Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Crazy for You
Signature Theatre
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's review of Nina Simone: Four Women

Ashley Spencer and Danny Gardner
Photo by C. Stanley Photography
Audiences looking for a vacation from everyday stress and care will find everything they want in the MAX Theatre at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, where Crazy for You is serving up bliss. Director Matthew Gardiner leads a joyous cast through the glorious songs of George and Ira Gershwin, both familiar and obscure, heightened by Denis Jones' unstoppable choreography.

Farceur Ken Ludwig wrote the utterly foolish and delightful book for the Tony Award-winning 1992 musical, incorporating elements from an original Gershwin musical, Girl Crazy (1930).

Rich New Yorker Bobby Child (Danny Gardner) dreams of dancing on Broadway, but instead he has to work in the bank his family owns. At his imperious mother's (Sherri L. Edelen) order, he heads to a dying Nevada town to foreclose on an old theater and falls in love at first sight with tough cowgirl Polly Baker (Ashley Spencer), who unbeknownst to him is the daughter of the theater's owner (Harry A. Winter). Bobby decides to put on a show to raise the money for the mortgage ("Mickey Rooney does it all the time in the movies," he says) and invites his friends from the chorus of the Zangler Follies to head out to Deadrock and help him. It's their summer vacation, so why not spend it in the desert?

The complications soon pile up, including some intentional confusion between Bobby and impresario Bela Zangler (Bobby Smith); surly saloon owner Lank Hawkins (Cole Burden), who wants to marry Polly and buy the theater from her father; and Bobby's high-maintenance fiancée Irene (Natascia Diaz), who gets a killer dance number of her own in the second act. Maria Rizzo also shines as the object of Zangler's attentions, and the 13-piece orchestra soars through those Gershwin melodies.

Scenic designer Paul Tate DePoo III has reconfigured the flexible MAX space into a traditional proscenium house complete with a painted backdrop for Nevada and a photo mural representing Broadway—although some of the marquees are distractingly anachronistic—and Jason Lyons' lighting design brings out every nuance. Tristan Raines' costumes range from the showgirls' rehearsal wear and the cowpokes' lived-in work clothes to Diaz's siren dresses.

Signature Theatre
Crazy for You
November 7th, 2017 - January 14th, 2018
Music and lyrics by by George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin
Book by Ken Ludwig
Co-conception by Ken Ludwig & Mike Ockrent
Inspired by material by Guy Bolton & John McGowan
Bobby Child: Danny Gardner
Bela Zangler: Bobby Smith
Irene Roth: Natascia Diaz
Mother: Sherri L. Edelen
Lank Hawkins: Cole Burden
Everett Baker: Harry A. Winter
Polly Baker: Ashley Spencer
Eugene Fodor: Thomas Adrian Simpson
Patricia Fodor: Sherri L. Edelen
Perkins: Sean Bell
Follies Girls:
Tess: Maria Rizzo
Patsy: Colleen Hayes
Mitzi: Corinne Munsch
Louise: DeMoya Watson Brown
Betsy: Jennifer Cordiner
Margie: Tricia DeSario
Sheila: Georgina Moore
Vera: Elise Kowalick
Nevada Miners and Cowboys:
Mingo: Kurt Boehm
Moose: A. Ross Neal
Sam: Harrison Smith
Pete: Thomas Adrian Simpson
Custus: Andre Hinds
Jimmy: Robert Mintz Billy: Sean Bell
Wyatt: Robbie Roby
Dance Captain: Robbie Roby
Directed by Matthew Gardiner
Choreography by Denis Jones
Music direction by Jon Kalbfleisch
MAX Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, VA 22206
Ticket Information: 703-820-9771 or 1-800-955-5566 or