Get ready to tap your toes along with the beat as Infinity Theatre Company presents the tap-happy navy-crazy musical Dames At Sea. With all the high energy of a swinging lively night on Broadway this production is great for all ages with its fun-loving music, the epic tap routines and the cute romantic plot line taking place in 1942 at the peak of Broadway’s golden era.
Ruby arrives on Broadway just in time to make her very first break in a Broadway musical. The only problem is she’s up against superstar Mona Kent. She’s also tripped into love at first sight when a jolly sailor bold wanders into the theatre, and did I mention the theatre’s being knocked down and the producer is broke? What’s a girl to do when her big Broadway break gets jeopardized? Take the musical to sea, of course!
Director and Choreographer Randy Skinner creates a world of hopes and dreams come true in this fantastic production with all the fancy footwork you could ever hope for. Skinner’s tap routines are outstanding and leave the audience agog and agape with wonder at just how fast these dancers can really move their feet. This show is all about the tap. And with the skilled choreography of Skinner combined with the six talented performers in the cast it is a recipe for sensational.
Mona Kent (Kristie Kerwin) probably has the least amount of tap dance to her performance, but when she does get those feet moving it’s astonishing. Kerwin completes a routine at the beginning of the show that involves complex continuous spinning and it brings the audience to thunderous applause. Kerwin also captures the essence and attitude of the total Broadway Diva, from her snippy comments to her commanding presence on the stage she really knocks ‘em dead. And we see a saucier sassier side of Kerwin during “The Beguine” her duet with The Captain (Erick Buckley.) A true Broadway vixen with all the right claws to be the cat’s meow.
Playing opposite the prima donna is the sprightly little ingénue Ruby (Megan Kelley). Her bright eyed naïve optimism is a refreshing comparison to Kerwin’s portrayal of the haughty Mona Kent. Kelley’s tap routines are beyond impressive when she first arrives at the theatre to show off her stuff, her tapping toes taking her to tumultuous heights and tremendous applause.
Her singing voice is like a morning songbird announcing the brand new day’s arrival. Her duet with Dick (Eric Huffman) “It’s You” is precious. Their airy tap routine is like watching two flowers waft upon a summer’s evening breeze; romantic and lighthearted. And when she sings “Sailor of My Dreams” her voice has been struck by Cupid; the dulcet and loving tones ringing out her feelings of love at first sight for all to hear.
Countering Kelley’s ingénue character is the down-to-earth, fun-loving Joan (Darien Crago.) She has all the spitfire of a Broadway backup dancer. She doesn’t let anything get her down, maintaining a positive attitude throughout the show. Crago has a great teasing flirtation with Lucky (Cody Davis) and the pair does a unique dance routine during “Choo-Choo Honeymoon” that keeps the audience laughing and clapping. Their side-by-side identical dance moves are reminiscent of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers; blossoming romance with a fun side. Crago’s solo in “Good Times Are Here To Stay” will sweep your glooms away as she clings to optimism like her life depends on it. An enthusiastic performer to say the least.
Let’s not forget the boys; the whole reason for needing the dames at sea in the first place. Dick (Eric Huffman) gives us a razzling dazzling song and dance during “Broadway Baby” and is just as youthfully exuberant as Ruby. When he pairs up with Cody Davis for their duet “Dames At Sea” both fellas do a deck-swabbing dance that is delightful. Both of these brilliant boys have a fantastic attitude and are perfect for the roles of the upbeat toe-tapping sailors they play.
And holding his own with the super tappers in the show is Erick Buckley, doubling in the roles of Captain and Hennesey. Buckley joins the tap line in a few numbers and kicks right along with the best of them. He provides the comical spastic producer role when playing Hennesey and makes for a great comic relief as the Captain who can’t stop doting on Mona Kent. Watch out for his big belt in “The Beguine,” it’ll put more than just a smile on your lips.
So grab your lifeboat and row on out to the big naval ship that’s hosting Dames At Sea before it drifts away for the summer.
Running Time: One hour 50 minutes with one intermission.
Dames At Sea plays through August 5, 2012 at The Children’s Theatre of Annapolis Complex -1661 Bay Head Road, in Annapolis, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (877) 501-8499 or purchase them online.
Read Joel Markowitz’s interview with Director/Chroreographer Randy Skinner.