Florida Studio Theatre has put together another highly professional entertaining evening of toe-tapping tunes and terrific talent. This collection features the meeting of the Wild West with the city slickers, consisting of songs from the ’70s and ’80s that we remember from legendary artists such as Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, John Denver and others with that Nashville sound.
Developed by Rebecca Hopkins and Richard Hopkins, the show’s numbers include Western songs that crossed the musical border into the mainstream. The production is also replete with plenty of colorful leather, fringe, boots, turquoise and glitter, thanks to Susan Angermann’s costume design. Especially appealing was the black leather and fringe high/low maxi skirt Sarah Jane Mellen was wearing. Through the dialogue interspersed between the songs, you’ll learn interesting tidbits such as the BeeGees wrote “Islands in the Stream” for Marvin Gaye.
The diverse cast of actor/musicians has been culled from all parts of the U.S. Directed by Russell Treyz, they become a performance ensemble that most audience members mistake for an actual touring band.
“In this show, we’re trying to create a good sense of communication through the singers — allowing them to share their personalities so that the audience gets to know and love these five people in addition to knowing and loving the songs,” said Treyz.
He’s been successful in this endeavor, and the group comes off as charming and likable as well an extremely good at singing, playing and “boot-scooting.”
The characters include Dominic Cicco, whose numerous appearances here and elsewhere include three other cabaret performances, on guitar and banjo; Eric Scott Anthony, who was also in “Shake, Rattle and Roll” and “Night Train to Memphis”; Sarah Jane Mellen, who most recently appeared at Manhattan Children‘s Theatre; Emily Mikesell, who appeared at FST in “Guitar Girls” and plays a mean fiddle; Connor Moore, on piano and some funny bits; and Tony Bruno on percussion.
Musical Director Brett Schrier keeps the show humming and hootin’ and hollerin’ as well. All the music was lively and interestingly sung. A standout, among many in this performance, was a rousing “Sweet Home Alabama.”
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