Infinity Theatre Company continues their summer series with Baby, The Musical. And Baby is just that, an astonishing musical chock-full of jovial lyrics, rich vocals, and clever choreography. With book by Sybille Pearson, story development with Susan Yankowitz, music by David Shire, and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., the production is directed by Igor Goldin and Musical Directed by Jeffrey Lodin.
Baby, The Musical, invites the audience in to the lives of three couples and their circumstances to each expecting a child. Lizzie Fields (Lauren Wright) and Danny Hooper (Nick DeVito), the youngest of the couples, are University juniors who have just moved in together. Lizzie is naïve yet optimistic as she makes lists to analyze the big picture with boyfriend Danny. Wright is a voice powerhouse especially in Act I finale, “The Story Goes On.” DeVito, on the other hand, is fun-loving as he teams with fellow soon-to-be fathers in “Fatherhood Blues,” as he “walks along to a funky beat.” He definitely plays Danny an honorable character, determined to put a ring on Lizzie’s finger. What is so likeable about DeVito’s vocal stylings is they are filled with purpose and charm that demonstrates how present DeVito is on stage.
Pam Sakarian (Erin Wegner Brooks) and Nick Sakarian (Jon Reinhold) may be the couple most will relate to and the challenges of trying to conceive. Brooks and Reinhold are definitely share a-between-the-sheets chemistry, considering many of their scenes are in bed. But there is a different kind of chemistry between Pam and Nick as they experience disappointment and despair. It shows in their body language with drooping shoulders, arms crossed over their chest, and their characters over-indulging in their athletic abilities. They share many playful and heartfelt moments as well. Brooks and Reinhold showcase their vocal talents in “Baby, Baby, Baby” along with couples Lizzie and Danny, and Alan and Arlene. However, Pam and Nick’s duet, “Romance” evokes both laughter and tears as they reach their 4th month having to follow specific techniques to conceive. Brooks achieves the high notes while Reinhold’s rich tone is captivating.
Shock and awe best describes Arlene (Joy Hermalyn) and Alan MacNally’s (Erick Pinnick) reaction to finding out they are pregnant and in their forties. Arlene, already a mother of three grown daughters, is shocked and unsure what to do. Arlene is the most realistic, knowing her and her husband’s lives will change and what they will have to sacrifice. But when she is paired with Pam and Lizzie in the doctor’s office number, “I Want It All,” Arlene has a change of heart. Hermalyn runs the gambit of emotion with strong body language and an honest duet with Pinnick in, “What If We Had Loved Like That?” Awe describes Alan’s response to the idea of having a baby. This character is very put together or so it seems as he struggles with what his wife wants to do about the pregnancy. There is apparent struggle with mid-life changes and stepping back into the parental spotlight.
What is remarkable about this production is how the ensemble cast – Sam Hood Adrain, Emily Freeman, Ana Marcu, Jacob Shipley, and Alex Smith – are interwoven into supporting roles as the doctor, nurses, team mates, and a realtor. What makes them stand-out is, they effectively mastered the scene to scene changes that are choreographed like a dance. The bed will be swung around in a circle and positioned at an angle while as set piece will be moved on or off stage.
Scenic Designer Paul Tate DePoo III proves his talent again with a set that matches that of a University setting. Symmetrically designed, upstage are two Victorian-like buildings, ivy-clad brick walls, and stone steps. The street lamps and the garden fence are a nice touch that enhances night time and scene changes. Center stage there are three double doors that serve for quick entrances and exits. The smartest scenic feature is the change of comforters, flawlessly accomplished by ensemble cast, for each couple on the double bed that also become singles. Lighting Designer Jimmy Lawlor and Sound Designer Wes Shippee are teamed together again to enhance scenic changes, the mood and spotlight solos and duets.
Costume Designer Tristan Raines and Hair & Wig Designer Leah J. Loukas put together styles that suit each couple. Lizzie and Danny are funky in their contemporary garb where Lizzie pattern jeans with a different patterned long-sleeve top with a jean vest. Danny as a rocker wears black jeans, a dark t-shirt and handsome black leather jacket. Athletic couple, Nick and Pam, often wear shorts and t-shirts or a sweat suit but Pam is a knock-out in her alluring nighties especially the red number with black trim. Alan and Arlene are dressed proper and age appropriate. Alan sports tan trousers, a dress shirt, vest and a professor looking jacket, whereas Arlene dresses maturely in her long-sleeve dresses with simple pumps.
Baby, The Musical, is a comical approach to a serious subject. Three couples in their 20s, 30s, and 40s each experience varying reactions to the news of impending parenthood. It is a 9 month journey of what may or may not happen. Lizzie and Danny are naïve but enthusiastic at becoming young parents. Pam and Nick are hesitant but hopeful as they trip down the baby path while trying to keep the romance alive. Alan and Arlene astonished but distressed about the bridge they were about to cross into mid-life.
In Infinity Theatre’s wonderful production of Baby, The Musical, three couples made up of six terrific singers and the talented ensemble offer powerful vocals that will wow audiences. You don’t have had to experience the joys of parenthood to enjoy this superb musical.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours, with a 15-minute intermission.
Baby, The Musical plays through August 2, 2015 at Infinity Theatre Company performing 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.