Theater Review: Keith’s I Remember Mama memorable
By Bill Beard
I rarely write reviews about high school, college or community theater productions. But once in a while, I see something I feel the community should know about. Such was my feeling when I came out of Keith School’s current musical, I Remember Mama.
Jim Radloff has been one of Rockford’s “Mr. Theater” personalities for a long time. No one I know works harder to do good theater, whether with professional or amateur. And his work at Keith School is always superlative. Not just as a director of high school actors, but also as one of the most ambitious scenic designers in the whole region.
I Remember Mama is not the “perfect” show. But considering the fact this musical version of the old Van Druten play is rarely done, and considering it is a truly “old-fashioned” American musical (meaning there’s none of this “rock/pop” stuff piercing your ears and straining the singers’ voices), and especially considering the fact the story is dripping with sentimentality and traditional “family” values, this group of high school actors has done an excellent job! They are well trained, thoroughly disciplined, and obviously loving every moment of the performance.
The students do everything, including building the scenery, which in this case is extremely complicated and precisely detailed. It consists of multiple intersecting moving platforms, creating a two-story, multi-roomed house, completely fitted with appropriate period furnishings and decor. Radloff has conceptualized this production right down to every detail. The costumes, credited to the talented Jan Bacino, are magnificent. The orchestra, under Paul Steffan’s baton, is excellent. In short, this show exhibits the highest quality of professional production values!
There are too many actors to praise individually, but the entire ensemble is strong, secure and unified. This production deserves your attention and support. There are two shows Saturday, March 12, and one Sunday, March 13. Go!
From the March 9-15, 2011, issue
Print This Article