What do you get when you combine the largest floating casino in New York with the threat of an earthquake and a soundtrack chock-a-block with kitzchy songs from the 70s? Well, you get St. Peter High School’s latest musical production Disaster! that’s what.
|Members of St. Peter High School’s musical theatre program perform in Disaster! The Musical at the Shenkman Arts Centre on Saturday, Dec 10.
FRED SHERWIN PHOTO.
Set on a floating casino that’s moored to a pier set into a fault zone, Disaster! is another in a long line of very entertaining productions starring the seeming endless talents of the students enrolled in the musical threatre program at St. Peter accompanied by members of the Grade 11/12 concert band.
The play was co-written by American playwrites Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick as an ode to 70s-era disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and The Towering Infero.
Of those three, Disaster! is more in the vein of The Poseidon Adventure.
The play was very nearly a real disaster when the actor playing Dr. Ted Scheider suffered a separated shoulder near the end of the first half of the play during the Jan. 10 performance which forced the director to cancel the second half.
The actor in question managed to return to the production, albeit in a wheelchair, for both shows on Saturday and carrried off his scenes like a real trooper.
I will try to give an abridged version of the plot as best I can, although I can’t name any of the actors owing to the fact that St. Peter productions never have an actual program to help you figure out who the characters are or who’s playing who. It’s frustrating and annoying and makes it incredibly difficult to write an actual review, but it is what it is.
The floating casino is owned by Tony Delvecchio Jr. who cut multiple corners in building the vessel in order save money.
His star lounge singer is Jackie Noelle who is on the casino with her twin children Lisa and Ben.
Chad Rubik is a flirtatious caterer who is working at the event with his friend Scott. Marianne Wilson is a New York Times reporter who is writing an expose on the floating casino. She was once engaged to Chad, but left him at the altar to pursue her career.
Then there is an older Jewish couple named Maury and Shirley, who were absolutely hilarious, a washed up disco diva named Levora Verona, who is looking for her big break, and Sister Mary Downey, who is a recovering gambling addict.
The production is peppered with songs from the 70s that weave their way in and out of the dialogue. At one point, Sister Mary Downey breaks into “Born Between Two Lovers” when trying to decide between keeping her vow to God, or playing the slot machine.
Without naming names I must say my favourite performances were turned in by the young actors who played Chad, Shirley and Sister Mary Downey.
Levora Verona also had her moments, most notably during her perfomances of “Knock on Wood” and “Come To Me”, and the Marianne Wilson character did a great job of Helen Ready’s “I Am Woman”.
The entire cast was truly wonderful, which is a tribute to the amount of work they put in during rehearsals and their abundant talent