‘On the Town’ opens tonight at UJ

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When the MGM film “On The Town” opened in 1949 its feature roles starred dancer Gene Kelly and crooner Frank Sinatra. It was about three sailors getting 24 hours of shore leave in New York. Like so many young single military men, they were seeking fun and excitement. At 6 a.m. it’s hard to imagine excitement of any kind, much less in the hustle-bustle of a New York subway. But there you are, and there they were, and that was their objective for that day.

Armed with his dad’s old Tour New York guidebook, to the sights of the Big Apple, Chip wants to hit the hot spots, and each of his buddies has plans of his own. Gabey is after a beautiful girl named Ivy, whose picture he saw on a poster in the subway. Their buddy Ozzie is cheerleading the romantic venture, convincing a doubting Chip that Gabey deserves to meet up with the beautiful face of Ivy Smith, also known as “Miss Turnstiles.”

True to any neophyte tourists, the boys try as they must to locate star attractions during their day. Blunder after blunder and getting out just as the cops blow the whistle, a chase that starts with one, becomes a cordon of accusers trying to give the sailors their “come-uppins” for misbehavior unbecoming a New Yorker.

The musical is alive with misdeeds and adventure. Noted scores are sung and imaginative scenarios acted upon. It is an exciting time to have a full day to get in and out of trouble and stay alive doing so.

Among some notable set design is the unfortunate candidate of Ozzie’s efforts to locate the Museum of Modern Art. Bearing a striking resemblance to a prehistoric man, Ozzie piques the scientific curiosity of Claire, a budding anthropologist at the Museum of Natural History, where the bones of a dinosaur fall victim to Ozzie’s clumsiness. (He mistakenly goes to the Museum of Natural History and not the art museum.) The professor who assembled the dinosaur gives chase, joining a cop, a cab driver’s boss, an old lady who witnessed Gabey stealing Ivy’s poster from the subway, and now Professor Figment. The quartet includes the young anthropologist who Ozzie accompanies back to her apartment, only to meet up with her fiancé, a noted judge.

Each of the trio finds adventure and makes unplanned memories while giving the audience an earful of melodies and a fun-filled stage. Mike, McIntyre, the musical’s director, said the musical selections and the choreography reach new levels.

“This show is going to set a new standard for us in terms of dance,” he said. “When the musical first came out during World War II, it had evolved from an earlier ballet and much of its ballet structure still remained after more traditional musical comedy elements were added,” he added, crediting the choreographer. “The dancers are responding beautifully to Raena McIntyre’s impressive choreography,” he said.

The cast (which include UJ students and townsfolk):

Hunter Carpenter as Chip; Alex Delzer as Ozzie; Shane Chandler as Gabey; Meggie Cronin as Hildy Esterhazy; Brittany McIntyre as Claire De Loone; Kenady Hansen as Madame Maude P. Dilly; Paul Kurtti as Pitkin W. Bridgework; ReeAnn Christianson as Lucy Schmeeler; Alyssa Smith as Flossie; Kali Jensen as Friend; Jamie Czapiewski as Little Old Lady; Courtney Martinson as Diana Dream; and Carrie Noel as Delores Delores.

The role of the New Yorkers are played by:

Riley Akervik, Sadrac Cherfils, Hannah Erickson, Carly Fuhrman, Allison Galbreath, Victoria Goodale, Dane Jessen, R.J. Johnson, Addison Olson, McKayla Williams, Warren Abrahamson, Jordan Doele, Joe Heuppel, Tyler Newton, Anthony Roth and Zach Miller.

Director and set designer is UJ’s Theater director, professor Michael McIntyre. Dr. Rick Walentine is the musical director, while Raena McIntyre is choreographer. Seasoned costumer is UJ’s nursing department head, Jackie Mangnal.

The three performances are in the Denault Auditorium, located in the Reiland Fine Arts Center, on the University of Jamestown campus: Thursday, Nov. 2, Friday. Nov. 3. and Saturday, Nov 4.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance are $10, and may be reserved by calling the box office at 252-3467, ext. 5436 or by email at mcintyre@uj.edu.

If anyone has an item for this column please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.

SHARON
COX