J. A. Di Bello’s Review of Crazy for You

August 16, 2017

Forestburgh Playhouse


I got rhythm, I got music, I got my man

For those who crave the sights, sounds and kick-ass sass of a Broadway Musical, Tuesday’s opening night performance of Crazy for You is a wish come true.  It’s the Gershwin criteria! A clarion horn, if you will, that states unequivocally, “This is the mark by which all others will be measured.”  It’s hard to ask for a greater display of talent and hard-work pizzazz than The Forestburgh Playhouse’s current production of George and Ira Gershwin’s Crazy for You.


Essentially, Crazy is a musical that uses the circumstances of a romantic comedy to deliver its multiple delights. The elements of a stage comedy: boy loves girl, mistaken identity and a looming tragedy, in this case a theatre in the initial steps of foreclosure converge on Forestburgh’s mainstage.  The winner of the 1992 Tony Award for Best Musical, the show includes “songs from several other productions as well.”  Beginning with the an exceptional, classic overture that welcomed the nearly standing-room–only house to an evening of overwhelming joy, rewarded by a standing ovation at Finale.  This audience was ecstatic!

The stage and costume design for this stellar production is of particular importance.  Ashleigh Poteat’s wide and varied background has placed her in a position to know and design creative and functional attire for dancers whose freedom of ease and movement is essential.  Also, along the line of design, the set created by Dalyn Boyd is effective (looks good) and efficient (allows for well-organized scene changes).    

On the main stage, Darien Crago’s masterful interpretation and delivery of Polly, the female lead, is straight from Broadway.  She beautifully displays that sometimes elusive vocal characteristic that results in a strong, rich tone. Though appearing to be slight, she leaves the impression she’s ardently capable of belting.  And since this show’s all about Broadway singing and dancing, she takes a prize as a lead dancer, adding strength to the multiple tap routines that enhance the energy level of this show.

To add a traditional touch of spice to a tumultuous love story is Jennifer Evans as an aggressive Irene Roth.  Jennifer, a veteran of the stage, appeared as a memorable Maria in the Forestburgh production of West Side Story.  The one who caused this writer to dismiss the adolescent recollection of Carol Lawrence’s performance at the Winter Garden.  As a highly skilled vocalist and dancer, Jennifer is an impressive addition to the narrative’s amorous conflict, especially the scene with Lank, vibrantly played by Ian Laudano, who just completed a stellar role as Conrad Birdie.  And as love stories tend to be, there are Christopher Rice as Bobby Child and Daniel Heines as Bela Zangler.   Each was a particularly impressive suitor but became even more impressive    as they worked their way through a hilarious mirror routine in a Nevada saloon.

The young men and women of the Resident Comany (Resco) can not be given a sufficient amount of credit and recognition for their work this summer.  True it is, they carried Newsies through to rave reviews and well deserved audience recognition, and in this production it was their combined presence on stage with the principals that generated the dynamics that filled the playhouse Tuesday night. And Annalise Griswold, who all remember as the most audacious screamer in the Catskills, was again notable.   And for the sake of extraordinary dance take note of Dan Maldonado (the principal in Newsies), Jullio Rey, Tia Karaplis, Annie Hunt and Courtney Hausman. 

To add just one more snippet of enjoyment and gratification to a wonderful evening, it would be remiss not to mention the Cabaret, the early bird pre-show Cabaret -Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and a night owl cabaret - Fridays and Saturdays.  Not only is the food diligently and expertly prepared by the Tavern’s own Culinary Cutie, Executive Chef, Jilln Padua, but the outstanding Cabaret, thematically tied to the current mainstage production is presented by none other than the never-to-be-upstaged Resco!

Who could ask for anything more?

Crazy for You will continue to shine at the Forestburgh Playhouse through Sunday August 27.  Tickets and additional information are available through the box office at (845) 794-1194, or online www.forestburghplayhouse.com

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