The Muse Machine supplies an absolutely delightful production of the 1992 Tony Award-winning musical “Crazy for You,” the arts education organization’s 29th annual student presentation firmly staged at the Victoria Theatre with breezy enthusiasm and character-driven assurance by Joe Deer of Wright State University.
Featuring over 100 Muse students across the Miami Valley and nearly 20 George and Ira Gershwin gems, “Crazy for You,” adapted by Ken Ludwig (“Lend Me A Tenor”), is a humorous 1930s account centered on Bobby Child (a very engaging Davis Sullivan). Bobby is a wealthy New York banker and Broadway hopeful sent to foreclose on a rundown theater in the sleepy town of Deadrock, Nevada. In Deadrock, he is immediately smitten by earthy postwoman Polly Baker (an effortlessly radiant Carly Snyder) and ultimately caught up in a hilarious case of mistaken identity that threatens their relationship.
Sullivan and Snyder, a fine duo reuniting in principal roles for the first time since respectively portraying Jack and Little Red Ridinghood in the Muse Machine’s 2011 production of “Into the Woods,” display an infectious chemistry effectively conveying the ups and downs of Bobby and Polly’s bumpy road to love. Sullivan, an adept comedian and commendable song-and-dance man, is particularly impressive when disguised as Broadway impresario Bela Zangler, whose arrival in Deadrock heightens the action in Act 2. Snyder, a true knockout as Little Red, offers an appealing array of emotional layers. She has great fun exhibiting Polly’s rough, no-nonsense demeanor and sunny twang, but a beautiful vulnerability lies within, particularly in her incredibly touching, exceptionally controlled rendition of “Someone To Watch Over Me” filled with hope, humor, wistfulness and yearning.
Additionally, strong featured performances are offered by Jeremiah Plessinger as the flamboyant Zangler, Paige McDonald as Irene, Joel Daniel as the constantly annoyed Lank Hawkins, Philip Stock (Junior), Sean Cheatwood (Mingo), William Peters (Moose) and Rollie Fisk (Sam) who join forces for “Bidin’ My Time” and “The Real American Folksong,” Kaja Burke-Williams as the adorably ditzy Patsy, Christina Fiala as Tess, Laura Walters as Bobby’s strict mother, and Michael Canada, Ellen Geiselman and Joshua Bodey as the Fodors.
Choreographer Lula Elzy’s graceful, energetic routines authentically reflect the era and the carefree spirit of the West. The exuberantly perky “I Can’t Be Bothered Now,” the lovely “Shall We Dance,” the ensemble-heavy “Slap That Bass” and “Stiff Upper Lip,” and the hoedown-inspired thrills in “I Got Rhythm” (winningly led by Snyder at the close of Act 1) are just some of the highlights of Elzy’s wonderful contributions. Musical director Timothy Olt, astutely incorporating a snippet of “Rhapsody in Blue” when the action briefly returns to the hustle and bustle of New York, leads an excellent orchestra.
“Crazy for You” continues tonight at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St. Act One: 80 minutes; Act Two: 65 minutes. Tickets are $29-$59. For tickets or more information, call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com