July 9th, 2009


First Play Of The Season

Hope Summer Repertory Theatre

We've been going to HSRT shows at least since 1997's Return to the Forbidden Planet. And we've been getting season tickets for about ten years. So hitting the end of June/beginning of July and starting on our annual run of HSRT plays is always a real joy. This time we had the in-laws here and a lovely dinner at Butch's. We'd hoped to have the Wednesday Diner menu, but they weren't doing one this week. Afterwards, it's just a block over to the theatre!

Suds: The Rocking 60s Soap Opera Musical
Knickerbocker Theatre, 8th Street, Holland MI. 8pm

Apparently HSRT did Suds "ten years ago", but I know we didn't see it. Perhaps they did it as part of their cabaret series, which we didn't go to in the beginning. Last year HSRT also did a rollicking musical show at the restored Knickerbocker Theatre, Forever Plaid, but I have to say that we liked Suds more, not just for the choices of musics but because there was an actual plot.

L to R: Annie Sheehan, Kelly Sina, Gail Rastorfer
So Cindy (left) gets dumped by her sort-of-boyfriend and decides to end it all. But her demise is interrupted by not one but two... er, three?... guardian angels -- Dee Dee (middle) and Marge (right). It's all very complicated and charming. The three ladies all manage perfect characters and all were capable of belting out lyrics solo -- and provide enchanting harmony together. The Man, who plays multiple roles, is no weak sister to this trio and can he dance! Every single one of these songs was played on the radio all the time while Mrs. Dr. Phil and I were growing up. Obviously these "kids" aren't really old enough to truly understand. (grin)

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It's tough to talk about favorite numbers because they were all good, which is especially hard considering the talents who made the songs famous that they were competing against. I mean, when you can hold your own against Aretha and Nancy Sinatra... you're doing it right! Still, I have to say that "Locomotion", done in the middle of a suicide attempt was choreographed beyond belief and "Secret Agent Man", where we get the big reveal on the Man, were definitely top numbers -- but there was no let up in the quality throughout the show. Amazing.

Aside: I will never be able to listen to "You Can't Hurry Love" without thinking of the pilot for China Beach -- "Hey, isn't that McMurphy up there?!" (big grin) And "I Say A Little Prayer For You" reminded me of how much I loved that song on the radio -- or in big production numbers on the last of the TV variety shows. I better stop mentioning favorite songs because I won't be able to stop. Just see the above cut list. (sly grin) Did I mention that the orchestra hidden behind the set did a phenomenal job?

Highly Recommended

If this is just the start of our tour of the HSRT season, we're going to have a great summer here in West Michigan.

Dr. Phil