NAPPANEE — “Life Could Be A Dream’ is the opening musical for the 2019 season at the Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee. The production features five actors making their debut at Amish Acres this year.
This fast paced, high energy musical takes place in 1960 in the Varneys’ basement where an intercom system allows Denny’s mom the ability to communicate with him. It seems the local radio station is holding a talent contest and Denny Varney (Conor McGary) and his stumbling, bumbling friend Eugene Johnson (Cash Maciel) think, with practice, they can win. The prize: A one-year recording contract.
As the boys are practicing, their friend, Wally Patton (Steven Drake) comes to call and the duo becomes a trio.
Denny’s mom keeps reminding him he needs to “get a job!” However, he has other priorities, like the contest he plans to win, then he won’t have to find a job. The song, “Get a Job,” a hit for The Silhouettes in 1957 is just what mom ordered and the guys do a first rate “job” on this song.
Next to arrive is Skip Henderson (Cody Davis), an auto mechanic who soon becomes the fourth member of the singing group, which has now adopted the name, Denny and the Dreamers, because Denny considers himself the leader.
Once the trio becomes a quartet, they practice and practice and practice, with each singing a solo and each becoming part of a trio with rhythm, harmonies and dance steps. Of course, each practice features not only a new soloist but also a new song.
Last on stage is Lois Franklin (Sarah Williams) who’s dad owns the auto shop where Skip works. And, yes, the shop will sponsor the Dreamers. Franklin also plays the part of Denny’s mom and does a fantastic job with both women — the older mother and the younger Lois.
Each of the guys fancies himself in love with Lois. Each vies for her affection. Which will she choose?
There is no one person who is the star of this show. McGary makes the perfect teen of the ‘60s who is trying to do what he wants, not what his mom wants. Maciel does a terrific job as the odd man out, fumbling and bumbling across the stage and remembering when Lois turned her back on him. Drake portrays a preacher’s son and turns in a superb performance. Davis is outstanding as the mechanic, Their antics throughout the show brings plenty of laughter. Here’s hoping all stay at Amish Acres for the summer.
Songs like “ShBoom (Life Could Be A Dream),” “Mama Don’t Allow It,” “The Wanderer, “Earth Angel,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and “Rama Lama Ding Dong,” bring back all kinds of memories for the older members of the audience. The orchestra, playing off stage, consists of Music Director Steve Zumbrum on keyboard, Ji Hon Kang on saxophone and Jonathan Brown on drums. A tip of the hat to all three for a job well done.
Do they win the contest? I’ll not tell. Go see the show and find out. For tickets call (800) 800-4942 or go online at amishacres.com.
The show runs through May 11.