Tuesday, July 31, 2012

River City Community Players "Happy Days" review by ghostpug6

Happy Days is Here Again
Rating: 5

Happy Days - A New Musical 
River City Community Players

The RCCP has a hit with "Happy Days."  The set is amazing.  Who would have thought of framing all action within a giant TV screen?  Very funny and enormously imaginative.  There were several superb performances.  Chris Foglio is excellent as "The Fonz," an American icon.  How does one do justice to a character who is known by all?  It's a challenging role because the comparison between the original and the next generation is guaranteed.  At any rate, Foglio's excellent comic timing and general warmth win audience approval.  Rachel Szmed's portrayal of Marion Cunningham is also a very high point.  In the play, Marion is conflicted; the roles of housewife and mother limit her and she appears to want more from life.  Whether the director's vision Marion clashes with expectation will be up to the viewer.  Regardless, Szmed charms the audience and shines in several scenes.  David Varner plays a hilarious version of Ralph Malph, demonstrating superb comic timing in both speech and  body language, as well as great range as a singer.  Traci Kohl brilliantly plays Lori Beth, Richie Cunningham's girlfriend.  She dances well throughout the play and steals a heartwarming scene near the show's end (no details offered due to spoiling the show).  Two other actors deserve mention.  Danielle Sachhse is very funny and likeable as Joanie Cunningham, and Raphael Tate is a riot as a skittish Jumpy Malachi.  Stay alert--there are many very comical lines that address what's happened in the years since the show.  Opening night was a huge success.  I highly recommend this musical.

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