Kate Smith, Landon Scholar, Lauren McCombs, & Andrew Newton in The Wild Party. Photo courtesy CenterStage.

The Wild Party

Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Based on a poem by Joseph Mancure Marchs

Review by Leila Toba


Entire contents copyright © 2018 Leila Toba. All rights reserved.

The Wild Party is a story about a romance between Queenie, a vaudeville dancer, and Burrs, a vaudeville clown that, after three years, has started to fizzle out. Burrs is passionate and loving, but also jealous and aggressive, while Queenie is the Belle of the Ball, a blonde bombshell who decides that a party is just the thing they need to shake things up.

This show really lives up to its name and opens with some great costuming and choreography, which immediately pulls the audience into the smoky 1920’s setting. As Queenie, Kate Smith is pretty and energetic and dances well. She mixes grace and sex appeal with confident ease. Though she makes the character fun and flirtatious, she is strongest when we see Queenie’s descent, weighed down by her own actions. Landon Sholar is fierce as Burrs, with strong vocals and a dizzying blend of tenderness and madness. He is resolute in this role, creating excitement and apprehension throughout the show.

Things heat up even more when Kate enters the party. Lauren McCombs really shines in this role, and she boldly takes liberties that create greater depth and feeling in the show. Her voice is fervid and alive; she is truly the life of this party. Andrew Newton as Mr. Black is the perfect antithesis to her rabid character, with soothing vocals and calm sincerity.

A party this wild is made best with a little help from friends, and this show is elevated with the support of a great ensemble. Great moments from featured members included Sue Crocker as Madelaine True, a fun loving if bumptious lesbian, who adds to the laughs with her bold delivery of “An Old Fashioned Love Story”. David Beach and Erin Jump are a delight as Eddie and Mae, and their duet of “Two of Kind” is a charming break the intensity of the show. Oscar (Tony Vincent) and Phil (Scott Goodman) were fun and a light-hearted pleasure. Some of my favorite moments included dance solos by Jackie (Molly Kays), who artfully serves as a barometer for the show, sometimes exciting and energetic, and at one moment, a poetic visual reminder of the consequences of living in the moment.

This performance is one of the best I’ve seen locally, and CenterStage at JCC continues to exceed the expectations of community entertainment. Jordan Price has masterfully directed a rollercoaster of depravity and manipulation that will leave you wanting more. Zachary Boone has crafted easily the best choreography that I have had the pleasure of seeing in community theatre, and having a large cast that can execute such high energy and timing is nothing less than impressive.

It is worth mentioning that this show is rated “R” for intense sexuality, gun violence, drug use, and strong language, so you will want to use discretion when inviting younger audience members. Luckily, for other guests, the audience is set up much like a speakeasy, and adult beverages are available for purchase. This show is not one to be missed. Don’t be tardy to the party!

The Wild Party

February 17, 18, 22, 24, 26, March 1,3 @ 7:30pm
February 18, 25 @ 2:00pm

Jewish Community Center
3600 Dutchman’s Lane
Louisville, Kentucky 40205
502- 459-0660

Leila Toba is an actress who has worked with various theatre companies in Louisville.