Prince William Little Theatre BabyBy Laura & Mike Clark • Feb 12th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Prince William Little Theatre
Hylton Performing Arts Center-Merchant Hall, Manassas, VA
Through February 19th
2:30 with one intermission
Reviewed February 10th, 2012
Baby is a musical with book by Sybille Pearson, music by David shire, and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr. Three couples are in different stages of life’s journey. Two of the couples find they are pregnant while a third couple is having problems getting pregnant. This is a touching look at one of life’s most natural processes.
Arlene and Alan (Annie Ermlick and Darren Marquardt) are recent empty nesters who have just sent their last daughter off to college. They are looking forward to getting to know each other again when Arlene discovers she is pregnant. Both Ermlick and Marquardt show a wide range of believable emotions on their roller coaster including shock, happiness, and despair as they await baby #4. Ermlick and Marquardt also had strong vocal skills that could be heard well when singing or talking.
The second couple Pam and Nick have been married for a time and are ready to start a family. Played by Meredith Ford and Joshua Wilson, the two run into initial joy followed by the sorrow. Ford and Wilson were probably the funniest of all the couple’s as at times their sense of humor was the only thing keeping them going. The two showed strength in their relationship, and created a nice couple that the audience could identify with.
The last couple were two college kids who moved in together off-campus and then found out they were going to have a new roommate. Lizzie and Danny were the youngest couple, but also the most hopeful. Played by Becca Harney and Jason Frye, the couple faced their share of ups and downs, yet through it all they had love to get them through. Although the hardest to hear at times, they too exhibited strong emotions and Harney performed all of her songs with passion.
The ensemble portrayed a wide range of characters, including softball players, a realtor, a doctor, and well intentioned nosy women, and made for good balance as they carried on and off set pieces smoothly with little noise. However, when the ensemble sang with the three couples, it was quite difficult to discern who was singing the brief solo lines, leading to a few songs that were more confusing than advancing the story.
The orchestra, conducted by Milton Rodgers, kept up the pace and allowed the scenes to move along. Director Susy Moorstein also designed the costumes, which were well chosen for each of the couples. Arlene and Alan were more upscale as befit a settled family. Pam and Nick were conservative and comfortable while Lizzie and Danny were the most free-thinking and had the fewest resources, resulting in a grab bag look to their costumes. Danny’s dark look was a nice contrast to Lizzie’s colorful shoes. The set was four separate playing areas, a room in each couple’s home and a large space downstage that served as many other places.
The only negative of this production would be some serious sound issues. There were times when the mics were left on and you could hear actors talking back stage, while other times heavy breathing could be heard from someone’s microphone positioned too closely to their mouth. Finally the ever popular mic going out altogether happened a few times, forcing the actors to work a bit harder so they could be heard in the large performing space. This was an unfortunate distraction, but this is also live theater. Stuff happens.
With only mic issues to mar it, Prince William Little Theatre’s presentation of the rarely-produced Baby is well worth the price of admission.
Photos by Cana Wade/Dave Warner
- Arlene: Annie Ermlick
- Alan: Darren Mrquadt
- Pam: Meredith Ford
- Nick: Joshua Wilson
- Lizzie: Becca Harney
- Danny: Jason Frye
- Ensemble: Ken Adams, Dan Bellotte, Chrissy Janoski, Larry Keeling, Tina Mullins, Caelan Ryberg, Cana Wade
- Director: Susy Moorstein
- Producer: Susy Moorstein
- Musical Director: Milton Rogers
- Choreographer: Chrissy Janowski
- Production Assistant: Mary-Anne Sullivan & Dave Warner
- Stage Manager: Becca Jackson
- Set Design: Susy Moorstein
- Set Construction: Dave Warner
- Lighting Design: Stacey King
- Light Board Operator: Lisa Johnston
- Sound Design: Dave Warner & Tom Nichols
- Costume Design: Susy Moorstein
- Hair and Make-Up: Mary-Anne Sullivan
- Properties Coordinator: Candi Baker & Cast
- Running Crew: Ashley Stewert & Megan Stewart
- Publicity: Don Wilson, Sandra Schillinger, Cana Wade & Dave Warner
- Musical Conductor: Milton Rodgers
- Piano/Keyboard: Lynn Jost
- Guitar: Bill Schillinger
- Drums: Marie Juliano
- Violins: Carolyn Farley and Gail Sander
- Cello: Dee Notto
- Bass: Herb Tax
- Flute: Jessie Scalph
- Wind Instuments: Ken Farley
- French Horns: Wendy Martin-Shuma & Al Badrow
- Trumpet: Dave Shuma
Disclaimer: Prince William Little Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. Laura and Mike have each worked with many of the cast and crew of this production over the past few years.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/7642.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.