Facebook Twitter

`Encore! Encore!’ may bring audiences to their feet

SHARE `Encore! Encore!’ may bring audiences to their feet

This fast-paced musical revue mixes more than two dozen showstoppers, showcasing the talents of roughly one dozen locally well-known performers, including such seasoned troupers as Pat Davis and Glen Slight.

"Encore! Encore!" is, essentially, a tune-packed tribute to the Grand Theatre's retiring executive director, Pat Davis, who is featured in some of her most notable roles - Miss Hannigan ("Annie"), Dolly Gallagher Levi ("Hello, Dolly!") and Auntie Mame ("Mame").In the process, it salutes the theater itself, a venerable landmark dating back to 1930, when it was part of the former South High School - now the college's South City Campus.

The 35-member ensemble and children's chorus, directed and choreographed by Alan LaFleur, sang and danced their way through such chestnuts as "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "Getting to Know You," plus such newer tunes as "Holier Than Thou" (from "Nunsense"), given an upbeat, soul-sound reading by belter Camille Van Wagoner, and Salt Lake's ultimate Annie, Katie Fidel, who sings like there's no "Tomorrow."

Highlights were as rapid as they were plentiful, including the dueling Annies - Jayne Luke (from "Annie Get Your Gun") and Fidel, who duked it out musically in a playful rendition of Irving Berlin's "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)," Jim Dale, Julie Nelson Blatter and Josh Christensen in a medley of songs from "Camelot," and not one but three tawdry Hannigans (Davis, Luke and VanWagoner), lamenting the woes of dealing with "Little Girls." It was sort of like watching the three witches from "Hamlet" suddenly plunked down in the Depression Era setting of "Annie."

Christensen and Kris Jorgensen, who have incredible voices, were featured in a couple of segments, both involving doomed lovers - "Phantom" and "The King and I." The latter, the "I Have Dreamed" duet, segued into Diana Dayley's rendition of "Hello, Young Lovers," which included a poignant ballet by Abby Kartchner and Wyatt Scott.

Glen Slight was spotlighted in "I Don't Need Anything But You" (with Katie Fidel), "It Takes A Woman" (from "Hello, Dolly!") and "Phantom's" dramatic father/son duet,"You Are My Own," with Christensen.

Luke's big solo turn of the evening was her jaunty revival of "If They Could See Me Now," as the happy hoofer from "Sweet Charity."

Jim Dale did a fine "They Call the Wind Maria" (from "Paint Your Wagon"), along with two songs from "Camelot."

Kenneth Plain, who will soon be assuming the task of executive director at the Grand, conducted the 19-piece pit orchestra which, as usual, was right in tune.

The show's second act started off with the Paris Opera House gala (from "Phantom"), - a colorful parade of costumes from 21 Grand Theatre shows.

Linking the various Broadway hits together was the snappy, musical "rap" narration by a cadre of tap-dancing ushers, who looked like they had just shuffled in from the Roxy.

J. Chad Davis's scenery (including backdrops saved from several previous productions) and Diane Allen's costuming were superb.

The show's only major drawback on Monday evening was the somewhat murky sound during the big ensemble numbers - plus the distressing crackling sound that was caused when Jim Dale's Arthurian necklace hit his body mike.

Minor quibbles aside, I'd recommend hustling over to the Grand's box office well "Before the Parade (of ticket buyers) Passes By."