While superheroes have had a wealthy existence on film, there haven't been much forays onto the Broadway stage. The ones that have, never seem to do well commercially or critically, we all know what happened with Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.
Back in 1966, Superman got the musical treatment with It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman! Now before you think this must have been some sort of small joke of a show, it was written by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, the pair behind such hits as Bye Bye Birdie and Annie. The original Broadway production was directed by legend, Harold Prince and starred Jack Cassidy and a young Linda Lavin. It even was nominated for three Tony Awards. While it received positive reviews, it didn't catch on commercially. However since 1966, this cult piece has been revived by both Encores! in New York and Reprise! in Los Angeles. In London, a small production was so well received, it was given a short West End run this past February. So clearly there's an affinity for the piece.
Having never heard of the production, when I saw that the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre was going to feature it in their season, I had to check it out for myself. I'm glad I did, because I can clearly see why this is such a fan favorite.
Known for his outside the box thinking when it comes to selecting a season, Kris McMurray doesn't disappoint with this musical crime fighting romp. Aided by a top notch cast this is a highly enjoyable production where you can clearly see how much fun the cast is having on stage.
The cast features some of the best that have graced the CCT stage. Playing the hero is Rick Bennett whose performance is reminiscent of the TV serials of the 1950's. With an exceptionally strong voice and a sense of All American idealism , Bennett would make George Reeves proud with his portrayal of the Man of Steel.
Kaite Corda shines a Lois Lane. Charming, hard hitting with a touch of His Girl Friday Rosalind Russell, Corda delivers on every note. While her songs might not be the best melodically of the piece, Corda elevates each one of them.
There was an audible sound of excitement from the crowd, the moment Bobby Schultz took the stage. And I now can see why. Schultz perfectly plays the role of the villian, Dr. Abner Sedgwick. So perfect in fact, he steals almost every scene he's in. With strong vocals and a wonderful maniacal laugh, Schultz proves he's a master at owning a character.
Turning in strong and charismatic performances are Jonathan Escobar and Ashley Ayala as Max and Sydney. Ayala got the fun of singing the show's most recognizable number, "You've Got Possibilities" which she nailed.
The production also features a strong ensemble who definitely brought some great energy to the many roles they played. They included Chris Brooks, James J. Moran, William Moskaluk, Carleigh Schultz, Brianna Zuk, Russell Fish, Kevin Ladd, Tracey Brown and Linda Killy.
Now I do have to mention that the show is almost 50 years old and when it premired, let's just say we were not as PC as we are now. So there are some off color jokes but this doesn't take away from the fun that is at the heart of the musical.
The design was minimal and creative. They opted to make the set look like a 2D comic strip with no practical props, which I thought added a nice touch. Sean Lewis did a masterful job as music director, leading his tight band through a very complex score. Kris McMurray once again turned in a strong directing job. The pacing was up and his fight choreography was nicely reminiscent of the Adam West Batman series. All in all it was a really fun night. The sizable audience had a great time as well.
Up Up and Away for this cast and production.
The show runs thru May 30th. For tickets and info visit ctcabaret.com