I'm Just Wild about Harry Review - 1911 Comes Alive

A delightful musical farce based on “Charley’s Aunt,” I’M JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY includes nostalgic favorites like “A Bicycle Built for Two, “You Made Me Love You,” and “I’m Just Wild about Harry.” Try as you might, you can’t wipe that smile from your lips as you chuckle, chortle, and outright guffaw while this comedy of errors merrily dances along.

Michael J. Marchak, Michael Mullen, and David Jubala - Photo by Divimage

In fact, it’s certain that you’ll become wild about Harry too. In turn-of-the-century Milwaukee – with turn-of-the-century rules of propriety – Harry (David Jubala) has a problem. He and his friend Jack (Michael J. Marchak) want to entertain their sweethearts, Margie (Jolie Adamson) and Katy (Amy Segal), so that they can propose – but they need to find a chaperone so that the girls’ reputations remain intact. What to do? Their friend Benjamin (Michael Mullen), an aspiring actor who is preparing to play Lady Bracknell in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” presents the perfect solution: he can impersonate Harry’s aunt, a wealthy widow from Brazil. Then who should show up unexpectedly? You guessed it. Harry’s aunt and her companion (Michelle Holmes and Renee Cohen), all the way from Brazil.

David Jubala, Amy Segal, Michael J. Marchak, and Jolie Adamson - Photo by Divimage

Based on Brandon Thomas’ rollicking farce, “Charlie’s Aunt,” I’M JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY transports the audience to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, of 1911 – in the process carrying along a bunch of  well-known and very sing-able tunes from the earliest days of the twentieth century. The cast really dance for their supper – literally - in this clever adaptation by Gary Lamb and William A. Reilly. Smiles and songs abound as Harry and Jack try to get around an awkward social necessity in a very creative and ultimately hysterical way.

Michael Mullen - Photo by Divimage

Will the impersonation work? How will Harry handle having two aunts? With the same name? Will the girls catch on? Will the boys manage to propose? Will Jack’s widowed father (Ryan Thor) find happiness? And who’s Guido Spettigue (Kristian Steel) anyway? Musical director William A. Reilly and director Lisaun Whittingham work together with the multi-talented cast to keep the audience involved and laughing.

Renee Cohen, Michaelle Holmes, Amy Segal, and Jolie Adamson - Photo by Divimage

As always, the production team does a great job of making the small stage seem bigger and grander. Zad Potter’s lighting and set design, Michael Mullen’s costumes, and Lucas Dunwoody’s sound enhance this musical farce. These guys really know how to create something out of very little to project the perfect backdrop for the merry goings-on. I’M JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY is great family fare and seems guaranteed to tickle everyone’s funny bone. Besides, you’ll probably leave the theater humming.

Michelle Holmes and Renee Cohen - Photo by Divimage

I’M JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY runs through February 5, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Crown City Theatre is located at 11031 Camarillo Street, North Hollywood, CA 91602 (just behind St. Matthew’s Church). Tickets cost $30 ($20 for students and seniors). . For information and reservations, call 818-605-5685 or go online.   

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