The musical "Saturday Night Fever" opened a two-performance-run at the IU Auditorium last night. The plot of the musical… boy meets girl, boy dances with girl, boy falls in love with girl… is based on the film and loosely arranged around a selection of songs made popular by the Bee Gees. "Stayin’ Alive," "Boogie Shoes," More Than a Woman," "It’s My Neighborhood" and, yes "Disco Duck" all appeared. If you liked these, but didn’t care for the falsetto sounds of the Gibb brothers, the musical offers a chance to hear the songs in the baritone range. If you liked the high sound of the originals, well the women of the show don’t show the same dramatic strain but they do carry the high notes.
Ryan Ashley is the production’s dancing fool and Brooklyn loser Tony Manero. Ashley sang well and danced up a storm, but his attempts at sexiness seemed put on and he did most of the show with just a couple of facial expressions. Dena Digiacinto was the girl Tony dumped when a better dancer came along. Her big solo was "If I Can’t Have You." Jennifer Mrozik was that better dancer and Tony’s partner for the big disco contest. John Almanza and Angel Reed played the hot Puerto Rican couple who actually invested their dancing with some passion and edge. Darren Lorenzo was the disco dj and outrageous dance hustler. The supporting cast all played their parts well and there was one dancer who caught my eye whenever she was on stage. I don’t know her name, but she’s the one in red at the beginning and in the black sequins with the halter top in the last scenes
The musical "Saturday Night Fever" does have a story line, but it is at its best in the ensemble and dance pieces. Most times when the stage cleared for a solo the energy level of the show dropped substantially. The dance numbers whether in couples or ensembles were true to the angular and even jerky style of disco and simply brimmed with energy. The sets and lighting were inventive and effective. A large talented cast and just a six piece orchestra did a remarkable job of recreating the Bee Gees pulse and sound.
"Saturday Night Fever" at the IU Auditorium has its final performance this evening at eight.