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T.S. Wootton My Favorite Year

By • Apr 14th, 2008 • Category: Cappies

There once was a time when elegant movie stars in well-cut suits and evening gowns sashayed through big cities, when TV variety shows rehashed tried and true gags, and America thrived on a rare breed of optimism. This was the 50s, and the setting of My Favorite Year.

My Favorite Year, based on the 1982 movie by the same name, debuted on Broadway in 1992 to mixed reviews. The musical chronicles a few days in the life of an ambitious young writer with a penchant for movies, Benjy Stone (Jonathan Lowey) who is left in charge of his favorite movie star, Alan Swann (Keith Schwartz). As he struggles to keep Swann out of trouble, Stone catches a glimpse behind the glamour of the movie business.

Jonathan Lowey perfectly captured the naiveté of his character. He had impressive versatility – moving from childishness with his mother to a surprising masculinity with the object of his affections, KC (Jessica Futran).

Keith Schwartz mastered the style of old Hollywood glamour and swagger, and is to be commended for his deep baritone, which he maintained throughout the entire show.

Katina Kempel starred as Alice, a comedian struggling to finally seize the stage for herself. Her fantastic sense of comic timing, matched with her expressive hands and a variety of vocal tricks, had the audience in stitches.

Other characters included KC, with mellifluous vocals and an impressive range. Another stand out performer was Mattia D’Affuso. Though silent for almost the entire play, D’Affuso earned laughs with his period-appropriate physical humor, from leading with his legs or giving an exaggerated eyebrow raise. He delivered his sole line – “Cat got your tongue?” – with fantastic timing.

At times, the ensemble pieces lacked coordination, but overall, the cast maintained an infectious energy without falling into clichés, and fantastic harmonies. Though there were some sound issues, lighting was – pardon the pun – spot on, and scene changes were quick and flawless. The student orchestra was phenomenal, managing to sound great without overpowering the actors.

Overall, T.S. Wootton is to be praised for taking a Broadway flop and making it a high school hit.

by Ana Olson of Madeira

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