Musical Theatre Review Print



Broadway Series South: Dynamic Dancers Kick Movin' Out into Overdrive

January 2, 2007 - Raleigh, NC:


The encore production of Movin’ Out, which is playing Raleigh Memorial Auditorium Jan. 2-7 as part of Broadway Series South’s fabulous 2006-07 season, features a terrific troupe of dancers who quickly kick this Tony Award®-winning rock-and-roll dance extravaganza into overdrive. Based on the songs of Billy Joel and directed and choreographed by 2003 Tony and Drama Desk award winner and 2004 National Medal of the Arts recipient Twyla Tharp, Movin’ Out is a hard-rocking musical spectacular that requires two sets of performers for three of its five principal roles, as well as two pianist/lead vocalists to bring a New York state of mind to the show’s strenuous score.

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, Movin’ Out stars Brendan King as Eddie, Holly Cruikshank as Brenda, and David Gomez as Tony—plus Matthew Dibble as James and Laura Feig as Judy. Darren Holden will be the show’s piano man and lead vocalist at those shows, and Joshua Bergasse will play Long Island police Sergeant O’Leary and a U.S. Army Drill Sergeant at all performances.

Wednesday and Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday night, the show stars Ron Todorowski as Eddie, Dylis Croman as Brenda, and Keith Roberts as Tony, with Dibble, Feig, and Bergasse repeating their roles and James Fox stepping in as pianist and lead vocalist.

On opening night this past Tuesday, Brendan King was a veritable human dynamo—a primo gymnast as well as a dancer nonpareil—as Eddie; tall, lovely, and impossibly leggy Holly Cruikshank was a regular ball of fire—with or without that sexy red dress—as Brenda; and David Gomez tripped the light fantastic—as well as demonstrated his dramatic chops—as Tony, whose government-paid tour of Southeast Asia left him with a bad case of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Matthew Dibble and especially Laura Feig tugged at the audience’s heartstrings with their stirring performances as star-crossed Hicksville, Long Island high-school lovers James and Judy, whose epic romance was yet another casualty of the Vietnam War; and Joshua Bergasse provided a couple of crisp comic characterizations as the affable Sergeant O’Leary and a no-nonsense Drill Sergeant, whipping new recruits into shape.

From its vivacious opening number—Billy Joel’s mega-hit “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” to its surprise encore rendition of “New York State of Mind,” Tuesday’s high-octane performance Movin’ Out was one highlight after another, with Brendan King stealing the show with his incendiary dancing and acrobat moves in “Angry Young Man,” “Captain Jack,” “Innocent Man,” and “Only the Good Die Young”; Holly Cruikshank sparkling like the Hope Diamond in “Uptown Girl” and “Air (Dublinseque),” among other numbers; David Gomez delighting the first-nighters during his dance duets with Cruikshank on “She’s Got a Way,” “Big Shot,” “Big Man on Mulberry Street,” and “Shameless”; and Laura Feig haunting stage (after the loss of James) in several poignant, beautifully danced segments.

Piano pyrotechnics and searing vocals by Darren Holden and exuberant accompaniment and stinging solos by The Movin’ Out Band, which includes Denny Blake (guitar), Greg Smith (bass), Michael Sorrentino (drums), John Isley (saxophone/percussion), band director Bryan Steele (saxophone), Jason Aspinwall (trumpet), Mark Miller (trombone), and Matthew Friedman (synthesizer), really kept Memorial Auditorium rocking Tuesday night; and award-winning director and choreographer Twyla Tharp’s magnificent mixture of ballet, jazz, and interpretive dance moves also helped earn Movin’ Out a hearty standing ovation—and helped make this high-energy show even better the second time around.

Broadway Series South presents Movin’ Out (Billy Joel musical arr. by former GSO Music Director Stuart Malina) Tuesday-Friday, Jan. 2-5, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 6, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 7, at 2 and 7 p.m. in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 1 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina. $30-$85. Progress Energy Box Office: 919/831-6060. Group Rates (for groups of 10 or more): 919/857-4565 or group@raleighconvention.com. Broadway Series South: http://www.broadwayseriessouth.com/. Internet Broadway Database: http://www.ibdb.com/Show.asp?id=11031. Tour Site: http://movingout.uvision.net/tour/ [inactive 2/07]. Billy Joel (Columbia Records): http://www.billyjoel.com/. Twyla Tharp: http://www.twylatharp.org/ [inactive 2/07]. Holly Cruikshank: http://www.hollycruikshank.com/ [inactive 5/07]. Darren Holden: http://www.darrenholden.com. James Fox: http://james-fox.moonfruit.com/.