Theater Review: ‘Rock Around the Clock’ at The Pines
Rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well at The Pines Dinner Theatre in its latest production, “Rock Around the Clock,” continuing Wednesday through Sunday through July 7.
With reminders of sock hops, jukeboxes and malt shops, the revue has more than 50 hits from the 1950s and ‘60s, including “Rock Around the Clock,” popularized by Bill Haley & The Comets.
The loosely-constructed plot centers around six high school teenagers gearing up for summer vacation, with cruising in their cars, finding dates and dancing on their “hit parade.” The familiar songs and lyrics help move the action along. In the first minute, the cast belts out “At the Hop,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “My Boyfriend’s Back.”
Paired as couples, and dressed in color-coordinated costumes, the cast is in perpetual motion. In the June 2 performance seen for this review, the girls, Rhonda (Abigail Garrigan), Cynthia (Mikaela Krall) and Marty (Amber Blatt), were at their best lamenting the loss of the “Leader of the Pack.” Their hand gestures to the sound effects of motorcycle engine revving was good for a few laughs.
There is nice interaction between the girls and guys in “Hit the Road, Jack,” but the men steal the show.
In a tribute to Elvis, the character of Johnny (Edsel Romero) deserves a prize for his rendition of “Love Me Tender,” which he ended with a wink. He has the voice and all the right moves. Richie (Dom Torres) adds energy and romantic appeal to the threesome.
The standout of the show, however, is the bespectacled Norman (James Ofalt), who merely stares at the audience to generate peals of laughter. He has an amazing vocal range, doing the falsetto in “Sherry Baby.” His impression of Jerry Lewis singing “Great Balls of Fire” is “a wow.”
Sharing the stage with the actors are talented band members Stacy Bechtel, conductor and keyboard; Beth McElroy, percussion; and Thomas Mondschein, with some excellent solos on guitar.
The production, including set and lighting design, costumes and choreography, is the work of co-producers Oliver Blatt and Stacey Yoder. As always, they manage to create an eye-appealing set, colorful costuming and vigorous dancing on a space-challenged stage.
Tickets: Pines Dinner Theatre box office, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown; pinesdinnertheatre.com; 610-433-2333