They’re a hoppin’ and a boppin’ and a doo-woppin’ at Florida Studio Theatre’s Cabaret again this fall, and I haven’t lost that lovin’ feeling for four swoony guys in turquoise ties — call them the Wanderers, yeah, the Wanderers, they get around, etc. I do know why I love them like I do, so I don’t have to wonder who wrote the book of love because it’s Richard Hopkins and Jim Prosser with an assist from Rebecca Hopkins. John Franceschina, musical director, can light my fire each and every day of the year with his groovy, head-bobbing arrangements. To cap this rave, I’ll just add a quote from my neighbor and dinner companion, Phyllis Mallette, “I could sit here and watch it all over again!”
Rocking the soprano falsetto in songs like “Sherry, Baby” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” Eric Collins reprises his performance from the Cabaret’s 2010 sold-out production of “The Wanderers.” Bringing the alto and plenty of boyish charm, Brett Rigby mawkishly feigns losing his cool in “Teenager in Love.” He’s reprimanded by Jose Restrepo, who cracks, “Dude, you’re 32,” and advises him to “Walk Like a Man.” Restrepo supplies tenor and some mucho caliente Ecuadorian magnetism. On bass, Teddy Tinson ding-a-dang-dongs such tunes as “Blue Moon,” anchoring the close harmony guy group.
No singing heads here, choreographer Stephen Hope moves these coordinated lover boys around, supplying them with period-perfect dance steps and synchronized gestures. They do the mashed potatoes, they do the twist, so tell me baby, do you like it like this? I sure do!
Jim Prosser’s magic fingers hammer two keyboards and pump that classic beat.
Costume designer, Susan Angermann, adds her impeccable taste to the mix, adorning the group in blacks slacks, white jackets, with matching turquoise hankies and ties in the first act and slipping them into blue, teal, magenta and fuschia shirts with vests, for the second. Great lighting by Kate Dewall, sound by Ryan Kilcourse, and a light menu and full bar round out a highly entertaining evening.
— Paula Atwell
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