These Days are Ours
Happy Days - A New Musical
River City Community Players
Happy Days-a New Musical was simply wonderful!! I enjoyed every minute of it! (I had to get that out of the way). What impressed me from the start - before the show even began, and I am deeply surprised that no other reviewer has mentioned this to my knowledge, would be the pre-show. I like to enter a theatre right as the house opens. I don't know why - it is just simply something that I do. And upon doing so, I was immensely impressed with what I saw and heard - a massive (and I mean massive) television set with exquisite details, and a genuine sounding 1959 radio program coming out through the house speakers. I mean, how clever can you get? If you are lucky enough to get to see one of the two final nights you should try to get in as soon as you can to fully soak in the atmosphere. The team who did all that deserves a review on each and every one of them, but I have no wish to write that much (sorry guys), so I will simply write about who stood out to me.
Individuals who need mention: First thing's first - we all know all the hard work that directors and the cast put into a show, but seldom will you hear about the stage managers. I, for one, believe that to be wrong! The way I see it, once the show opens it belongs to the stage manager, and stage managing is no easy task (having done it, I can say that from experience). So I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Michael Morrow for his great job as stage manager. I'm sure those fantastic scene changes would have crumbled had it not been for you! Secondly, I would like to congratulate the ensemble for adding so much life and energy to an already fantastic show! The Pinkettes, Leopards, and carhops especially!! Next a few leads - Danielle Sachse as Joanie Cunningham was very sweet and was wonderful onstage with her voice and face. Rachel Szmed played a fantastic Mrs. Cunningham torn beetween her loyalty as a house wife, and her need to do something more. A young Raphael Tate displayed wonderful comedic timing (both physical and verbal) as the very skiddish Jumpy Malachi - he really sold that role. Chris Foglio accomplished something seldom done - bringing a beloved character from popular media to life on stage and living up to one's expectations (and at least for me, surpassing them). Last but most certainly in no way least- David Varner was a joy to watch as Ralph Malph (my personal favorite from the original show) with his joyous comedy.
One more thing that I feel noteworthy - I went to the matinee and it was sold out! That right there should say something for this fantastic production. I highly recommend this production!