Broadway Features and Reviews
Sit On It?! Happy Days The Musical On The Road
By Tara Puckey, Broadway Magazine
Remember what it was like when gas was 12 cents a gallon? The performers in the touring musical production of Happy Days do, or so they remarked at a recent performance in Indianapolis. Broadway Across America took the new hit musical to Clowes Memorial Hall, and the show's opening was a jubilant dance number set in the famed Arnold's Diner. The iconic 70s television series has found new life as a touring musical production, good-bye grey skies...hello blue!
Happy Days: The Musical has been dancing and singing its way across the country. Although there were several song performances by all members of the cast, the voice of the show belonged to Felicia Finley in the role of Pinky. The Dial-Tones performed "The Thing About Girls", a fantastic number revealing the pointing, whispering, and sometimes occasional laughter from women that drives most men insane. Bike at his side, The Fonz (one of the most beloved characters ever created on television) joined Pinky in "Dancing on The Moon", the song genuinely reminded the audience how true love feels. With a creative team that includes Gary Marshall (who created the TV series) and Paul Williams (who has written some of the most popular songs of the past 40 years including Rainbow Connection and Evergreen) , this musical has been crafted with both affection and attention to detail.
That said, I expected more out of the choreography, at least in the way that it was performed. There were, however, some fantastic highlights. The tap performance by Marion, played by Cynthia Ferrer, and several other dancers amused the audience and prompted clapping and laughter. A rousing final number by the entire company showed off some of the dance partnering skills of the era and left everyone feeling they had just relived the happy days.
Matt Walker, playing Jumpy Malachi, James Dean, and Leopard Gates, caused loads of laughter throughout the night. Whether he was barking like a dog, growling like a leopard, or throwing around his James Dean hair, he truly brought the show to life. Another favorite, Joanie Cunningham, played by Whitney Bashor, touched the audience with her beautiful voice and budding love story.
Boasting comedy, song, and dance, this production sparked memories of days past for many, whether those days were on television or actually in the 1950s. Happy Days the television show remains the classic nostalgic American myth. Happy Days: The Musical was a solid production with lots to offer, though not always quite Broadway's best. With that, I'll leave you with some advice from The Fonz:
"Live fast, have fun, and never let anybody use your comb."
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