SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS. Book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay; music by Gen DePaul; lyrics by Johnny Mercer; directed by Mark Lively. Produced by Candlelight Dinner Playhouse (4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown) through Nov. 2. Tickets available at 970-744-3747 or www.coloradocandlelight.com.
Another lovely evening at Candlelight! For those of you that hold SEVEN/SEVEN as one of your favorite dance movies, you will not be disappointed by the athletic, energetic musical moves in this production. These performers can match those movie dancers step for step, and they are doing it night after night. As my granddaughter would say, fabulous footwork!
Adam (Travis Risner), the oldest brother of the Pontipee family, went to town and found an instant bride in Millie (Dominque Simmons), a woman alone and bold enough to take a chance on him. Their successful union and Millie's lessons in etiquette encourage the other six brothers to venture to town in search of brides. This plot is very loosely based on the ancient tale of abduction which tells of a group of Roman men who "acquired" brides by raiding the territory of the neighboring Sabine tribe. In the modern-day version, the competition between the town men and the mountain men provides the basis for one of the most exciting dance sequences as both groups preen and try to impress the available women. Of course, since this is a musical comedy, in spite of the difficulties in all of the romances, there are seven happy endings.
Director Mark Lively has pulled together an amazing dance corps. His ladies are ballet trained, and his men have added considerable gymnastic training to their résumés. Both chorus men and women added personality traits to their characters to create individuals in addition to being a corps of dancers. Everyone gets their moment in the spotlight; they all deserve it.
Some sound problems plagued the beginning of the show but they were resolved quickly. It was especially fun to see Randy Johnson, formerly of Heritage Square Music Hall, opening the show with a banjo riff. Mo Schrank designed and Dave McEachen built a beautiful, versatile set that served as both the town front and the mountain cabin and gave the actors a second-story acting space. The costumes allowed the audience to match the couples by color-coordinating their look. All in all, a well-thought-out production with great dancing.
The kitchen at Candlelight also continues to delight. Try the Oregon Trail Meat Loaf or the Wild Mushroom Salmon en Croûte with the S'Mores Layer Cake for dessert. Again, you will not be disappointed.
WOW factor: 8.5