Barn Players overwhelm audience with ‘Nice Work if You Can Get It’

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Go immediately to the website for The Barn Players and secure your tickets for the best production in their history, “Nice Work If You Can Get It” before the entire run sells out.

“Nice Work If You Can Get It” is the best production–ever at The Barn Players Playhouse. I loved the show….Script is weak, but it’s all pure fun. Great acting, fabulous tap dancing, strong characters, combined with great casting, directing, and choreography make this the show to see.

Soon as word spreads from opening night, tickets will be in high demand for the pure fluff production with music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. Thewriters of the show selected music from the Gershwin library and crafted a story around it…kinda like “Mamma Mia!” With about 500 performances, “Nice Work if You Can Get It” lists music by George Gershwin; Lyrics by Ira Gershwin; Book by Joe DiPietro; Inspired by material by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse; Music orchestrated by Bill Elliott.

The story takes place in New York City for openers and moves to a beach house where a flamboyant playboy takes his fourth wife for their honeymoon. But, the audience finds out that Jimmy Winter is not yet single from the third wife, in love with a female bootlegger, charmed by speakeasy chorus girls, and somewhat a disappointment to his mother who has disapproved of all his previous marriages. The plot thickens when bootleg gin is stored in his cellar; he mistakes the head bootlegger for his butler; he falls for a female bootlegger; a woman’s temperance leader comes for the wedding; the vice squad surround the beach house; and everything that could create more chaos actually happen.

Fun and games make this a charmer. “Nice Work If You Can Get It” relies on the sappy, predictable musicals of earlier and simpler times of musical/comedy. The show reminds of some of the frothy movie musicals of the 30s and 40s before serious meaning and messages came into play. This show is pure entertainment. The score can’t fail because the songs are gleaned from the Gershwin songbook.

Of course, the title song opens the show. Other hits include “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Do, Do, Do,” “But Not for Me,” “Fascinating Rhythm,” “Let’s Call the Whole thing Off,” “S’Wonderful.” “Do It Again,” “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” and more.

Expect a strong performance by Brian Larios as Jimmy Winter. His strong clear delivery of lyric and dialogue make the show easy to follow. His dancing and rhythm stay in time with the music, and after the show gave all the credit for that to the choreographer. Opposite him, Krista Eyler as Billie Bendix, provided the spark that made the chemistry work so well. Eyler possesses a beautiful soprano voice, and performed the Gershwin songs with authority. “Someone to Watch Over Me” stands out as her strongest vocal.

As for the main supporting actors, Reed Uthe, Erica Baruth, and Stasha Case provided lots of laughs. All, established KC favorites, created a bootlegger/butler; a spinster/teetotaler; a divine, expressive, modern dancer/fourth wife for Jimmy. Uthe delivered the slapstick and one-liners with authority. Baruth demonstrated the power of liquor on an unblemished soul. Case, a master of comedic performance, lampooned the wife no man wants to marry. The trio stood out throughout the show. But, for the end of the show, stand back and wait for Pam Haskin to command the stage after her entrance.

Others in the cast who add to the fun with their characters are Chip Buckner, Corey Allen, Craig Robinson, and Sarah Morrissey. Their parts are small but important to the plot and comedy. Worthy of more than a side note are the men’s and women’s ensembles. Their dancing electrifies the Act I finale.

The cast members are: Brian Larios as Jimmy Winter, Krista Eyler as Billie Bendix, Reed Uthe as Cookie McGee, Stasha Case as Eileen Evergreen, Corey Allen as Duke Mahoney, Chip Buckner as Senator Max Evergreen, Erica Baruth as Duchess Estonia Dulworth, Sarah Morrissey as Jeannie Muldoon, Craig Robinson a Chief Berry, Pam Haskin as Millicent Winter. Chorus girls: Rachel Adcock, Jessica Alcorn, Bridget Angles, Alyssa Cooper, Sara Crow, Natalie Dickter, Jessica Pelski, Natalie Rothfusz, Cassaundra Sutherland. Vice Squad: Josh Arellano, James Fenoglio, Matt McGaugh, Christoph Nevins, Julian Rivera, Scott Michael Salem, Miles Wirth.

What makes “Nice Work If You Can Get It” so spectacular is the vision and hidden talent behind the scenes that make the show possible. Hats off to the creative/production headed by director Kipp Simmons and music director Kevin Bogan. The commanded the crew of Korey Childs, assistant director; Katie Blinn, stage manager; Ramsey Self, choreographer; Valerie Martin, tap coordinator; Charlotte Gilman, assistant props.

“Nice Work If You Can Get It” opened Nov. 4 and runs through Nov. 20. Plan to reserve tickets A.S.A.P. This show will sell out. This is the best production from The Barn Players. Information for tickets, times, dates, etc. can be found on The Barn Players website.

Tags: Performing Arts, Theater, The Barn Players, “Nice Work If You Can Get It”, Musical, Musical-Comedy, Kansas City, Kansas City Theater

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