Backwards In High Heels ReviewPublished: Thursday, August 20, 2015 By: Camille Kaiser Source: The Cue
Under the expert direction and choreography of Jeremy Benton (who also portrayed Fred Astaire to perfection), and the musical direction of Jose C. Simbulan, the audience was treated to show-stopping dance numbers and classic as well as some original songs. Mr. Benton assembled a remarkably multi talented cast which dazzled the audience from beginning to end.
Darien Crago portrayed Ginger to perfection, from an energetic, determined teenager to the self-assured young woman who took charge of her destiny. Ms. Crago has superb acting ability and vocal skills. She mesmerized us with her gracefulness, appearing to not even touch the floor as she glided through her numerous dance numbers. Erica Amato, as Lela Rogers, charmed the audience with “Babyface” and “All My Eggs in One Basket”. There was good mother/daughter chemistry which made for some touching as well as humorous moments.
The ensemble (Avital Asuleen, Jacob ben Widmar, Matt Gibson, Sebastian Goldberg, Ryan Steer and Amy Van Nordstrand) gave us some good tap numbers and filled out the story by giving give us a humorous glimpse of old-time Hollywood with their over-the-top depiction of behind-the-scenes antics as well as their portrayal of celebrities of the day.
Costume design by Heidi Giarlo, hair and wig design by Jodi Mancuso were spot on. Set design by Steven Loftus and lighting design by Andrew Gmoser added the finishing touches to the to production.
I didn’t think there was enough story here to justify a full-length musical about a woman we already knew through her movies and as Fred Astaire’s partner. But Ms. Crago’s performance was so outstanding that she made the show a blockbuster despite a weak book.
Performances continue through September 20th. For reservations, call 914 592-2222.