Friday, August 15, 2008
LA Times Review and Calendar Live "BABY"
LA Times Review of Baby 8/14
'Baby's' a bundle of musical charm
A bouncy melodic pulse underpins "Baby" at Clyde Porter's West Valley Playhouse. The charm of Richard Maltby Jr.'s and David Shire's score carries this sweet-spirited take on the 1983 musical about expectant parents to term.
Set in an East Coast university town, "Baby" follows three couples through the trials of procreation. Unmarried students Lizzie (Nicole Ligerman) and Danny (Patrick Robert Kelly) weigh whether impending parenthood means automatic conformity. Thirty-something athletic coaches Nick (Richard Knolla) and Pam (Alissa-Nicole Koblentz) grow frustrated in their efforts to conceive. Middle-age Arlene (Marjorie Vander Hoff) and Alan (Timothy Bergen) face empty-nest syndrome until an anniversary tryst returns them to square one.
Even though topically updated, Sybille Pearson's quip-heavy book remains affably functional at best. What sets "Baby" aglow are its numbers, which rival anything in the Maltby/Shire canon, from post-feminist "I Want It All" to funky "Fatherhood Blues."
The appealing Ligerman lands her standout anthem "The Story Goes On" with soaring clarity, well attuned to Kelly, whose exuberance goes touchingly soft-grained in "I Know I Chose Right." Knolla and Koblentz bring comic heft to "Romance" and emotional fiber to "With You." As the autumnal pair, Vander Hoff and Bergen are unforced and credible.
Calendar.com Audience member reviews:
Ronnie Valley Village, CA
I have come see the musicals at the West Valley every summer for the past few years. This by far was my favorite because it wasn't a review. The leads were great. I really liked the story of the athletic couple trying to concieve and the younger college couple. They had great voices. The theatre is comfortable and I always feel welcome.
Miranda The Valley, CA
Saw the show Sunday and enjoyed it very much. The show was a little too long, but other than that it was great. My girlfriends had a good time too. Enjoyed the woman who played Pam. She was funny and had a great voice! Thought the doctor was hysterical. My friend claims we have seen this actress in other things. Love the big number with all the ladies in it too!