Theater Review: The Taffetas recreate the '50s at NAT

A musical memory enchantingly performed by Maria Barwegan, Jennifer Buhrow, Makeesha Sharp, and Jeny Wasilewski at NAT closes the season. Four sisters from Muncie, Ind., sing the songs of the Do Wop era, and the audience of 50-60-somethings relive the music of their youth. An overheard conversation was full of the remembered televison shows and the performers of that time. Who did sing “That Doggie in the Window”?

A few years ago, a male group, The Plaids, brought the original concept to the stage. Forever Plaid played forever at the Royal George in Chicago, and when staged at NAT had a successful run. Recalling teen-age years contributes to the popularity of this genre. Grease will play as long as that generation is here to fill the house.

Alan Williams’ costumes—tight bodices, boat necklines, full skirts enhanced with ruffled petticoats, and the glitter of rhinestones—are beautifully authentic. My red faille with lace insets has been given to granddaughter Liz. She may never wear it, but it is a family heirloom.

Musical accompaniment under the direction of Timm Adams supports the singers. Jill Beardsley’s choreography gives all the right moves to the girls. Body movement has always been an inherent part of musical groups, and never more so than in the days of The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and 100 other close harmony quartets/trios.

Looking forward to next season at NAT… Tony Vezner in his Director’s Notes gives us a preview. The holiday show will be Alice in Wonderland, and Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream shows us the lighter side of the Bard. A long-running piece in Chicago, Over the Tavern, highlights a pre-teen’s difficulties with a nun. Stones in His Pocket stars Steve Vrtol, and founder J.R. Sullivan returns to NAT to direct.

In that overheard conversation, everyone tried to recall Rod MacDonald’s television show. As a part of the finale, a picture of Rod in his funny hat and horned-rimmed glasses advertised, The Roddy Mac Show… down memory lane.

The Taffetas runs through May 29. Box office—964-6282. You may want to inquire about season tickets for next year.

From the May 4-10, 2005, issue

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