Monday, August 25, 2008

Tom Sawyer the musical

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Saw the Nashville Dinner Theatre production of Tom Sawyer this weekend. A coworker was in it, so it would have been worth going just for the potential it offered for good-natured teasing (not that he doesn't provide enough of that otherwise...he's a good sport). But it was actually good.

Good cast, though a little uneven on the acting; the variety of accents was a little distracting to my picky ear (broadcasting training will do that to a person). Which is to be expected with this level of theatre (not that I'm an expert), so no complaints there. Some of the younger ones were drama camp "graduates" and I could tell they were having a good time. The songs, by hit writer Don Schlitz ("The Gambler," "Forever & Ever Amen") were most excellent; it's easy to believe he has a ridiculous number of #1 hits. The music was good; never seen the band set up above and behind the stage before. The set, lighting and special effects were impressive.

The sound was unfortunately especially bad, and took away from everything else. People were literally holding their fingers in their ears. Other coworkers said the performance they attended had the same problem. I was in a room full of mostly older folks (the NDT is in a senior center), and kind of envied any who might have hearing aids they could turn down. I assumed the sound guy was one of those former road-warriors whose ears have been assaulted by too many decibels across too many miles, or have spent too much time between headphones, to be able to sense a proper level. He did have a tough job trying to keep up with so many microphones, so I give him credit there; on the other hand, feedback is less a problem when the volume isn't too high. And why does a person choose popular vocal music to play (also too loud) before and after acts? It competed with both the play and any conversations at the tables. Pick some other gig to show off your girlfriend's custom CD, dude; we're trying to talk here.

The dinner itself was pretty good, especially considering the play had been held over past the contract with Shoney's. The service, provided by local youth groups, was good, too. And of course, good company made it all a great evening.

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