Neighbourhood gets funky
KEYSTONE – Who needs big-city theater when we have such great talent in our little mountain towns?
The folks at the Keystone Neighbourhood Company finally asked themselves that question, and, after hiring a theater group from Denver last summer to perform at the Park Lane Pavilion, they decided to look in their own backyard for this summer’s entertainment.
The Lake Dillon Theatre proved its talent with its last inspiring musical, “And the World Goes ‘Round.” Now it’s hitting the high notes at Keystone with “Songs for a New World.”
The musical revue, written by Jason Robert Brown (of “Parade” fame), is a collection of loosely related tunes ranging from gospel and funk to character work and ballads.
It stars Kelly Renoux, Chris Alleman and Josh Blanchard – three veterans who shone in “And the World Goes ‘Round.” Visiting performers Melanie Bell and Amie Duffy round out the cast.
The Lake Dillon Foundation for the Performing Arts hired Bell and Duffy to teach the intensive summer theater class and choreograph and help direct the children’s production of “Babe, the Sheep Pig.”
Bell’s aptly named because her voice is as clear as a bell in the solos, duets and group numbers she sings in the musical. She lives in Dallas and graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in theater.
Duffy makes her living as a full-time performer in New York City, where she just completed a run of “Chess.” She belts out “Christmas Lullaby” and adds layers of beautiful harmonies in group numbers.
Sixteen eclectic songs make up the musical revue, with various versions of “A New World,” ranging from melodic to marching, linking the tunes.
Alleman leads the soulful spiritual “On the Deck of a Ship, 1492,” followed by Duffy’s portrayal of a comically pathetic women who threatens to jump off the ledge of a building, while her husband, Murray, apparently doesn’t care – even when she lets out a long, fake yell in the hope he’ll run to the window.
Blanchard gets down with a funky version of “The River Won’t Flow,” infusing it with his easy going, charming mannerisms. The rest of the cast adds strength to an already entertaining rendition.
Act One ends with Alleman wailing in “Steam Train,” a jazzy, upbeat tune that builds into a group harmony.
Bell portrays Mrs. Claus as you’ve never seen her, ruining her reputation as a sweet, supportive spouse. Claus is a fiery character who chews out her husband for constantly watching “Miracle on 34th Street” and playing God by deciding who is naughty and nice.
Duffy softens the mood with a soaring rendition of “Christmas Lullaby,” and Renoux and Blanchard follow up with “I’d Give It All for You,” a romantic ballad of longing.
One of the last songs in the second act is an inspiring song called “Flying Home,” which shows off the talent of the cast.
“Songs for A New World” opens at 7:30 p.m. today and runs every Wednesday through Aug. 20 at the Park Lane Pavilion in River Run. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased by calling (970) 513-9386.
Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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