Sunday, October 16, 2016

reviews - SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS - Hale Centre Theatre

Laura Anne Kenney, Rob Stuart and Cast
photo: Nick Woodward-Shaw; Lighting: Jeff A. Davis
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 26th.

"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of those shows with a paper thin plot, fairly simple characters, and an ending you can see coming from a mile away. But it's also a lot of fun. Hale Centre Theatre's production has a top notch cast and energetic, virtually non-stop choreography that will put a smile on your face. The sheer enjoyment of the entire production offsets any shortcomings of the simple plot.... Hale's large cast does an exceptional job delivering on the show's need for talented singers and dancers who can handle the heavy dance and vocal demands of the show. Laura Anne Kenney is sensational as Milly. Her strong, clear voice excels on Milly's solos and she expertly shows how Milly is strong, feisty and spunky but also incredibly tender and sweet. As Adam, Rob Stuart is equally as good in portraying this very stubborn man who doesn't quite know how to show how much he cares for someone or act the way a husband is supposed to act. When something happens to Adam in the second act that he isn't quite prepared for, Stuart is superb at showing the tenderness that has always been underneath this man's rough exterior....Director and choreographer Cambrian James consistently delivers some of the best acted and danced shows in the Valley and Seven Brides is no exception. His energetic and varied dances here are rousing, engaging, and entertaining, but he also ensures that the heart of the show, shown through the simple yet interesting characters, is strongly felt. ... Mary Atkinson's color-coordinated costumes that match up each brother with each bride, which is a carryover from the film, are a bright, fun and humorous touch. Jeff A. Davis's lighting provides lovely hues in a wide range of colors to beautifully portray the various times of day on the mountain. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers may not be a musical classic but it is filled with such an abundance of charm and rambunctious joy that it doesn't really matter if the plot is simple. With a talented cast, strong direction, beautiful creative elements, and wall to wall infectious dancing, Hale Centre Theatre's production is an evening of infectious fun. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

""Don't grab her like she was a flapjack!" Milly (Laura Anne Kenney) scolds her six, single brothers-in-law.  The early line during Hale Centre Theatre's excellent production of a sweetly antiquated "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" that opened this weekend in Gilbert spoke volumes.
... makes the Hale show at once a societal reality check  and a lovely escape....the much loved original MGM blockbuster in 1954 is a fabulous example of the movie musical glory days...The Hale cast and creative team celebrated that movie glory with fanfare and hoopla galore. Director Cambrian James made the story live and breathe through his signature choreography. ...Petticoats peeked out from ruffles while the ladies leapt and twirled when the guys raised them in beautiful, countrified ballet lifts. With not an unused inch of dance floor, the effect was heightened by color coded-costumes for each brother/rival/courted lady trio....Kenney's portrayal of Milly was a joy. A graceful, scrappy character  is a tough combination.  Her strong chest voice and demeanor played well, illustrating her character's conviction that "things worth having don't come easy." Adam, the show's father figure of a big brother, was played by Hale favorite Rob Stuart. While pretty formal in posture and presentation amongst his un-tucked, raucous brothers, Milly's attraction to his manners and kindness made her rash acceptance of a marriage proposal almost buyable....Laughter and applause were in abundance on opening night. ...In happy storybook form, ideals like love, morality and family triumph in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."  Hale's sincere delivery quelled for a couple hours the need to brace against reality. " --Jennifer Haaland, PHX Stages (click here to read the complete review)

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