The third of four musical productions this summer at Okoboji Summer Theatre was a truly remarkable evening of entertainment.
"A Grand Night For Singing" is a musical salute to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. There were several things that made the show remarkable.
The set designed by Alex Meyer was cleverly done to aid, not detract from the music. The lighting designed by Savannah Bell was perfect as a backdrop for the singers and dancers.
The outstanding talent of the band (Tom Andes, Greg Forney, Tim Schumacher and Barb Fuelberth) assisted the singers with remarkable performances.
Jonathan Brugioni and Jonathan Grunert have fantastic voices and Brugioni is a great dancer. I don't understand how he can dance and then sing without being out of breath. He obviously trained well.
The gals singing the night away were Natalie Botkins, Sicily Mathenia and Cameron Pille. They each have a wonderful voice and a stage presence that was more professional than one might expect from students their age.
Jennifer Trent and Maggie West are Stephens College students in dance. They added so much to the show. This is the first summer that Stephens has brought dance students up to OST and I, for one, am so glad they did.
I applaud director/choreographer Stephen Brotebeck for creating dance moves that could be executed on such a small stage. All seven performers danced well, and their movements told part of the story, along with the lyrics.
The story is about love — some of it good, some of it not so much.
Grunert's "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'" was gorgeous and started out the second half with high expectations that were met by everyone on that stage. Mathenia's "If I Loved You" was magnificent. I very much enjoyed Brugioni's "Love Look Away." Mathenia, Pille, Brugionia and Grunert teamed up for a hilarious version of "Don't Marry Me." Botkins gave us a heartfelt rendition of "A Wonderful Guy."
There were a total of 35 songs sung and danced to that night and each one of them was superbly performed. The audience was mesmerized by the talent and showmanship that was enhanced by the wardrobes created by Cami Huebert.
The harmony executed in "Some Enchanted Evening" was worth price of the ticket all by itself. Beautiful!
This is truly an ensemble show. The cast and crew worked so well together, due in part to Brotebeck's superb direction. No one had to carry the ball for anyone else. They all worked cohesively to give us a delightful evening of music. There are not enough adjectives to describe how wonderful the evening was for everyone in the audience. We all left the theatre with smiles on our faces, and I actually heard a few humming to themselves.
I will warn you now, Sunday night's performance is sold out. There are a few tickets left for the other shows so call the box office as soon as possible at 712-332-7773 if you want to sit back, relax and enjoy what will be a "Grand Night for Singing."