Our Most Recent Reviews
Fiddler on the Roof
By Bart Soeder
There are very few musicals as immediately recognizable as Fiddler on the Roof. Since it debuted on Broadway in 1964, countless schools, churches and community theaters have tried their hand at reviving this classic. In this latest effort by Waterville Playshop, Michael Barlos-in his directorial debut for Playshop-has collected a marvelous cast and guided them quite skillfully to bring all the requisite emotion to the performance.
Some of my favorite moments are Tevye’s private conversations with God. With his regular pronouncements of “on the one hand” and “on the other hand”, it is easy to find yourself really empathizing with the internal struggle Tevye endures. Mark portrays him gracefully as a man with great tenderness and a touch of humor.
The three eldest daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava-played by Katie Trumbull, Adelle Blauser and Elizabeth Stuart respectively- are all eager to find husbands and implore the “Matchmaker” to help them find the perfect match. The girls sing beautifully and are clearly having fun together. Speaking of the matchmaker, Kim Baranek plays Yente and brings her usual excellent comedic timing to the role.
Another humorous highlight of the performance is “The Dream”. Tevye’s frenetic energy is matched only by the scolding Grandma Tzeitel played by Cyndy Brookover and the wonderfully booming voice of Fruma Sarah, played by Cayla Cale.
There are too many other noteworthy parts of this performance to cover them all here but the chorus deserves mention for their efforts. They did an excellent job reacting to the action of the main characters, helping to keep the audience focused on what was happening. Matt Zwyer and his orchestra pit did a remarkable job with musical accompaniment and the sound and light crew did well.
The beauty of Fiddler on the Roof is the mingling of humor, sadness and ultimate optimism for an unknown future through the story and the music. There is a timelessness to the story that makes it especially relevant today. It is difficult not to appreciate the connection of the displacement of those in the story with the mass exodus of people from their homes in war torn areas today.
Michael Barlos and his collection of cast and crew competently brought this classic musical to life for yet another appreciative audience. Thank you.
High School Musical
BY CHRISTI KING (Spotlight Studio – Director)
Disney and high school are a staple of most children’s lives making it a perfect paring for the theatrical stage. When entering the lobby of the Maumee Indoor Theatre the audience was transported back in time to the buzzing and vibrant halls of high school. Class pictures hung on the walls, the lines for concession were reminiscent of the school cafeteria and the crowds of people rushing around talking about who’s who set the atmosphere for The Waterville Playshop’s rendition of ‘High School Musical.’
This story is a classic bubblegum version of boy meets girls. Pretty Brainiac Gabriella, played by Erin Ripley, meets basketball jock Troy Bolton, played by Jonathan Crawford, and they fall for each other against all social odds. Having met over the summer they find they have a mutual love for singing that bonds them tightly together and in the end their cliques together. Erin Ripley had a beautiful and sweet singing voice that lent itself to the authenticity of her character and Jonathan Crawford played the part of the basketball jock to cool and confidant perfection. The innocence of young high school love was awkward and believable. The hysterical paring of siblings Sharpay Evans, played by Elizabeth Stuart, and Ryan Evans, played by Trevor Gill-Snow, carried the magical campy feeling of the show. The message for everyone to find what makes you happy and to stay true to yourself resonates with all ages.
The two story set design was amazing and built depth to an otherwise very shallow stage. Using the stage buildout around the orchestra pit and the theatre isles made for a truly interactive audience experience. The costuming was simple and cute as if it was taken right out of the hallways of any high school. The strong cast carried the peppy music through the audience despite some sporadic microphone issues from the lead characters.
What a great community performance from Waterville Playshop.
BY EMILY REMAKLUS
When a group of kids come onstage dressed as elves, even Scrooge would have a difficult time not smiling. Elf Jr. was charming, sweet, and an excellent reminder to keep the Christmas spirit alive year round.
A musical focused on Christmas may seem out of place for a June day; however, during the hour long production I completely forgot that it was an 85-degree evening in Ohio, and was so pleased to be transported to New York City in December.
The production required many scene changes, and each transition was seamless and quick. It was apparent that there was a clear communication between the lighting booth and the set crew throughout the performance, which lead to wonderful transitions between scenes……..
Faith in America Review
Review of “Faith in America: The Story of Our Nation’s Songbook” by Kate Hoover
“Faith in America” was the final show in the Waterville Playshop season was
performed at Zion Lutheran Church, May 19-22. This wonderful patriotic show was both written and conceived by Matt Zwyer in honor of the veterans of all wars and true patriots of America. The show provided a remarkable lesson in America’s military history, as well as highlighting some of our most important nation’s moments both sorrowful and proud. This fantastic show included many of America’s favorite standards,
traditional hymns, and new classics for the audience to become entranced with
throughout the 1 ½ hour program…….
Into the Woods Review
Stray from the path to Maumee and get thankfully lost in The Waterville Playshop’s enchanting, enjoyable production of Into the Woods.
Into the Woods is a delightfully witty and moving reshaping of some favorite fairy tales, expanded into a parable about the darkness that often shadows life. It’s a daunting prospect, with a cast of 20, multiple sets and a structure that’s really two musicals in one.
The first act, running about 90 minutes, is a clever intertwining of familiar tales (mainly Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel) and one invented to tie them together (The Baker and His Wife), culminating in happy ever after. The second, shorter and terser, is a dark unraveling, bringing the few survivors to an ending more Grimm than happy. Not an easy task……..
Aladdin Jr. Review
A Magical Performance with Aladdin Jr.
REVIEWED BY EMILY REMAKLUS
When I was first asked to critique Aladdin Jr. I was really excited, but then I started to wonder how exactly I was supposed to critique a production that featured kids. Luckily after watching this production I realized I have nothing to worry about with writing a critique, because the show was wonderful. I always find shows that feature teens and children to be impressive. They give up a good part of their summer break from school to put all their attention and dedication into learning lines, dances, songs, and ultimately providing entertainment for the community.
With Aladdin Jr. it was obvious a lot of hard work was put into the show. Every single cast member, from the youngest to the oldest, were fully invested in their roles. From the very opening number of “Arabian Nights” I knew the cast was having a fun time. Their energy was contagious and I know I, as I’m sure many others experienced, could not stop smiling during the show.