1950s nostalgia at Seven Angels
The Taffetas, at Seven Angels Theatre, Waterbury — What you get: A trip down memory lane awaits all those who recognize song titles such as: Sh-Boom, Mr. Sandman, C’est si bon, and Volare. There are a lot more songs from this era that had the Seven Angels Theatre audience singing along or mouthing the words to songs they knew as four talented singers rustled up plenty of nostalgia as the girl group, The Taffetas. A fictional foursome of sisters from Muncie, Ind., these talented gals are reminiscent of groups such as The McGuire Sisters, The Fontane Sisters and The Chordettes.
Wearing white gloves and color-coordinated outfits, Melissa Rose Hirsch as Cheryl looks sweet in pink, Holly O’Brien as Peggy is darling in yellow, Chesley Ristaino as Donna is a dear in purple and Mia Scarpa, the strongest and most energetic performer in the quartet is decked out in baby blue. The pretty crinoline dresses of the first act are changed for shimmering sheaths in more vivid shades of their assigned colors in the second act. The four singers are talented and perform well under the direction of Semina De Laurentis with musical director Jacob Yates and simple choreography by Janine Molinari. The show was originally conceived by Rick Lewis with additional material by Arthur Whitelaw.
The slight plot in this otherwise musical revue focuses on four sisters who manage to get a spot on national TV on a show called Spotlight on Music. Since this is the first time they are on TV, it is a big deal for them. Who knows — perhaps Ed Sullivan might even catch their act. That is something they dream of.
In the Seven Angels production the singers get to croon quite a few numbers. There are more than 40 titles listed in the playbill. They perform with a musical trio that includes Jacob Yates on piano, Dan Kraszowski on bass, and Mark Ryan/Kurt Burgland on drums. All perform well.
What you don’t get: Often compared to the four-guy group known as The Plaids, the girl group arrived on the scene two years before the guys. However, the females don’t have as much fun as the guys. There’s not much comedy. They don’t harmonize as well as the guys either. As a matter of fact, most of the voices sound alike. Audiences really get to know the guys’ personalities in The Plaids, but the same is not true for The Taffetas. Most frustrating is that too many of the songs are performed as medleys, which always seem like a cop out in many of the juke box musicals.
Overall: This is a sweet show with good songs presented well. There’s nothing electrifying or exceptional about it. Technical director Daniel Husvar’s setting is minimal, Janell Berte’s costumes work well, as do the lighting and sound designs by Scott Cally and Matt Martin respectively. This is a good show for those who want to sit back and enjoy times and tunes gone by. While it is not exciting, it is entertaining. It plays through April 24. Box office: 203-757-4676.
Joanne Greco Rochman is an active member in The American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org