Monday, December 9, 2013
By APRIL BOYLE
Deertrees' 75th anniversary year is now in full swing, and it's once again time for the Theatre Festival. The 12th annual event, which kicked off Aug. 3, features four musicals, performed over four weeks.
“Burt & Me”
WHERE: Deertrees Theatre and Cultural Center, 156 Deertrees Road, Harrison
DATE REVIEWED: Friday; continues through the 14th
CONTACT: 583-6747; www.deertreestheatre.org
Love was in the air Friday as patrons gathered under the nearly full moon at the picturesque Deertrees Theatre for "Burt & Me," the festival's second offering.
The one-act production -- written, produced, and directed by Larry McKenna -- spins the boy-meets-girl story of Joe and Lacey, using the music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was love at first sight for the audience Friday, as well.
McKenna has crafted an engaging musical that can't help but bring a smile to your face. The production flows, with playful dialogue and a jukebox-like playlist of familiar songs such as "Always Something There to Remind Me," "Do You Know The Way to San Jose," "Wishin' and Hopin'" and "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" to keep the story energized.
For this production, McKenna has cast Zack Jackson and Anabelle Garcia as Joe and Lacey, backed by Michael Hogan (Jerry), Jordi Wallen (Sally) and Dave Scheffler (George/Father DeJoseph).
The five brought a mesmerizing vitality to the stage Friday that was unshakable, even when technical sound issues reared up in the latter part of the performance.
As the main character, Jackson served as the play's narrator, remaining on stage for almost the entire evening. The multitalented performer played piano, sang, danced and charmed the audience with a boyish enthusiasm that was infectious.
Garcia complemented Jackson perfectly as Lacey. Her rich vocals beautifully highlighted the music of Bacharach and David.
Hogan was also a treat to hear soulfully singing the prominent musical numbers. He and Wallen brought a fun-loving sassiness to the production as Joe and Lacey's quirky best friends, providing just right amount of comic relief.
Both took on minor character roles, as well, and were a marvel to watch as they morphed their onstage personalities from cocky to geeky.
Scheffler nicely rounded out the cast as Joe's dad, George, and Father DeJoseph, Joe and Lacey's chorus instructor. His performance as George nicely added depth and warmth to the story line.
"Burt & Me" captures not only the exhilarating feelings of infatuation and young love, but also the love between father and son, and the bond between friends. McKenna cleverly uses a shared passion for the music of Bacharach and David to seamlessly tie it all together. The result is a fun and thoroughly entertaining production.
April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. She can be contacted at: