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Switching the Script

The New Harlequins Production of Crazy for You

Will Payne

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From: broadwaymusichome.com

For many years, productions by Harlequins have been a  staple in  the fine arts community at Saint Ignatius, with performances like, The Great Gatsby, Shrek, and The   Little Mermaid. This year, they have  decided to go outside the box and choose the musical, Crazy for You.
Set in the 1930s, the plot revolves around two main characters,  Bobby Child  and Polly   Baker. Bobby is an unsuccessful actor who works as a banker, but he wants to branch out in  order to pursue his acting career away from home. He receives an opportunity from the bank to   go to the town of Deadrock, Nevada and he jumps at the chance.

In Deadrock, he meets Polly Baker, the town heartthrob whose father owns a failing   theater.   In order to save the theater, Bobby decides to bring some of his friends from  New   York City to put on a show to save the venue. Throughout the play, conflict between the two   main characters creates a riveting storyline coupled with brilliant singing and dancing.
Crazy for You is a unique musical that has been performed on Broadway. Winner of the   1992 Tony Award for Best Musical, and several other accolades within the world of fine arts, composer George Gershwin created the energetic soundtrack that was the backbone of the play. Mr. Bellie, the director of Harlequins, touched on the reason why the music of  Gershwin was important in the selection of  this play, he  said, “[ Crazy  for You ] is actually a  newer musical, written in the late 1990s, but it utilizes all Gershwin music from the early part  of the 20th century. Even though it feels like a classic musical, it really is a modern musical at   the same time. It gave us a different end of the spectrum, and I think it’s imperative that students   learn the classics.”

Along with the influence of  Gershwin, Crazy for You differs from other Ignatius   productions because throughout the castings for characters, there was an alternate emphasis on   what was looked for in the auditioning actors and actresses. When asked about the casting, Mr.   Bellie said, “Normally we start with: can you sing in a musical? And then how well you can act,   and maybe we think about dance, third depending on the show. For this show, we looked at dance first, vocals second and acting   third.”   The focus on the dancing aspect of this show   will definitely display some of  the varying talents the members of Harlequins have.

Looking toward the future of the productions for Harlequins, the performance of Crazy   for   You  has broken the recent trend at Ignatius of  Disney plays, and other well known   productions. When asked about why they chose this particular play and the productions that   will be put on in the upcoming years, Mr. Bellie said,   “I always try to find a challenge for the   students each year. In the case of Shrek, it was to perform a new musical, a creative rock  musical. Then for Mary  Poppins, it was classic musical theater, and then for The Little   Mermaid it was for the  design and the elements for our student designers and crews. For this   one, it’s more about dance and the idea of classic musical theater. Next year we may do  something completely different, I expect we will. I always try to vary the musicals so we’re   learning a new lesson about a new genre.”
Overall, it seems as though the Harlequins are constantly trying to challenge their   actors, actresses, and designers by doing different plays every season that  require varying   talents. From the viewpoint of the average consumer, this is  ideal as everytime I walk into the   McLaughlin Theater on opening night, I am treated to a showcase of the multitude of talents on   display from the Harlequins.

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