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Musical Review: You'll Go Nuts for "Crazy For You"

Webster and Ciborowski Steal the Show in Current MTG Production

By Parama Pal Crazy for You

MIT Musical Theatre Guild

Produced by J. Michael Stern

Directed by Nicolina A. Akraboff '07

With Timothy I. Abrahamsen '06, Carlos Cardenas '09, Matthew A. Ciborowski '08, Danbee Kim '09, Janet S. Lieberman '07

Kresge Little Theater

Sept. 1-2, 7-9, 14-16 at 8pm; Sept. 3 at 2pm

$3 incoming MIT students;

$6 MIT/WC students; $9 MIT community, senior citizens, students; $12 general public

There may be times when you want something new and different, maybe something that's going to make you think hard, or possibly change your life. Mostly, though, you just want to curl up with something familiar and savor its easy comfort. MTG's newest musical production, "Crazy For You," was made with the latter sentiment in mind. "Crazy For You" is based on the belief that you can create a worthwhile work by taking all the best Gershwin songs and putting them into one feel-good musical package.

The musical ran for four years on Broadway, winning a Tony its first year out. "Crazy For You" capitalizes on the simple premise of boy meets girl, boy falls in love, boy messes it up and spends the rest of the show trying to win girl back. Bobby Child (Timothy I. Abrahamsen '06), a New York City playboy in the 1930s, travels to Nevada to foreclose on an old theatre. He finds himself in a bind when he falls head over heels for Polly Baker (Janet S. Lieberman '07), whose father just happens to own the theatre he's shutting down. After being immediately rejected by Polly when she discovers his identity, he decides to pretend he's the famous director Bela Zangler (Carlos Cardenas '09) instead. The result is comedic confusion as he tries to save the theatre and win Polly's heart. Throw into the mix his overbearing mother Lottie (Amanda L. Giermann G), his devilishly acerbic fianc e Irene (Kaitlyn Webster), and saloon owner Lank Hawkins (Matthew A. Ciborowski '08), who's got his own plans for Polly, and you've got the makings of a great show.

This work was obviously quite an undertaking for MTG. "Crazy For You" has more than the usual share of dancing, not to mention live music and comedy. With so many demands on them, the cast did an admirable job. The orchestra was amazing — never once did it overpower the singers, yet still managed to hold its own and showcase Gershwin's music.

Though the performance I attended got off to a rocky start, everything came together by the last quarter. Lieberman's performance as Polly was beautiful — she sang with perfect timing and pitch, and her acting was excellent. Abrahamsen is also obviously a charismatic actor, as well as an amazing dancer; he could have improved upon his singing, however, as he often went off-key. The showgirls, in their turn, were delightfully ditzy, while the cowboys had a great sense of comedic timing – their rendition of "Bidin' My Time" was priceless.

Set design seemed to improve through the play as well; the subtle use of the curtain during one scene to highlight Polly and Bobby while they sang was a nice touch. The lighting and choreography were also quite impressive.

While Abrahamsen and Lieberman played the main characters, Webster and Ciborowski stole the show as Irene and Lank. Their acting was so good that everything else on stage seemed somehow less important when they were around. They represented their characters believably despite the fact that their characters were inherently over the top.

One thing to note is that the performance is very long. The musical took nearly three hours, so I'd suggest grabbing dinner beforehand. All in all, though, even a hungry person can tell that MTG handles this multifaceted piece well. The classic American music provides a comforting break from the stresses of daily life, and the ending left me smiling.