Theater Review: Great music enables ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ to soar at Center Stage Theater in Fontana
By RUSSELL INGOLD
Published: Thursday, August 26, 2010 2:44 PM CDT
Center Stage Theater is now presenting the kind of musical revue that I have wanted to experience for a long time — one which features music from the 1970s and ‘80s.
As Joan Jett would say, “I love rock and roll,” and especially the music from this time period.
Happily, Center Stage has risen to the occasion and has provided just what I was hoping for, a splendid sampling of many of the hit songs that helped define the fun of these decades.
Six talented singers, backed by a trio of musicians, make this new production, “Dancing on the Ceiling,” a reason to smile.
From “Stairway to Heaven” to “Car Wash,” this revue encapsulates the various styles of music while throwing in humor and showmanship.
The main showman for the evening is Sean Sooter, who enlivens the audience with his wit as well as his dynamic vocals. He is very effective while impersonating Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” in a lengthy, well-crafted scene, and he is top-notch as the lead singer in Queen’s magnificent “Somebody to Love.”
Also performing well are Loren Smith, Lori Dina, Marissa Escobar, Shawn Samaro, and Fontana resident Nicole Barnhart.
“It’s music that I can relate to, that I grew up with as a child of the ‘80s,” said Barnhart. “All of our audience members, of all ages, have enjoyed it so far.”
Particularly enjoyable for Barnhart is an opportunity to portray Olivia Newton-John.
“She was one of my idols as a kid, and I’m excited to sing ‘Physical,” she said.
“Physical” is one of the most humorous performances of the show, and another funny highlight comes when one of the audience members is enlisted to join the group on stage for a big crowd-pleasing tune. (I won’t spoil the surprise.)
The only quibble I had with “Dancing on the Ceiling” was that I wished a few more 1980s songs had been included. It is indeed a “Thriller” to hear some Michael Jackson, but what about U2 and Run-DMC?
Nevertheless, from the start all the way to the terrific grand finale, this is a delightful way for Center Stage to kick off its new 2010-2011 season.
There are so many great songs from this era that we’re hoping that maybe musical director/ writer Todd Vigiletti, production manager Paul Edward Brown, and choreographer Jennifer Vigiletti will be able to create an all-new second show with a similar theme.
“Dancing on the Ceiling” runs on weekends through Sept. 19 on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. at 8463 Sierra Avenue.
Ticket prices for the show and dinner (either prime rib, salmon, chicken, or pasta) are $57.95 for adults, $53.95 for seniors, and $33.95 for children. Show-only tickets (without dinner) are $25.
For more information about the show, call (909) 429-7469 or visit www.centerstagefontana.com