Western Herald – Farmers Alley Theatre presents a musical treat with “I Love A Piano”
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Farmers Alley Theatre presents a musical treat with “I Love A Piano”

John Campbell
A&E Reporter

Courtesy Photo

Whether you’re enjoying the potential for a “White Christmas” or “Blue Skies,” Farmers Alley Theatre is the place to be for their production of “I Love A Piano,” a cabaret style show based on the works of Irving Berlin.

The show stars Michael Ehlers, Lory Moore, Jay Rincon, Amy Prothro, Elliott Litherland and Mallory King.

The show starts out with the cast playing a moving crew. The crew starts moving a piano before one of them notices it’s over 100 years old. From there, the show tells the story of the 100 years of that piano, through the Great Depression, World War II and more.

The show had many of the most well known Berlin songs as well as some lesser known songs. From the opening song of “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy” to the closing number of “I Love A Piano,” the show finds ways to wow audiences. All six performers get the opportunity show off their vocal prowess, but each performer adds a different element to the show.

The performers were accompanied by an orchestra consisting of conductor and music director Marie Kerstetter and Sarah Amos on keyboards, Jesse Williams on clarinet and saxophone, Matt Landon on guitar and ukelele, Mark Tomlonson on bass and Matthew Smalligan on percussion.

For much of the show, dancing partners stayed the same. The pairings of Ehlers and Moore, Rincon and Prothro, and Litherland and King showed off some brilliant dancing through songs like “The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing” and “Change Partners.”

W. Douglas Blickle’s scenic design is great. Even though most of the backdrop stays the same for the entire show, you still get the feeling of different locations and time periods. The central piece is set for projected images to show up behind the performers.

Lighting by Jason Frink was excellent, as well. The low lighting during a scene where they cast is in a speakeasy during Prohibition brings a sense of realism to that portion of the show.

Director, choreographer and Western Michigan University Alumnus Stephen Brotebeck has put on an extraordinary show that will leave lifelong memories.

“I Love A Piano” can be seen at Farmers Alley Theatre Dec. 27, 28, Jan. 2, 3, and 4 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 29 and Jan. 5. at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35 on Friday and Saturday nights and $33 on Wednesday and Thursday nights and Sundays. Tickets are available at the Farmers Alley Theatre box office, online at www.farmersalleytheatre.com or by phone at 269-343-2727.

 

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