What an exciting inauguration for Porchlight’s 19th season of quality musical theatre! Bob and Jim Walton, real-life brothers who know Broadway first-hand, crafted this high octane two-actor tribute to Hollywood’s Golden Era for themselves. Credit Artistic Director extraordinaire, Michael Weber, for bringing this rollicking musical farce to Chicago and employing the super, multitalented Matthew Crowle to direct and choreograph this fast-paced piece, and brilliant Linda Madonia to musical direct. In addition, the very gifted Aguilar brothers, Adrian and Alexander, both Broadway caliber triple threats, take on the roles of Bobby and Jimmy Walton, as well as a troupe of other quirky characters.
In 1941 a pair of talented New York siblings catch their big break to write the hit song for a Hollywood musical, currently in production. Once in their new studio office they have only a few hours to accomplish this task and satisfy the studio head, the director and the leading lady. But the real reason to see this animated production isn’t so much the story as it is the skilled artistry and unbelievable teamwork provided by this ensemble of actors and technicians. Both Adrian and Alex mine every ounce of humor, character schtick and musicality from this play, not only creating multiple roles, but sometimes taking turns playing the same character.
But as skilled as they are, they couldn’t accomplish their quick changes without Alexia Rutherford’s and Kevin Barthel’s terrific breakaway costumes and stylish wigs, as well as a small backstage army of helping hands. Crowle’s sharp direction and breezy choreography keeps the show moving while still allowing audiences time to enjoy every bad pun and hokey comic bit. Ms. Madonia’s musical direction and three-piece offstage combo accompanies perfectly. And Jeffrey D. Kmiec’s actor-friendly period set not only looks great but accommodates the breakneck speed with which this musical proceeds. This show is simply a dual delight.