By Chris Brown on February 2, 2018.
Crescent Heights High School’s drama department and the cast and crew of “Bullets Over Broadway” are serious about you turning off your cellphone before the curtain rises.
After that warning though, it’s all laughs, huge song-and-dance numbers and tremendous performances.
When the opening night audience wasn’t busting a gut at one-liners and a dim actress, they were filling the theatre with rapturous applause after another musical number.
The gist of the story: A playwright gets into business with gangsters, and the mob boss wants his girlfriend to get a lead role in the show. The mob muscle/bodyguard offers suggestions to improve the play, cast members fall for each other and through it all the show must go on.
In the lead roles Wednesday Tyler Casat (as aspiring playwright David Shayne) and Jessica Schnell (as Broadway star Helen Sinclair) stole the show. Casat, in a wheelchair for the entire show, played Shayne’s multiple moral conflicts — a deal with the mob, a burgeoning love affair, undeserved praise — with heart and humour, evoking emotions and laughs often with nothing more than an exasperated look or sly smirk.
Schnell plays the longtime, but beginning to fade, Broadway star as a woman who knows just how good she is. Her voice is easily one of the highlights of the show.
Bretton Labash as Cheech (a tough guy with a writer’s mind) and Hannah Bonogofsky as Olive (a mobster’s girlfriend and untalented actress) also stood out in a cast that was solid all the way around.
The costumes, sets, band and choreography bring everything up another notch. And for the animal lovers, there was a dog on stage in a few scenes. And there’s a hot dog song and dance.
The show runs Feb. 2-3 and 6-10.
Tickets are $23 and are best purchased in advance online at http://www.chhs.mhpsd.ca, though some may be available at the door. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. each night.
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