Editor's note: The following article was submitted by The Cappies, an organization that trains high school students as theatre critics.
by Miranda Tower, West Springfield High School
It wasn’t just the cast members’ feet that were taping during Westfield’s production of Crazy for You, but the entire audiences’ feet as well! Attempting a show with perhaps more dance complexities than any other that a high school could choose, gave a valiant effort in performing a show which demands each cast member to be a star in their own right.
With music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin and a book by Ken Ludwig, Crazy for You opened on Broadway in 1992. In this upbeat and romance filled musical, aspiring actor Bobby Child is instructed by his overbearing banker mother to leave New York for a worn out town, aptly named Deadrock, Nevada, in order to foreclose on the Gaiety Theater. However, as fate would have it, Bobby falls madly in love with the sassy, spunky Polly Baker, daughter of Everett Baker, the man who owns the theater. From there, countless antics ensue as the story is constantly pushed along by a fabulous troupe of performing Follies Girls and a trio of outrageous cowboys.
Portraying Bobby Child, absolutely stole the show. His leading man swagger and massive stage presence did not falter throughout the show. From flawless tap dancing, to back flips and toe touches, Dezelick’s numbers were a sheer joy for the audience, who ate up everything he did on stage. Bobby Child’s foe turned friend, Bela Zangler, played by Joey Biagini, was another treat for audience members with his hilarious accent and impeccable comedic timing. Perhaps one of the best highlights of the show was Dezelick and Biagini’s performance of “What Causes That” as perfect mirror images of one another. This number clearly reflected how much effort, and ultimately joy, Westfield High School invested in this show.
While at times the ensemble seemed a little insincere, for the most part they performed with high energy that helped greatly to enhance the show. Tackling a show with such elaborate dance numbers comes with inherent risks, particularly at the high school level, but the ensembles’ constant attention to detail and apparent love of theatre left virtually nothing to be desired. The Cowboy Trio added another dose of hilarity to a show already filled with perhaps more puns than any other!
The lighting design, by Ben Nelms and Robert Palack, was frankly outstanding. Far exceeding most high school technical crews, the two worked wonders to add flawlessly executed lighting to an already enjoyable show. In particular, the lighting during “Slap That Bass” was superb and added an air of professionalism to a number already filled with very gifted performers.
Ultimately, Westfield confronted a show with a great deal of challenges with heart, pizzazz, and dancing that was pleasantly advanced for a large cast high school show. With all of these positive aspects, the audience forgave any minor mistakes, because after all, “who could ask for anything more?”