Crazy for You is uplifting, endearing, and yet another big hit

A delightful Gershwin cocktail is being serv­ed at The Country Play­house Theatre here and the audi­­ence is drinking it with gusto.
The ambitious production stays true to the sweet spirit of the Gershwin era while staying in touch with the ever changing witticisms of the moment. Crazy For You reminds the audi­ence how the arts can re­veal a finer side of human nature, ultimately uplifting and endearing, whether in wartime or in these stressful times of mod­ern day living.
Crazy for You, a 1992 Broadway Tony award winner, is loosely based on the 1930s hit, Girl Crazy, with such time­less tunes as Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm and Bidin’ My Time by George Gershwin, with poetic lyrics by his broth­er, Ira. Add the book by Ken Ludwig, and, while they were at it, several other indelible Gershwin hits such as Naughty Baby, and the result is intoxi­cating.
The story is centres around Bobby Child, poor little rich banker boy who unwillingly trav­els to Deadwood, Nevada to foreclose on a small theatre owned by Polly Baker and her father. Love at first sight has him determined to salvage the theatre and win Polly’s heart. That no-small-feat engages 24 talented players and eight fine musicians to accomplish.
David Spangenthal is Child, a new-to-Drayton actor hailing from Broadway. The demand­ing role has the talented actor barging through every scene with agility, dance ability, and likability. He also does an hilarious impersonation of "big New York producer" Bela Zan­g­ler, played just as mumbly accented and hilariously by Laurie Murdoch. A scene in which the drunken twosome mi­rror each other is rib splitting.
This guise is an effort to further his chances with Polly Baker, played by Jackie Mus­takas, a veteran of the Drayton stage and reprising her Royal Alex Theatre role. Her perfor­mance is professional and en­chanting. She enthralls with her rendition of Someone to Watch Over Me. (And yes, she is the wife of Drayton Theatre’s artis­tic director Alex Mustakas.)
Among many other notable performances is Lorena Mac­Kenzie as Irene Roth, the sassy and thwarted but-not-for-long fiancee of Child. Her rendition of Naughty Baby is delightful.
Paul Brown, as Polly’s father, Everett, and Karen Edis­si and Keith Savage as the Fodor siblings are all Drayton favourites with never fail appeal.
The chorus and dancers are infectious with their enthu­siasm, energy, and charm. The loveable singing cowboys from Deadwood and the gorgeous gals from New York team up to put on a performance that will save the day.
Although the singing through­out is not quite flaw­less, the delivery is amazing. One example is a scene in which the dancers use simple wooden chairs as props, piling them to great heights. Baker and Child are left atop when the whirlwind clears. It  verges on miraculous how the pair descend from their precarious perch, still singing, and without loss of life or limb.
Director David Connolly had his work cut out for him here and stitched it with crafts­manship, allowing each perfor­mer to shine.
The set by Jean Claude Olivier is wonderfully ingeni­ous. From the beautifully painted moving and folding back­drops, to the swanky bot­tom­less pit of a car to the work­ing cuckoo clock, all add greatly and seemingly effort­lessly to the spectacle.
Costume Designer Rachel Berchtold has created a dazz­ling array of costumes worthy of any Broadway stage. The feathers and sequins, head­dresses, and seas of adorned legs are wonderful to behold.
Ethel Merman in her originating role in Girl Crazy said she saw in George Gersh­win a man totally fulfilled in his life. Theater goers here can appreciate that feeling for the moment.
There is still time to get tickets for Crazy For You which plays through Nov. 18. Tickets can be ordered by call­ing the box office at 519-747-7788 or toll free at 1-888-449-4463, or visit www.stjacobs­