If show tunes are your bag, Cambria's Pewter Plough Playhouse is presenting a St. Nick's bundle of them with its musical revue, “Broadway Belles & A Beau.”
And what a mixed bag it is.
Among the 30 songs from some two dozen Broadway musicals, there is no particular theme, nor was one intended. The goal of sheer entertainment was nicely met.
Director Janice Peters gave the nine cast members free rein. “They chose the songs that they love,” she said. The selections are proof in the plum pudding that you just can’t account for some people's taste.
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The mix in this grab bag ranges from corny to campy, from moody to vampy. The entertainers' garb goes from calico to feather boas and sequined Mardi-Gras-style tunics.
Peters, who also performs, seldom gets to dress fancy in her many Plough roles, but she puts on the dog while demonstrating her terrific vocal chops boasting about a girl's best friend.
Comedian Beth Marsha does a cleverly worded medley about local coastal towns to Broadway tunes. Belting out “Hello Dolly” she's like a cross between Barbra Streisand and Jimmy Durante. Favoring portraying wholesome country girls, Jill Disbrow is the antithesis of wicked. Janine Elich bursts forth in optimistic bloom with her pick of a flower-titled number. As a dark contrast, in a glorious voice, Anita Schwaber is a force to be reckoned with as a vindictive hotel maid who wields her broom like a sharp weapon.
Peters said her efforts enlisting men for this production were fruitless, with one exception. Ironically, as the only guy, Jeff Walters plays a drag queen. He is outstanding camping it up as a mad transvestite, although his performance might be off-putting to those expecting family entertainment. Skylar Marshall gets a pinky's up for Walters' elaborate costume and make-up.
The show's choreographer, Susan Hay, mugs it up describing what Lola wants. Her costume for “Summertime,” a far cry from a mammy crooning to orphaned children, is an example of how this gorgeous song's meaning has been discarded.
Many people are unaware that such familiar songs came from musicals. In this show, all but a few were made into movies, and one did a reversal. Before it was transformed into a Broadway show, “Oliver!” was a Disney animation, which likely sparked 12-year-old Ali Burkhead to choose some of her favorite things.
Except for Ali and the youthful Disbrow, the cast is heavy on the older side of the age scale, with selections that generally indicate their generation. As the eldest, Viv Goff has had the most time to touchingly wonder how long this has been going on.
Despite the lack of chronology in the performances' order, many tunes have a timeless quality or will trigger memories from times past.
This holiday event nods to this time of year with potted poinsettias at the base of the red-velvet curtains. The ensemble also sings a Christmas song to close not only the show, but the Plough's 39th season.
Contact Lee Sutter at email@example.com.
‘Broadway Belles & A Beau’
7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; through Dec. 20
Pewter Plough Playhouse, 824 Main St., Cambria
$22, $17 students
927-3877 or www.pewterploughplayhouse.org