Musical comedy offers iconic Gershwin tunes

Published 7:20 pm Monday, October 22, 2018

“Crazy for You,” LaGrange College Theatre’s next production, has been called a “new Gershwin musical comedy” — a modern musical that celebrates the joy of the American theater.

This Tony award-winning Broadway smash tells the story of Bobby Child, a wealthy city boy who dreams of being a Broadway star, but is pressured by his domineering mother to be a banker. When she sends him to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose on a broken-down theater, he falls madly in love with Polly Baker, the spunky theater owner’s daughter.

Add Follies girls, singing cowboys and a hilarious case of mistaken identity and you’ve got an evening filled with Gershwin favorites such as “I Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Kim Barber Knoll, director, said when she read the script by Ken Ludwig (“Lend Me a Tenor” and “Moon Over Buffalo”) and listened to the music, she knew it would be the program’s next musical.

“This production has it all:  a funny and heartfelt story, incredible Gershwin music and spectacular dance numbers. It’s a wonderful musical comedy for the entire family,” she said.

Dr. Toni Anderson, musical director and conductor, said the music is very challenging.

“The musical features some of the most iconic songs of George and Ira Gershwin, yet the harmonies are much more difficult than you’d imagine,” Anderson said. “But I’ve been so impressed with these students. They’ve learned the music much faster than I anticipated and have worked so hard.”

Anderson said she can’t wait for the cast to start rehearsals with the orchestra.

“It will add a whole new level of storytelling to the show,” Anderson  said. “I think the students will love the energy of the orchestration.”

Knoll said this is the largest production ever attempted by the program.

“We have 26 students in the cast,” Knoll said. “The scenery has impressive moving pieces with several surprises. The dance numbers are characters all to themselves, and there are more than 80 costumes.”

She credits choreographer Tim Fitz-Gerald, the latest new MT faculty member, with infusing great talent and energy into the production.

“Tim comes to us to with years of Broadway experience, having appeared with Hugh Jackman in ‘The Boy from Oz’ and in touring companies of ‘Wicked,’ ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and ‘Titanic the Musical,’” Knoll said. “He is a wonderful new team member for our growing MT program.”

Fitz-Gerald said he’s thrilled with the cast.

“It’s been such a joy getting to know these students and working with this team,” Fitz-Gerald said. “To watch the actors grow is so fulfilling. I’ve been impressed with how seriously they take the work. The stylistic choreography of the show is challenging, but these students are picking it right up.”

Landon Bell, a sophomore musical theatre major, plays Bobby. He said the best part for him has been the opportunity to grow as a dancer.

“That’s an area where I have the least experience,” Bell said. “Working with [Fitz-Gerald] to explore the style of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers has been amazing.”

Leigh Anne Hamlin, a senior musical theatre major, said she has had a blast playing Polly.

“She is so sassy,” Hamlin said. “She’s the only woman in Deadrock, so she has been raised as one of the boys, but she still has such a grace about her.”

In his first appearance on the Price stage, freshman Colby Bell plays Lank, the owner of Deadrock’s saloon. He said his parents gave him some advice before auditions.

“They told me not to get my hopes up about playing a lead during my first year,” Bell said with a laugh. “And then I got cast as Lank.”

Bell said he’s grateful to have the opportunity to work with so many talented people.

“It’s the first time I’ve been around people who are as passionate about theater as I am,” Bell said. “There are some amazing actors in this group.”

All evening curtain times at Price will now be at 7 p.m. Matinees will continue to be at 2:30 p.m.

The box office is now open for “Crazy for You.” Show runs at 7 p.m. Oct. 24-27 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens (55 and older) and non-LC students and free for LC students faculty and staff.

The box office is open weekdays from noon until 4 p.m. Email the box office to make reservations at, or call 706-880-8080. If emailing or calling, please leave name, the performance date/time and number of tickets desired, type of tickets and a call-back number and email address for confirmation.