Rockville High School
Sandwiched between two devastating world wars, the Roaring Twenties breeded endless opportunity and enthusiasm. It is in this time period that the peppy musical Good News is set. Although this Lawrence Schwab production debuted on Broadway in 1927, an updated revival was unveiled in 1993. It is this update that is performed by the talented and capable students of Fairfax High School.
It's senior year at Tait College, and everyone expects Tom Marlowe (Mathew Sikes) to bring home victory at the upcoming football championship game. No one more expectant is Patricia Bingham (Tyna Hesser), Tom's girlfriend, whose father is promising a handsome sum to the college if they succeed on Saturday. When Tom needs a tutor to help him pass astronomy so he can play in the big game, he meets Connie Lane (Madeleine Tyler), Pat's studious cousin who has no interest in football whatsoever. Running parallel to Connie's and Tom's developing relationship is that of the exuberant Babe O'Day (Kamila Adamczyk) and the cowardly Bobby Randall (Seth Strong), as well as the rekindled romance of Professor Kenyon (Marin Bronaugh) and Coach Johnson (Mikhail Goldenberg). As the musical progresses, Tom is faced with a timeless moral dilemma: do his personal interests outweigh the interests of the group?
One of the most impressive aspects of Fairfax's rendition was the performance of Adamczyk as Babe O' Day. She seamlessly stepped into character using body language and a flirtatious lilt to convey Babe's happy-go-lucky flapper attitude. She and Seth Strong performed an amazing duet in "Button Up Your Overcoat." Indeed, every cast member brought energy and pep to their roles, especially evident in the opening number "Good News." PJ Pavot, acting as team trainer Pooch Kearney, also succeeded in enamoring the audience with his witty wisecracks.
The costume department did well in creating costumes that fit the characters as well as the time period. The football uniforms were obviously not from modern era, as evidenced by the leather football helmets. Color was used adroitly to distinguish characters and add flair to the show. Had the Pi Beta Phi actresses worn grey instead of pink, their scenes would undoubtedly been less interesting to watch. Therefore, the costumes crew deserves commendation for their creative and eye-catching outfits.
The choreography was also well done. Tap dance was common in Good News, and the cast members tackled the complex dance moves masterfully, providing an engaging show to watch.
Although some aspects of the sound seemed to limit actors' vocals, the crew made do with what they had.
All in all, there's good news to report: Fairfax High School poured pep and heart into Good News. A talented cast and a hard-working crew ensure this show would wow anyone viewing it.
West Springfield High School
In 1928, college football at Tait College was the bee's knees. Good News is a hilarious yet touching musical based on the book by Laurence Schwab, B.G. DeSylva, and Rank Mendel with words and music by DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson. First opening in 1927, Good News follows three couples who attend Tait College where most of the students value a touchdown on the football field more than scoring in the classroom.
The show begins with the title song and a surge of energy that immediately transports the audience to a college campus in 1928. As shouting and dancing students emerge from both sides of the audience and bound onstage, their spirit for the upcoming big game is contagious. Heartthrob Tom Marlowe (Mathew Sikes), the handsome star of the football team, would rather hit the other team's quarterback than the books. Sikes' smooth vocals and athletic movements made female characters swoon and the audience love his character.
When Tom fails an astronomy test and is prohibited from playing in the big game, the entire school bands together to get his teacher, Professor Kenyon (Marin Bronaugh), to change her mind. Bronaugh's mature acting and physicality set her apart from the students. Bronaugh successfully captures the nuances of Kenyon's complicated past with football and academics. Luckily, Kenyon allows Tom to take a makeup exam with the hopes of joining his team on game day.
Tom's only chance to pass the makeup astronomy exam is the help of studious Connie Lane (Madeleine Tyler). Costuming Connie with large glasses, long hair, and a longer skirt quickly portrayed her as an outlier among the female students at Tait. Before meeting Tom, Connie dreams of meeting the perfect man for her in the lyrical solo "My Lucky Star." Connie proves to be lucky in love as tutoring Tom leads to them falling for one another. Tyler effortlessly balances soprano love songs with comedic comebacks. At the end of Tom and Connie's captivating duet "The Best Things in Life Are Free," they adorably exchange belongings that were absent-mindedly picked up during their encounter. The symbolism behind Tom giving Connie her textbook and Connie returning Tom's football marks the start of their complicated love story.
Technical aspects helped the audience quickly recognize which couple the story was focusing on in every scene. Each couple had a color associated with them that appeared vibrantly on the cyclorama when they took the stage and often matched the outfits of the pair as well.
Benchwarmer Bobby Randall (Seth Strong) never ceased to make the audience laugh through his committed vocals and physical humor. Not long into the show, Randall is pursued by the confident and demanding Babe O'Day (Kamila Adamczyk). Adamczyk's command of the stage is undeniable. Her over-the-top, bubbly characterization made her a captivating performer. In their duet numbers Strong and Adamczyk proved to be a dynamic pair through their contrasted characterization. Impressive, clever choreography in songs like "Button Up Your Overcoat" and "Never Swat a Fly" enhanced the chemistry between these two characters.
Throughout the show, quick scene changes combined with fun 1920's style dancing kept the energy high. Exercise inspired musical numbers, time period appropriate football uniforms, and the use of real Astroturf in the set created a sports environment. Fascinating silhouettes and group tableaus revealed characterization and continued the story in an interesting manner. The resolution of the show sorted out all the happy couples with their matches. This proved the good news written in the stars for each one of us.