Theater Review | Thru Nov. 30/DeC. 8 The American Cabaret Theatre highlights the genesis and growth of rock and roll in its revue Rock Legends. While not comprehensive (anyone could claim that so-and-so shouldn"t have been left out, but if everyone"s favorite had gotten a nod we would have been at the theater all night) and sometimes slightly inaccurate (like putting a guitar in the hands of a bass player), the aesthetic is what counts. Overall, the show is a nice boogie down rock"s memory lane.
Jeff Owens as David Bowie in the ACT"s "Rock Legends"
The absolute highlight was Napoleon Williams, who did a dead-on impression of Tina Turner for "What"s Love Got to Do With It," spiked heels and all. Williams also shined in such numbers as Chuck Berry"s "Johnny B. Goode" and James Brown"s "I Got You (I Feel Good)." Also outstanding was Hayley Bridgewater as Grace Slick for "Somebody to Love/White Rabbit" and as a tough and sexy Deborah Harry (Blondie) in "One Way or Another." Unfortunately, Gary DeMumbrum"s Elvis impersonations weren"t up to par. While his sound was OK, his flailing moves did not invoke images of the King. However, he made a good Bob Dylan in "Like a Rolling Stone," commemorating Dylan going electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. All of the Beatles moments were well-done, from their mop-top days to Jeff Owen as Lennon singing while Yoko adoringly looked on. There were many hits and misses (most notable miss: Owen"s comically over-exaggerated Mick Jagger), and I felt that the sex appeal of rock, especially from the 1980s on, was underdeveloped. But the combination of good stuff plus the nostalgia effect made the evening an enjoyable one. Rock Legends continues through Nov. 30; call 631-0334 for tickets. "Music Man" The Music Man: Most of us are familiar with this musical about a swindling travelling salesman, Harold Hill, who dupes towns into buying his boys" marching band idea, complete with shiny instruments, instruction books and uniforms. Of course, by the time said implements arrive, he has split, money in pocket, his promise of leading the band as empty as the purses of the parents he"s bilked. But when Hill makes the mistake of falling in love with a piano teacher in a small Iowa town, The Music Man story gets more interesting. Well, marginally. Not that The Music Man isn"t a modern classic. It"s just been done many times, and how many of us have seen it on TV on a late-afternoon Sunday? Footlite Musicals presents a visually sumptuous rendition of this tried and true musical. The costuming by Cindra Venturella is splendid. Hardly a girl was to be seen sans bloomers. And the hairstyles were darling, thanks to Chris Arthur. Roger Schmelzer captured Harold Hill, but didn"t carry the musical parts, most of which were muddy in articulation. He was outdone by Kathleen Horrigan, an impressive Marian Paroo. Choreography was excellent (Deb Farmer), and the set was lovely (Gail Sturm), although I did have issues with one plaid-shirted tech man whose manipulations of Marian"s front porch were too obvious. The Music Man continues through Dec. 8; call 926-6630 for tickets.