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Susan Weinrebe
Performance Reviews
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
United States
Chicago, IL

Movin' Out in Chicago

by Susan Weinrebe
June 28, 2006
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
50 E. Congress Parkway
Chicago, IL 60605
President: Lou Raizin
Vice President: Suzanne Bizer
Vice President: Eileen LaCario

June 28 䴋 July 29, 2006

Conceived by: Twyla Tharp
Music and Lyrics by: Billy Joel
Scenic Design: Santo Loquasto
Costume Design: Suzy Benzinger
Lighting Design: Donald Holder
Sound Design: Brian Ruggles, Peter J. Fitzgerald
Additional Arrangements and Orchestrations: Stuart Malina
Casting: Jay Binder Casting, Jack Bowdan
Hair Design: Paul Huntley
Synthesizer Programmer: David Rosenthal
Music Coordinator: John Miller
Musical Consultant: Tommy Byrnes
Assistant Choreographer/Assistant Director: Scott Wise
Production Associate: Jesse Huot
Technical Supervisor: Michael Connors
Dance Supervisor: Kim Craven
Tour Marketing & Press: Amy Katz
Production Stage Manager: Eric Sprosty
General Manager: Abbie M. Strassler
Company Manager: Kimberly Helms
Musical Continuity and Supervision: Stuart Malina
Press Representative: Ted Boles
Directed and Choreographed: Twyla Tharp

Paino/Lead Vocals: Darren Holden, Matthew Friedman
Guitar/Vocals: Denny Blake; Bass/Vocals: Greg Smith
Drums: Michael Sorrentino, Joe Bergamini
Saxophones/Percussion: John Isley; Saxophones/Vocals, Band Director: Bryan Steele
Trumpet: Raul Agraz; Trombone/Vocals: Mark Miller; Synthesizer: Carmine Giglio
Band Tech: Dodd Ashe; Coordinator: John Miller

Starring: Troy Edward Bowles, Stuart Capps, Laura Feig, Cody Green, Laurie Kanyok, Elizabeth Parkinson, Keith Roberts, Rasta Thomas and Darren Holden, Matthew Friedman

Cast: Kristine Bendul, Joshua Bergasse, Todd Burnsed, Christopher Compton, Tamara Compton, Kim Craven, William V. Credell, Jason DePinto, Sam Franke, Susanne Gorman, Todd Hanebrink, Sarah Hinman, Allison Jay, Sean Maurice Kelly, Marc Mann, Eric Otto, Lawrence Rabson, Matt Rivera, Eric S. Robertson, Whitney Simler, Lynda Sing, Shylo Smith, Michael Snipe, Jr., Natalie Turner, Julie Voshell
In the least self-consciously Tharpish work I've seen by the estimable choreographer, Twyla Tharp, Movin' Out departs from her usual iconic work. For nearly two hours, Ms. Tharp's dancers rollick and roll to twenty-four Billy Joel standards and enact the story of young couples swept up in the emotions of their youth, the turbulence of war, and its aftermath.

When the curtain went up, Darren Holden, and his rock band crew blasted through the overture, "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," from their loft perch over the stage. Notice was served that between the blurring fury of his gyrotechnical piano technique, and the high speed power of the dancers, if we'd missed our afternoon caffeine it didn't matter. They had enough energy for the full house.

Reprising their Tony Award nominated roles as Brenda and Tony, Elizabeth Parkinson and Keith Roberts created characters known to anyone who's ever come through the crucible of high school. Rasta Thomas as Eddie, put the final point on the triumvirate of eye-riveting principals in the danced narrative of Movin' Out.

Portraying teenagers in the briefly idyllic time just before the Vietnam Era, they were soldiers and home fronters who came through the war years. Then, as the searching, sometimes lost souls of the '70's, redemption was their reward for having survived their lives and times. These three, particularly, not only consummate dancers, but actors as well, fully created the characters of their rolls. They personified Brenda, Tony and Eddie as credibly as actors besides performing the complex and seried movement that is always a hallmark of Twyla Tharp's work.

Looking like the result of cross breeding between Anne Margaret and Nicole Kidman, it was not just her red hair and forever-after legs that riveted attention when Ms. Parkinson was on stage. As one third of the smoldering chemistry with her partners, Roberts and Thomas, her indefinable "IT" marked every moment of her considerable stage share with star-quality sizzle.

This must also be said for the talents of Roberts and Thomas. Very different in their physicality, but equally strong in their parts, even their facial nuances, seen in binocular close up, brought authenticity to the torment and rapture in their boys-to-men metamorphoses. Each of these performers demonstrated virtuoso quality as they propelled the tale of a nearly lost generation to its glad conclusion.

A coin tossed in the air is usually called "Heads!" or "Tails!" but I think Twyla Tharp would call it "Edge!" Using Billy Joel's distinctive tunes and narratives as the backbone of a unified story line, is such a call, blending her synthesis of music, theater and dance into the thrilling production, Movin' Out.
Elizabeth Parkinson in Movin' Out

Elizabeth Parkinson in Movin' Out

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus

Elizabeth Parkinson in Movin' Out's Mulberry Street number

Elizabeth Parkinson in Movin' Out's Mulberry Street number

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus

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