"The All Night Strut!" is really more of a stroll. The revue of 1930s and 1940s standards playing through April 29 at Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs just doesn't have the gait of a strut. At times, it even slows down to a promenade.
This isn't to say this show isn't satisfying. For any walk down memory lane – if done with discipline, attention to detail and a cast determined to look right past hokeyness – can deliver. And if a breezy mix of jazz, blues, bebop and standards are your thing, "The All Night Strut!" is your show.
No plot. No characters. No song setup. Just tune after tune from American maestros – including the Gershwins, Cab Calloway, Johnny Mercer, Frank Loesser, Duke Ellington, Dorothy Fields, Jerome Kern, Charlie Parker and Hoagy Carmichael – in a production directed and choreographed (rather well, actually) by Dave Campbell.
So what if there are times when we lose our bearings and feel as if we're watching an act in the main lounge of a cruise ship? The cast sings with harmonies as tight as the Manhattan Transfer. There are a few surprises, as well: the humpy-thumpy, gutbucket blues tune "Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer" sung like a Cole Porter ditty; a few tip-top tap numbers pop up; and an ejaculating bubble machine appears in the second act.
Accompanied onstage by a three-piece band that frequently manages to sound like twice its number, the cast is better than the sum of its parts. A few of the solos come off as bland, but when the group performs as an ensemble, Danielle Famble, Rose Kathryn Ouellette, Christopher George Patterson and Matthew Varelia can't be beat.
But as on their A-game as everyone is here, the show is a little light on the stompin', jumpin' and jivin'. It could use a soupcon of rowdy humor and boisterous interplay to take that warm glow all the way up to sparkle.
The All Night Strut
When: Through April 29. 2 p.m. matinees Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Stage Door Theatre. 8036 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs
Cost: $38, $42 for Saturday evening and Sunday matinees
Contact: 954-344-7765 or StageDoorTheatre.comCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun