In association with Leonard Soloway and Steven M. Levy
FROM MY HOMETOWN
Conceived by LEE SUMMERS
Written by LEE SUMMERS, TY STEPHENS & HERBERT RAWLINGS, JR.
Original Music by LEE SUMMERS, TY STEPHENS & WILL BARROW
Gramercy Theatre, 127 E. 23 St., NYC, Opening Night: July 22, 2004 (Closed August 21, 2004)
Laurie Lawson’s rave review of the 2003 production at The Kirk Theatre, NYC:From My Hometown 2003
Directed and Co-Choreographed by KEVIN RAMSEY
Musical Director/Orchestrator JO LYNN BURKS
Co-Choreographer LESLIE DOCKERY
Associate Choreographer ROBERT H. FOWLER
Set and Projection Design MATTHEW MYHRUM
Lighting Design AARON SPIVEY
Costume Design DEBORAH A. CHERETUN
Sound Design RYAN POWERS
Press Representation OPR/ORIGLIO PUBLIC RELATIONS
Philly – Rodney Hicks
Detroit – André Garner
Memphis – Kevin R. Free
Conductor/Keyboards – Stacey Penson
Bass – Thom Zlabinger
Guitar – Jim Hershman
Drums – Kenneth Crutchfield
To sum it up simply, Lee Summers’ FROM MY HOMETOWN is brilliantly audience-friendly. The kind of show that encourages singing along with the performers, enthusiastic clapping, and an all-around helluva fine time, this feel good musical is the antidote to all doldrums.
Why this show works is perhaps the more interesting point. Founded on a thin premise (in 1980, three young men leave their homes in Philadelphia, Detroit and Memphis to seek fame and fortune at New York’s Apollo), FROM MY HOMETOWN aims to please, to go down easy, and to succeed by standing on a firm base of familiarity, nostalgia, and an inspired collection of hit songs. Teaming a traditional happy-ending, rags to riches tale with twenty-four R&B classics and 8 new songs, not to mention a lot of hard work is this production’s formula for success. Add in a fantastic cast, a fine live band, tight direction, neat choreography, simple yet effective set design, nice costumes and some flashy lighting, and the total vision comes to glorious life onstage.
Do not head to FROM MY HOMETOWN in search of deep stories and heavy-handedness. Head to it ready to clap your hands, hum some tunes and break out in a smile. Most of all, enjoy.
- Kessa De Santis -