I am seriously hoping, though - with a pedigree and family tree close to the dismal Million Dollar Quartet - I am trying not to get my hopes too far up, either, that Baby It's You will be more Jersey and less Quartet. Not having seen it, I can only conjecture that this one has the potential for being just that. First, it centers around not just a singing group (though the Shirelles were full of their own drama, I hear) but their producer, courageous and way-before-her-time housewife turned music producer, Florence Greenberg. And second, it has a huge, fun and catchy songlist to choose from. (I had the same hopes for Million Dollar Quartet, too.)
For now, though, I can discuss the thing that drew me to the box office to purchase my ticket: the casting.
The ensemble includes: Kelli Barrett (The Royal Family), Alison Cimmet (A Tale of Two Cities), Erica Dorfler (Memphis), Berlando Drake (debut), Adam Heller (Victor/Victoria, A Class Act, Caroline, or Change), Geno Henderson (debut), Jahi A. Kearse (debut), Allan Louis (debut), Annette Moore (debut), Barry Pearl (the film Grease, original Broadway casts of Bye Bye Birdie and Oliver!), Zachary Prince (debut), Ken Robinson (debut), Chelsea Morgan Stock (The Little Mermaid) and Brandon Uranowitz (debut). Seems like you either have had a career or are just starting out in this ensemble. That excites me - the energy should be quite high, and in years to come, who knows how many will become huge stars and Tony winners!?
"The Shirelles" and "Florence Greenberg" (center)
The Shirelles will be played by: Christina Sajous (American Idiot's Extraordinary Girl), Erica Ash (debut), Kyra DaCosta (AIDA, Sweet Charity) and Crystal Starr Knighton (debut). Again, half experienced/half debutantes.
But for this theatregoer, the real draw is the always fabulous Beth Leavel (Tony-winner, The Drowsy Chaperone, Elf: The Musical, Mamma Mia!) who was "wooed" to play Florence Greenberg. I have a feeling the show is in at least good hands here.
So, like always, I will try to go in with the most positive attitude, feel excited for all the new kids, and know that Ms. Leavel will bring 100% to the proceedings. I, of course, will give you a full review after the show opens!
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