Bullets Over Broadway

Critics

LemonMeter

Reviews: 2

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 1

ONE MORE PRODUCTIONS is proud to present the first ever, premiere showing of BULLETS OVER BROADWAY in Southern California. BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is a hilarious musical comedy about the making of a Broadway show. David Shayne is a straight-arrow playwright who plans to stand firm against compromising his work but quickly abandons that stance when his producer finds a backer to mount his show on Broadway. There's just one catch, however, the backer is a mobster who sees Shayne's play as a vehicle for his ditzy, talent-free girlfriend. Throw in an aging diva, a savant hit-man and a bevy of beautiful chorus girls, and this is one Broadway show that is sure to knock'em dead. BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is a love letter to the Golden Age of Broadway complete with showgirls, gangsters and a cast of zany characters. Based on the acclaimed 1994 Woody Allen film, this six-time Tony-nominated musical features hits from the 1920's, including Let's Misbehave, ‘Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I do and There's a New Day Comin'! BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is directed by Damien Lorton. The cast includes: Alex Bodrero as David Shayne; Robert Edward as Cheech; Beth Hansen as Helen Sinclair; Glenn Koppel as Nick Valenti; Nicole Cassesso as Olive Neal; Peter Crisafulli as Warner Purcell; Brianna Garmon as Eden Brent; and Jon Michell as Julian Marx. The performance is backed by a live 14-piece band on stage. Runs: Feb. 22 thru March 18. Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 pm, Sat., March 10 at 2 pm & Sundays at 2 pm, at the Gem Theatre in Garden Grove, CA. College Night (Talk Back) is March 1. www.onemoreproductions.com 714-741-9550 X 221.

Reviews

Shoko

You'll laugh! You'll gasp! You'll root! But mostly, you'll love this hilarious Woody Allen musical, Bullets Over Broadway at The Gem Theatre. I certainly did. I was so excited to attend a California Premiere (the first ever performance anywhere in California) of Bullets Over Broadway. I have never been to a premiere show and it was on opening night, too. Bullets Over Broadway is a “jukebox musical”, according to Artistic Director Damien Lorton, who welcomes the audience and explains what this term means. (It's a musical that uses the previously released popular songs for the show.) The musical is set around the late 1920s to 1930s when prohibition banned the production and sale of alcoholic beverages. When the show starts, you're automatically hit with the lively opening number, “Tiger Rag (Hold That Tiger).” It's fun, sassy, a little naughty, and sets the mood for the rest of the musical. One of the funniest characters in this number and throughout the show is played by Nicole Cassesso (LA Times' Woman of the Year). As Olive Neal, the mobster backer's talentless girlfriend, Cassesso dances and sings her way into your heart, as well as shares her amazing comedic timing and delivery. Alex Bodrero as David Shayne, the struggling young playwright, is brilliant as he struggles between being true to his craft and giving into his Broadway backer's demands. Robert Edward (Cheech) with his single lifted eyebrow and husky voice turns in a brilliant performance as the mobster's muscle as he uses his enormous size to tower over and intimidate people. “Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness” and “Up a Lazy River” are my favorite numbers by Cheech. I was going back and forth about how I felt about Cheech. I liked him as he stood up for what he believed in. But there were times where I didn't like him because of other actions he decided to take. In any event, Edward's performance is amazing because he takes you on an emotional journey and speaks the way real people speak. I must say that I was impressed by Glenn Koppel (Nick Valenti). He's one of the older actors on this musical, but you wouldn't guess it by the way his high energy just exudes from his being. He makes a convincing mobster and he is an amazing singer. I especially enjoyed the finale song he leads, “Yes! We Have No Bananas!” Kat Gutierrez (Ellen) and Beth Hansen (Helen Sinclair) are amazing vocalists. One of the funniest running line throughout the show by Hansen and Edward is, “Don't speak! Don't speak! Be still!” Hansen's portrayal of the aging diva, Helen Sinclair, is perfect and so funny, so stereotypical of, at least my idea of, a diva with a big ego. Another hilarious number is “The Hot Dog Song.“ This musical is definitely an adult show – not appropriate for children. And this number is one of those naughty songs. Cassesso brings fun and playfullness into the role of Olive and this is one of those songs that she just “brings it on.” If anything else, I found myself just laughing so hard at her antics as Olive. Just delightful!!! During Talk Back session after the Student Night performance on March 1, Brianna Garmon (Eden Brent) talked about how she enjoyed the chance to perform with Roxy Lorton (Mr. Woofles). They performed together in “There's a New Day Coming'.“ It was as if Garmon and Roxy were dancing in a waltz, elegantly done. Who'd have guessed this was Roxy's Broadway debut? The professionalism and talent in this musical oozes out with the highest caliber from the cast to the production staff to the refreshment stand volunteers. And speaking about refreshment stand… In the cast, Peter Crisafulli (Warner Purcell) appears as a slim young actor whose obsession with food transforms him into a round, overweight actor who can barely get out of a chair. It was so funny listening to Warner shout at his co-actor to get him off stage in the midst of panic. This show has several elegant, period costumes and several changes for many of the performers which shows you just how much work went into costume design by the winner of Broadway World Regional (Los Angeles) Award in Costume Design, Larry Watts. Broadway World is a well-respected, well-known organization in the entertainment industry. Larry with his assistant Ramzi Jneid creates a plethora of beautiful costumes which must have taken an enormous amount of time to create. During Talk Back, we also found out that much thought is given to making costumes that are not only appropriate for the show but that they also try to make the costumes comfortable and highlight the essence of the actor wearing them. The lighting, choreography, and music sets the show and rounds out the final touches to the musical experience the audience enjoys. Here, the lighting by Sarah Resch sets the tone of each number, as well as how effective they are. Choreographer Heather Smith and her assistant Katie Marshall create great dance routines that captures the 1920s – 1930s period, perfectly. A little sprinkle of Charleston by Ellen reminds us about the period (roaring 20s). And what's a musical without the music and great sound system? The 15-piece orchestra, front and center on stage, was excellent because what was the 1920s and 1930s, if not for the live orchestras on stage? Conductor Kevin Homma, who started as a young teen musician years ago at the Gem Theatre, returns on stage to conduct this amazing orchestra for Bullets. And look how far he's come. Homma currently teaches and conducts junior high school students in music. And all this doesn't mean a thing without a great sound system and sound coordination. I have no complaints here. The sound was amazing thanks to Sound Designer Stephanie Zellhoefer. This musical is so fun. You will be transported back to the 1920s – 1930s, into a time maybe you've never experienced before, but one thing's for sure, you'll enjoy your time at Bullets Over Broadway. Don't miss this California Premiere which runs until March 18! I've seen it twice already and each time I go, I see things I didn't see before. There's so much going on on the stage. It's worth seeing again and again and again.

sweet - Shoko


Thomas deMartino

While certainly not for children, adult audiences will thrill at this nostalgic throwback to yesteryear, and the showbiz shenanigans surrounding a writer who just wants to be true to his art, as well as the chorus-girl who will help turn his dream into a perfectly beautiful and comedic nightmare.

sweet - Thomas deMartino - ...read full review


Leo Buck

This fun and funny, feel-good frolic features a book that is quintessentially “Woody Allen”–seasoned with witty sight gags, stage-bits, and one-liners–each better than the one that came before, making it one of the funniest musical librettos in recent memory. Likewise, the score—comprised of genuine songs of the 1920's and early 30's offers one great tune after another—not to mention some even greater reprises!

sweet - Leo Buck - Buck-ing Trends - ...read full review


Thomas deMartino

While certainly not for children, adult audiences will thrill at this nostalgic throwback to yesteryear, and the showbiz shenanigans surrounding a writer who just wants to be true to his art, as well as the chorus-girl who will help turn his dream into a perfectly beautiful and comedic nightmare.

sweet - Thomas deMartino - ...read full review


Leo Buck

This fun and funny, feel-good frolic features a book that is quintessentially “Woody Allen”–seasoned with witty sight gags, stage-bits, and one-liners–each better than the one that came before, making it one of the funniest musical librettos in recent memory. Likewise, the score—comprised of genuine songs of the 1920's and early 30's offers one great tune after another—not to mention some even greater reprises!

sweet - Leo Buck - Buck-ing Trends - ...read full review


Shoko

You'll laugh! You'll gasp! You'll root! But mostly, you'll love this hilarious Woody Allen musical, Bullets Over Broadway at The Gem Theatre. I certainly did. I was so excited to attend a California Premiere (the first ever performance anywhere in California) of Bullets Over Broadway. I have never been to a premiere show and it was on opening night, too. Bullets Over Broadway is a “jukebox musical”, according to Artistic Director Damien Lorton, who welcomes the audience and explains what this term means. (It's a musical that uses the previously released popular songs for the show.) The musical is set around the late 1920s to 1930s when prohibition banned the production and sale of alcoholic beverages. When the show starts, you're automatically hit with the lively opening number, “Tiger Rag (Hold That Tiger).” It's fun, sassy, a little naughty, and sets the mood for the rest of the musical. One of the funniest characters in this number and throughout the show is played by Nicole Cassesso (LA Times' Woman of the Year). As Olive Neal, the mobster backer's talentless girlfriend, Cassesso dances and sings her way into your heart, as well as shares her amazing comedic timing and delivery. Alex Bodrero as David Shayne, the struggling young playwright, is brilliant as he struggles between being true to his craft and giving into his Broadway backer's demands. Robert Edward (Cheech) with his single lifted eyebrow and husky voice turns in a brilliant performance as the mobster's muscle as he uses his enormous size to tower over and intimidate people. “Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness” and “Up a Lazy River” are my favorite numbers by Cheech. I was going back and forth about how I felt about Cheech. I liked him as he stood up for what he believed in. But there were times where I didn't like him because of other actions he decided to take. In any event, Edward's performance is amazing because he takes you on an emotional journey and speaks the way real people speak. I must say that I was impressed by Glenn Koppel (Nick Valenti). He's one of the older actors on this musical, but you wouldn't guess it by the way his high energy just exudes from his being. He makes a convincing mobster and he is an amazing singer. I especially enjoyed the finale song he leads, “Yes! We Have No Bananas!” Kat Gutierrez (Ellen) and Beth Hansen (Helen Sinclair) are amazing vocalists. One of the funniest running line throughout the show by Hansen and Edward is, “Don't speak! Don't speak! Be still!” Hansen's portrayal of the aging diva, Helen Sinclair, is perfect and so funny, so stereotypical of, at least my idea of, a diva with a big ego. Another hilarious number is “The Hot Dog Song.“ This musical is definitely an adult show – not appropriate for children. And this number is one of those naughty songs. Cassesso brings fun and playfullness into the role of Olive and this is one of those songs that she just “brings it on.” If anything else, I found myself just laughing so hard at her antics as Olive. Just delightful!!! During Talk Back session after the Student Night performance on March 1, Brianna Garmon (Eden Brent) talked about how she enjoyed the chance to perform with Roxy Lorton (Mr. Woofles). They performed together in “There's a New Day Coming'.“ It was as if Garmon and Roxy were dancing in a waltz, elegantly done. Who'd have guessed this was Roxy's Broadway debut? The professionalism and talent in this musical oozes out with the highest caliber from the cast to the production staff to the refreshment stand volunteers. And speaking about refreshment stand… In the cast, Peter Crisafulli (Warner Purcell) appears as a slim young actor whose obsession with food transforms him into a round, overweight actor who can barely get out of a chair. It was so funny listening to Warner shout at his co-actor to get him off stage in the midst of panic. This show has several elegant, period costumes and several changes for many of the performers which shows you just how much work went into costume design by the winner of Broadway World Regional (Los Angeles) Award in Costume Design, Larry Watts. Broadway World is a well-respected, well-known organization in the entertainment industry. Larry with his assistant Ramzi Jneid creates a plethora of beautiful costumes which must have taken an enormous amount of time to create. During Talk Back, we also found out that much thought is given to making costumes that are not only appropriate for the show but that they also try to make the costumes comfortable and highlight the essence of the actor wearing them. The lighting, choreography, and music sets the show and rounds out the final touches to the musical experience the audience enjoys. Here, the lighting by Sarah Resch sets the tone of each number, as well as how effective they are. Choreographer Heather Smith and her assistant Katie Marshall create great dance routines that captures the 1920s – 1930s period, perfectly. A little sprinkle of Charleston by Ellen reminds us about the period (roaring 20s). And what's a musical without the music and great sound system? The 15-piece orchestra, front and center on stage, was excellent because what was the 1920s and 1930s, if not for the live orchestras on stage? Conductor Kevin Homma, who started as a young teen musician years ago at the Gem Theatre, returns on stage to conduct this amazing orchestra for Bullets. And look how far he's come. Homma currently teaches and conducts junior high school students in music. And all this doesn't mean a thing without a great sound system and sound coordination. I have no complaints here. The sound was amazing thanks to Sound Designer Stephanie Zellhoefer. This musical is so fun. You will be transported back to the 1920s – 1930s, into a time maybe you've never experienced before, but one thing's for sure, you'll enjoy your time at Bullets Over Broadway. Don't miss this California Premiere which runs until March 18! I've seen it twice already and each time I go, I see things I didn't see before. There's so much going on on the stage. It's worth seeing again and again and again.

sweet - Shoko