeteer Paul Berthalet (the ubiquitous Ryan Drummond)  and his colleague Jacquot (Michael Doppe) to the rescue and Lili becomes a mainstay in their act with that features the puppets Carrot Top, Horrible Henry the walrus, Marguerite, and Reynardo the Fox. The signature tune from the movie, “Love Makes the World Go Round” gets a tear inducing rendition by Jarrett and the story is off to the races.

The opening scene involves an accordion rendition of  “Love Makes the World Go Round” before the lights come up full on the colorful set (Hector Zavala) that becomes filled with juggler/acrobats (Jordan Plutzer and Kyle Stoner) and a plethora of beauties dressed in gorgeous costumes (Moises Mora) who dance up a storm (Jayne Zaban) throughout the show.

Where “Love Makes the World Go Round” was the mainstay of the movie, Merrill has come up with other winners including “Her Face”, “She’s My Love”, “Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris”, “Mira” and the catchy “Yum, Ticky, Ticky, Tum, Tum.”

Although the matinee we attended was entertaining and expertly staged by MacKellan, the competent singing did not garner serious applause and the running time of two hours and 30 minutes taxed ones attention span.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

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