Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SVSU's "Route 66" musical is one fun, fun, fun road trip

From left, Logan Hahn, Dave Ryan,  Zach Bauer and Blake Mazur in "Route 66"

review and photos by janet i. martineau

Cowboys, cars, cows, cops and crotchety old women -- the four-member male cast of Saginaw Valley State University’s “Route 66” plays ‘em all.

They also, in 90 minutes, take a bus ride, pack in more songs and sight gags per square inch than seems possible, play a guitar, don a BIG hat, serve coffee as a waitress, dance, lick a lollipop, and expend more energy than Consumers Energy on a hot day.

Running  through Sunday (July 21), “Route 66” pays homage to the famed historic highway by serving up 32 road-themed songs from the 1940s to the 1960s as we take a quick trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. 

What writer/creator Roger Bean does not do with the song selections and continuity, director Ric Roberts fills in with everything else. This is a tight, fast-running, detail-driven show that fires on all cylinders -- even adding a graphic tribute to an iconic Saginaw road, a radio dial that plays ads from the era (Chevrolet and the Edsel among them), and a ton of glitter in the Jerry Dennis set with a road divider strip dpwn its middle.

Thankfully, too, the cast is more than up to the demands made of it -- Zach Bauer, Logan Hahn, Blake Mazur and Dave Ryan. Collectively the four blend wonderful harmonies, hit the highest of high notes and some low ones, serve up a cascade of hilarious varying expressions (menacing trucks, cows, women young and old, cops and more), brave an a cappella song, dance smoothly and loik ike they are having “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

No way can we single out one more than the others because this is truely an ensemble piece. And it is expressions on these guys that sell the show more than anything else.

Baby Boomers are gonna LOVE this show too for its parade of “slippery hillbilly” songs of the era. My goodness, the odes sung to cars in those days and the chatter coming out of radio stations.

Stand outs in the show -- numerous ones, among them “Beep Beep,” “Dead Man’s Curve,” “Girl on the Billboard,” “Mother Road.”

Strong support too from the hidden band of Janna Kern on keyboards, Bill Portman on bass, Steve Nyquist on percussion and Joe Balbaugh on guitar.

Nuf said. Go explore it for yourself and savor all the treats it serves up. Perfect summer show. Runs 7:30pm Tuesday through Saturday and 3pm Sunday. Gonna be a sellout.

For more pictures see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.510762568996446.1073741841.136619663077407&type=3

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