By Sheri Berger
TADA Theatre, February 10, 2022 7:30PM
This delightful comedy musical will make you wonder – Why Do We Fools Fall In Love? The women in this show, living in early 1960s America, have their ups and downs when it comes to their relationships and finding true love, like all humans. From the joys of being loved, to the sadness of being hurt, to the resiliency of moving on, this show is a musical glimpse into every ‘fool’s journey’ when it comes to love. Millie, played by Catherine Bobst, is the home base of the story and her character is ultimately treated unfairly after following expectations and marrying. The girls, Sally, Florence “Flo,” and Dee Dee (Flo’s relative) gather at Millie’s house for her impromptu Bachelorette Party, complete with burnt Salisbury Steak TV dinners and lots of Tequila. The play is jam-packed full of music from the 1960’s, and all four of the performers in this play have excellent onstage chemistry and harmony. The smooth transitions into their songs and solos made for an enjoyable experience.
Just looking through the song list in the program gives you some hint of the story: “It Hurts to Be in Love,” “I Will Follow Him,” “I stand Accused (of Loving You),” “Where Did I Go Wrong?,” “Goin’ Out of My Head,” and many others, all speak of the happiness (“feeling smushy inside” as Dee Dee would say), hurts, disappointments, and vulnerabilities of love.
These four ladies are of their time: a time when having the right relationship or marriage was essential for a stable life, because women’s options for security were limited, and at a time when many men were only as faithful as their options. Sally, played by Kylie Ensrud, is the most experienced, and a bit of a rebel. Though she’s the most heartbroken in love, she has also developed a callous side. Her character represents one of the many women of the time who lit the first sparks of female resiliency that would grow into a movement in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. In 1960’s fashion, you could describe Sally as “cool,” and she could easily be pictured dating Fonzie himself (“aaaaay.”) Flo, played by Elysia Ann Arntzen, is an introverted librarian who often falls in love with men who either don’t know she exists, or gets involved with men that have constant run-ins with the law. Dee Dee, played by Cris Rook, is a more comedic over-the-top nerdy character with just a dash of Gilda Radner thrown in for good measure. Watch out, Dee Dee will “flip her lid” if she gets too much sugar!
Each of the four talented singers had various solos throughout the evening, accompanied by the other characters’ backup harmonies. Of particular note, Catherine Bobst (Millie) did a fabulous rendition of “Hurt So Bad,” made famous by Little Anthony and the Imperials in 1964. Catherine’s well-trained voice transitioned nicely into a smooth jazz style that showed off her wide range. Kylie Ensrud was captivating – and heartbreaking at the same time – when she sang “Untrue, Unfaithful (That Was You),” originally sung by Nita Rossi in 1965. Elysia Ann Arntzen (Flo), showed off her classically trained voice in the medley “Here There Lonely Boy” / “Goin’ Out Of My Head.” Cris Rook’s rendition of “Gee Whiz,” originally performed by Carla Thomas in 1960, showed off her beautiful and strong voice. The choreography, also done by Cris Rook, was very fun and appropriate for the era. The story, costumes, hairdos, and music of this musical takes the audience for a nostalgic stroll down memory lane; for some others it gives an introduction to a memorable era of music for the first time. This is a great show to enjoy with your sweetheart around Valentine’s Day.
Why Do Fools Fall in Love? was written by Roger Bean, who also has written and created The Marvelous Wonderetts and its many sequels for Off-Broadway, Life Could Be A Dream (a Spectacular Salute to the Greatest Doo-Wop Hits of All Time), Honky Tonk Laundry (A Salute to the Women of Country), The Andrews Brothers (A Musical Salute to the Swinging 40’s), Summer of Love (A 60’s Celebration of Love), and Route 66.
Before the show began, we were treated to a short opening night introduction by Director Bob Rook and Board President Rodney Fowler. TADA’s 2022 Season is dedicated to the memory of Jim Gordon, and the audience was given a short introduction to each of the shows. I always enjoy hearing from the directors before a show, and Bob and Rodney did a nice job and had some fun banter. The set was very well done, thanks to Scenic Designer Jenna Williamson and Scenic Painting and Props by Jon Kruse, and Master Stage Carpentry by Kevin Welch. Costume Coordination was done by Karen Statham, Lighting Design by Robert D. Rook, and Sound Operation by John Batenhorst. Stage Management by Elysia Ann Arntzen and Musical Direction and Choreography by Cris Rook.
This show is available in-person and also has a live-stream option, which was Coordinated by Gavin Kelley Rasmussen. Patrons have two great options to catch these great female voices for a nostalgic night in the theater or at home. Get your tickets now, and you’ll have it “made in the shade!” For tickets go to tadaproductions.info.
If you go: Shows run through Febraury 27th. Remember to bring your vaccination card or negative Covid test results, and be prepared for a temperature check. Masks are required. TADA Theatre is located in the Historic Haymarket District, 701 P Street, Lincoln, NE. Curtain times are at 7:30PM Thursday through Saturday, and 2PM on Sunday.
Sheri Berger is a business minion, dog momma, arts groupie, and co-host of the Platte River Bard Podcast with her husband, Chris Berger.
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