Theatre Review: Sh-boom: Life Could Be a Dream

Sh-boom

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Laguna Playhouse resumes its postponed 100-year celebration with the season debut of Sh-boom: Life Could be a Dream, written and created by Roger Bean.  Mr. Bean may be best known for creating The Marvelous Wonderettes. Denny and the Dreamers perform favorite songs from the ’50s and ’60s from the comfort of Denny’s basement of his mother’s house.

Denny and the gang want to enter a radio contest to realize their dreams of making it to the big time.  The ’60s hits say it all: “Fools Fall in Love,” “Runaround Sue,” “Earth Angel,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “Unchained Melody,” “Lonely Teardrops,” “Do You Love Me?” and more.

Sh-boom
Dorian Quinn stars in the Laguna Playhouse production of “SH-BOOM! LIFE COULD BE A DREAM” – Directed and Choreographed by Jonathan Van Dyke and now playing at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. PHOTO CREDIT: Boebe Productions, Surflight Theatre

The jukebox musical will appeal mostly to an audience that is generally 50 years of age and up. The performers put a lot of heart on stage. But the paper-thin story and characters merely are there to faintly glue and carry the songs together in a small but presentable showcase of talent. It’s a proven yet predictable serving of the 1950s and 1960’s Americana nostalgia.

A youthful singing group dreams of becoming famous singers, they seek out a sponsor, conflicted with a new member of the group, a sole female eye-candy, someone drops out but returns before the show end with enough time to get the girl. The show ends with a big radio contest, but there are no other competitors and no real resolution to wrap everything up.

Willie Beaton II stars in the Laguna Playhouse production of “SH-BOOM! LIFE COULD BE A DREAM” – Directed and Choreographed by Jonathan Van Dyke and now playing at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. PHOTO CREDIT: Boebe Productions, Surflight Theatre

The show mainly wants to retain a good-feel atmosphere for the baby boomer generation. Although not crude, the real star is the toe-tapping musical performances highlighted by the short cast list. This is actually quite well situated given the current world event. The characters of Denny, Wally, and Eugene play as youthful but overexaggerated and eager to perform for an audience.

The greaser mechanic Duke and beautiful sponsor’s daughter Lois play more straight for balance and contrast to the boys. The cast is no stranger to the stage and boasts an impressive resume from Singin’ in the Rain, Hello Dolly!, Anything Goes, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, and more.

Sophia Swannell and Willie Beaton II star in the Laguna Playhouse production of “SH-BOOM! LIFE COULD BE A DREAM” – Directed and Choreographed by Jonathan Van Dyke and now playing at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. PHOTO CREDIT: Boebe Productions, Surflight Theatre

Performances through Sunday, October 31, 2021, at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Drive in Laguna Beach.  Tickets range from $51 – $101 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext.229.  Prices are subject to change.


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