By Kristi Kates
Over 4,000 sequins, a troupe of fired-up performers, and meticulously-choreographed numbers from a plethora of Broadway musicals are what Bay Views production of Razzle Dazzle is bringing to the Petoskey area for a short-run theater production this July.
A collaboration between the festivals Director of Theater Arts Paul Nelson and the Creative Edge production company, Razzle Dazzle will also showcase a couple of performers with local ties to Bay View.
There is a wonderful history and connection with Creative Edge Productions and the Northern Michigan audience, Paul Nelson explains, in 2001, Bay View residents Peggy Child Smith and myself and Elizabeth (Nelson) formed PEP Productions, and we began producing professional summer stock theater at the Crooked Tree Arts Center. PEP Productions strove to hire regional talent in order to showcase Michigan performers. One of those actors was Larry Young; with his comic timing, beautiful voice, and engaging persona, Larry was a favorite of audiences. After PEP closed up shop, Larry founded Creative Edge Productions with his partner, Kelly Carey a few years later, and he contacted Peggy and myself to let us know what he was doing.
Nelson says that he saw another great opportunity to present professional musical theater while easing the workload on his own staff; so after working on a show in 2009, with Creative Edge, Larry and Kelly it was a natural, Nelson says, to reenlist the Creative Edge team for Bay Views 2010 production, Razzle Dazzle.
Two of Razzle Dazzles main cast members, Jolene and Mike Frankey, actually met in New York City while working as professional performers, but were taught their craft by a long-time Bay View resident.
Both Frankeys were students of Mary Catherine Dykhouse, whose family has been in Bay View for generations, and who grew up performing on the Bay View Stage. Dykhouse went on to a successful singing career, eventually becoming a professor at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she taught voice. Today, her students - including the Frankeys - work in regional theater, on cruise ships, and on the big Broadway stages.
Ms. Dykhouse passed away this past winter (terribly missed by all who knew her, Nelson says), and the Frankeys are dedicating their performances in Razzle Dazzle to her memory.
This is a lovely tribute to not only a great teacher, says Nelson, but also to a beloved friend and treasured member of the Bay View community. She touched many lives and it is wonderful to have her legacy performing on the same stage she did.
SONG AND DANCE
Also working that stage will be co-stars Kelly Carey and Larry Young himself; Kyle Amanda Dutkiewicz, a multiple award-winner in choreography and directing, will serve as choreographer and co-director. And as for those 4,000 sequins? Therell be more, and counting.
Larry wont let me have as many sequins as I want, because sequins are expensive! Kelly Carey laughs, but rest assured that the costumes will be colorful, flashy and fun.
As far as exactly what music will be performed, suffice it to say a little something for everyone, as Nelson explains.
This production is packed full of both old and new Broadway material, he says, including songs from Chicago, The Music Man, Gypsy, In the Heights, Grease, Wicked, Jersey Boys, and Guys and Dolls.
While Razzle Dazzle doesnt have a specific storyline, characters, or dialogue, Nelson says that the performers bring the songs to life by presenting them outside the context of their original shows, making them entertaining musical pieces in their own right.
There is a lot of fun choreography, and there are a lot of show stopping musical numbers, he enthuses, the audience will be blown away by the singing, dancing and high quality performances. These shows are perfect summer theater, filled with familiar songs and great dancing; it is a fast paced, light-hearted and engaging evening of fun.
Razzle Dazzle will offer performances on July 1-3, and 6-9 in Bay Views Voorhies Hall at 1600 Encampment Avenue in Petoskey, telephone 231-347-4210. For further information and tickets, visit their website at www.bayviewfestival.org.