Joyous ‘Crazy for You’ showcases talents at Classic Theatre of Maryland

Everything comes together for an enchanting blend of incredible dancing and classic Gershwin songs.

Classic Theatre of Maryland’s production of Crazy for You is a joyous celebration of dance and music. The Tony Award–winning musical, with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and book by Ken Ludwig, uses classic Gershwin numbers in an original story. Directed and choreographed by Sally Boyett, with music direction by Maureen Codelka, it showcases the incredible talents of Classic Theatre of Maryland’s performers and tech crew.

Neil Bechman brings comic joy to Bobby, an aspiring Broadway performer. He taps and swings through “Crazy for You,” ultimately landing on the producer’s foot. Arriving in Deadrock, Nevada, he collapses several times while singing “Things Are Looking Up,” enamored of local girl Polly (Delaney Jackson). Impersonating the producer, he is spot on with the accent and mannerisms. His dancing with Jackson, especially in “Could You Use Me” and “Shall We Dance?,” is filled with spins, taps, and leaps. He can also be heartfelt, singing wistfully of what might have been in “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”

Neal Bechman (Bobby Child) and the Ensemble Ladies in ‘Crazy for You.’ Photo by Sally Boyett.

Delaney Jackson gives a fierce independence to Polly, daughter of Deadrock’s theater owner. She knees a potential suitor and slaps Bechman several times throughout the show. She can also be quietly touching, singing in “Someone to Watch Over Me” of desiring love, while in “But Not for Me” she considers the love that got away. In “Embraceable You” she declares her love, while Bechman reacts comically.

Brian Davis is a hoot as Bela the producer, with his flamboyant European accent and comic one-liners. With Bechman, he does a magnificent “mirror” scene while they sing of unrequited love in “What Causes That?”

Stephanie Meadowcroft plays Irene, Bobby’s fiancée, with imperial haughtiness, making demands at the Deadrock hotel. She shows her sensual dominance in “Naughty Baby,” dancing on a table and riding Lank (Dave Polgar). Christine Asero gives an upper-class assurance to Lottie, Bobby’s mother. Her back-and-forth put-downs with Meadowcroft are hilarious. With John Pruessner, she plays travel guide writer Fodor with comic British insistence, temporarily inspiring the others with “Stiff Upper Lip.”

Dexter Hamlet charms as Everett, Polly’s father and owner of the failing theater, reminiscing to whoever will listen about Polly’s mother’s onstage talents. Dave Polgar plays Lank, owner of the hotel and determined to buy the theater, with comic aggression, threatening Bobby and hoping his project fails.

The Follies dancers (Lisa Podulka, Mackensie Koehne, Meghan Keeney, Katie Van Horn, Alyssa McClung, and Mollie Becker) captivate with their dance numbers, especially “I Can’t Be Bothered Now,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and “I Got Rhythm,” which features incredible movement. Lisa Podulka as Tess wonderfully fends off Bela’s romantic attentions, while dance captain Mackenzie Koehne plays Patsy with comic earnestness.

Matthew O’Neill (Wyatt), Adam Lawrence (Custus), Kaleb Sells (Moose), and Neal Bechman (Bobby Child); TOP RIGHT: Matthew O’Neill (Wyatt), Ciaran Welch (Pete), Jacob Harris (Junior), and Adam Lawrence (Custus) with Stephanie Meadowcroft (Irene Roth); ABOVE: Delaney Jackson (Polly Baker), Neal Bechman (Bobby Child), and the Ensemble, in ‘Crazy for You.’ Photos by Sally Boyett.

The Cowboy Trio (Matthew O’Neill, Adam Lawrence, and Kaleb Sells) have excellent comic timing. They sing “Biding My Time” in a twangy drawl, reprising it later in a French version as waiters. They are also wonderfully talented dancers, giving a jazzy rhythm to “Slap That Bass” with Kaleb Sells as Moose strumming the title instrument. Noah Brigham has remarkable athleticism as Billy, “dying” in scenes for potential tourists.

Props and set designer Salydon Boyken uses a few touches to bring life to the musical’s several locations. Signs with the names of the theaters are hung throughout the stage. Swinging doors enhance the saloon. Chairs, tables, and racks of clothes help represent hotels and theater backstages. Costume designer Sally Boyett and wig designer Tommy Malek create authentic-looking outfits that help distinguish each character. The cowboys are in vests, suspenders, and pants, while Bela is striking in a black mustache and goatee, with wild black hair. Bobby’s impersonation of Bela is dead-on, including the hair’s puffiness. Irene and Lottie are hoots in their eccentric, upper-crust clothes, especially Lottie’s silver driving outfit.

Lighting designer Hailey LaRoe highlights the beautiful dancing with spotlights and reflects the changing mood with different colors. Sound designer William K. D’Eugenio throws out great sound effects, such as a bullet comically ricocheting. Voice and dialect coach Nancy Krebs ensures that the different accents sound authentic while remaining understandable.

Music director Maureen “Reenie” Codelka balances the music with the singing, ensuring neither overwhelms the other. While understandable, it is a shame that pre-recorded music is used; live musicians would have added tremendously to the experience. Choreographer and director Sally Boyett does a wonderful job, creating beautifully creative dance numbers that are a joy to watch. The variety is just astounding, from tap to spins, leaps, and lifts, and the use of unusual items like ropes, pickaxes, and chairs. The actors hit all the right moments, emotional as well as comic. Everything comes together for an enchanting blend of incredible dancing and classic songs. You’d be crazy to miss it!

Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission.

Crazy for You plays through June 16, 2024, at Classic Theatre of Maryland – 1804 West Street, Suite 200, Annapolis, MD. For tickets (58.75–$78.75 including fees), call the box office at 410-415-3513 or purchase online.

Thursday Evenings at 7:30 pm
Friday Evenings at 8 pm
Saturdays at 2 and 8 pm
Sundays at 2 and 7:30 pm


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