LIFE COULD BE A DREAM presented by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati through May 20. You can read the show description here.
For DREAM, director D. Lynn Meyers has filled the cast with outstanding young talent. The four crooners that make up Denny and the Dreamers include Nick Laughlin as Denny, James Oblak as Skip, Will Selnick as Wally, and Lee Slobotkin as Eugene. Rounding out the cast is Cassie Levine as Lois.
Vocally the men are very strong, and nail the sound of the period with solid harmonies and solos. Levine, the object of the boys’ attention, has a strong voice as well, but I did feel she pushed a little too hard on a few of her solos, bringing a brassy quality to her voice that didn’t mesh with the background vocals. Performance wise, Lee Slobotkin stands out as nebbish Eugene, bringing great energy and personality to the role.
Visually the wood-paneled and tile-floored finished-basement worked well as the backdrop for most of the action (set design by Brian c. Mehring, properties by Shannon Rae Lutz). My guess would be that some of the clutter under the basement steps included selected props from recent ETC productions. The costumes (designed by Reba Senske) and Patti James’ choreography completed the look of the era.
DREAM seems to have a bit more of a book than the WONDERETTES outings and falls a little flat due to its predictability. The cast sounded so good though (thanks to music director Scot Woolley), that I would not have minded another song or three in the short second act.
Overall, for fans of doo-wop or fans of ETC’s recent productions of THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES/WINTER WONDERETTES, odds are good you’ll enjoy the (mostly) boys’ turn in LIFE COULD BE A DREAM.
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