‘Shout! The Mod Musical’ at Timber Lake.
By Sue Langenberg
Opening of last show at Timber Lake Playhouse, “Shout! The Mod Musical,” was Thursday evening. An extraordinary season of talent and direction whizzed by all too soon, as if perhaps another week for each show could have filled the house with much enthusiasm. Gone are the extravaganzas of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “An Inspector Calls,” “Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein,” “Rumors” and “Les Miserables.”
While the TLP campus is comparatively quiet as large casts depart, ‘Shout!’ is anything but quiet. Five women take a nostalgic tour via London of classic ‘60s songs that describe the social mania of the times. “Goldfinger,” “These Boots are Made for Walkin’” and “Those Were The Days (My Friend)” were some songs in the medley performed by color-coded singers Daryn Harrell (Yellow Girl), Allison Hunt (Green Girl), Caroline Murrah (Red Girl), Lexie Plath (Blue Girl) and Melissa Weyn (Orange Girl).
The off-Broadway original direction by Phillip George and choreography by David Lowenstein follow five women of different ages as they navigate through life seeking answers to a myriad of relationship problems. Between love-sick advise and retro beats, the revue takes on a rousing rhythm.
It is fitting that London would the swinging scene, since it seems to be the initial spark, the cradle of creativity with the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the like that took us all by storm.
And about “us,” the era of the show fills the house with mainly gray hairs and bifocals, still joking that, “If you actually remember the ‘60s, you weren’t really there!” And thus, when ‘Shout’ covers hilarity of the sexual revolution, it gets the most laughs from the gray hairs (not for the ears of children).
For TLP, the direction of Courtney Crouse and staging of executive director James Beaudry captured the correct essence to reach these gray hairs. Often, when entire productions of yore are performed by youthful talent of the today, it is difficult to capture that fragile aura that separates the past reality from the present reality. Original performers of musical “Hair” of the ‘60s, for instance, had experienced first hand societal constraints that morphed into societal rebellion. Generations later, today’s already loosened performers don’t share that mindset — a subtle nuance, but vital in the details.
So the Crouse/Beaudry direction seemed to capture the girls effectively in that roaring time capsule throughout where hips gyrated in “The Frug,” with Blue Girl Lexie Plath who also oozed lap dances in “Don’t Sleep in the Subway.” The Marijuana scene was ingeniously crafted from giddy to foggy to fantasy.
Yet love was still that awkward self-examination as poignantly expressed by Orange Girl Melissa Weyn in “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.” Green Girl Allison Hunt most correctly expressed in “Georgie Girl” and “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love” the conflict between weakness of passion and strength of independence, a fitting theme for the era.
Also, straight from the heart of confusion was Yellow Girl Daryn Harrell in, “I Don’t Know What To Do” as she searched within. Red Girl Caroline Murrah pulsed, “Those Were The Days (My Friend)” that initiated the crescendo where the cast and audience reminisced alike into one big celebration of joyous voices, joyous times.
Second Act color codes were certified Go-Go boots, an enterprising accomplishment by costume staff Emma Crafton, Kathleen Embrey and Corina Walbert. Music by Cindy Blanc was familiar pulsing and steady heartbeat, much like fans of the era felt.
Don’t miss “Shout! The Mod Musical” at Timber Lake Playhouse, 8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll. Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., one 3 p.m. matinee Saturday August 16 and 2 p.m. matinees August 17, 20 and 24. Group rates available. Tickets go fast. Contact the box office at (815) 244-2035 or www.timberlakeplayhouse.org for more information.