Saturday, April 25, 2015

Feeling Good at "Happy Days"

The classic TV show comes to the New Century Theater


2015 seems to be the year of television-as-stage-art. First there was I Love Lucy; one could argue that variety shows such as Motown are riffs on the ever popular singing reality shows such as The Voice or American Idol; and now we have Happy Days.

This production is a mash-up of multiple episodes of the popular show; fans will recognize several main themes. The combination translates surprisingly well, with very little feel of skipping over important points or missed plot elements.
Photo courtesy of Hennepin Theater Trust
This is a very young cast, many of whom have performed in this year's past productions at the New Century Theater. Comebacks include Kameron Nelson, Gregory Adam, Jill Iverson, and Andrew Newman. Newcomers play the leads, including Eric Heimsoth as Richie and Kory Pullam as Chachi; both are musical standouts and absolutely carry the show.
Photo courtesy of Hennepin Theater Trust.
Audience favorites, of course, included Quin Shadko as a feisty Pinky and John Zeiler as the infamous Fonzie. Both are a little pitchy in their parts, but they portray them with gusto and an enthusiasm that totally sells it. Their energy is infectious, and it drew the audience in.

Sets and costuming leave a little to be desired, although some of that is the double edged sword of the space; audiences are so close to the stage at New Century that it's easy to notice minute flaws that would be impossible to detect in a larger theater. Be aware of this if you attend.
Photo Courtesy of Hennepin Theater Trust
Happy Days runs through May 17; for more information or to buy tickets, click on this link.