Monday, November 9, 2015

A Night with Mighty Goliath Productions: Recap

The crowd takes the stage at the Lorain Palace photo: Andy Dudik
From the opening number 'A Night with Mighty Goliath Productions' whisked through the night taking the audience on a journey. This journey that would take them into the past, through the present, with looks to the future.

The Lorain Palace, in many ways, was the perfect venue for this magical evening. The Lorain Palace Theater takes you on the same journey just by walking through the doors. The recently restored gem of a theater gives you a taste of what it was like back in the early 1920's when it was first built. As patrons walked down to the stage you pass 1,362 seats to find their place on stage. The space was the star of the show until the first number, then it played the perfect backdrop to the music and performers on stage.

The audience was just as much on stage as the performers were. This was as much a celebration for them as it was for Mighty Goliath Productions. Without the audience's support both creatively and financially Mighty Goliath wouldn't exist, putting them on stage Saturday night was very important.

'A Night with Mighty Goliath Productions' was a fundraiser to kick off the campaign for Urinetown: The Musical. Douglas Bailey not only volunteered to direct this special one-night-only event but he also performed and emceed the evening.

The lineup for the evening was tremendous with the brilliant accompanist Matthew Grittner who played the piano as if it were just an extension of his hands.

Ian Atwood, Douglas Bailey, and Tim Schuerger kicked off the evening singing a selection from Guys and Dolls (1984,2002) followed closely by Natalie Fischer, Marisa Petticord, and Julie Warren singing 'I Know It's Today' from perhaps a future MGP production of Shrek: The Musical. Gabbi Capello was our first soloist of the evening singing 'The Spark of Creation' from the musical Children of Eden, another show that MGP might consider doing in the future.

Reprising their roles as Horton the Elephant and Jojo from last year's production of Seussical (2015) was Ian Atwood and Marisa Petticord singing the heart string tugging, 'Alone in the Universe'.

Steve, Nicci, and Jessica (photo Andy Dudik)
Not to forget the dancers, Jessica Atwood and Nicci Cassara Billington danced away while Steve Schuerger, reprising his role from Once Upon A Mattress as the Jester, sang 'Very Soft Shoes' followed by Brett Hall as Sir Harry and Julie Warren as Lady Larkin singing 'In A Little While' from the same show.

Meg Whitman, reprising her role as Laurie, backed by Natalie Fischer, Gabbi Capello, and Morgan Williams sang 'Out of my Dreams' from Oklahoma (1976,1994,2013). Rick Fortney then took the stage to reprise his role as Judd with 'Lonely Room'.

Looking ahead to the future was Jim Kotora and Tim Schuerger singing 'All For The Best' from Godspell.

'Goodnight My Someone' from the musical Music Man (1973,1991,2004) was Sung by Natalie Fischer and Ally Yellets. Natalie shared with the audience that Music Man in 2004 was her first show with Mighty Goliath. She was five years old and has since grown into a fine performer and she and Ally both showed that with this selection.

Meg Whitman came back on stage and sang a selection from Cry Baby called 'Screw Loose' which she said was the exact opposite of her role as Laurie. Steve Schuerger and Brett Hall paired up to sing 'Hey There' from the Pajama Game (1978,2000) followed the the Act I finale of Nicci Cassara Billington and Jessica Atwood taking the dance floor once again to dance the 'Hot Honey Rag' from Chicago.

Intermission there were raffles from prize baskets filled with goodies from the Cleveland Browns Alumni, Pat O'Brien Chevrolet, Bubba's Q, Gallucci's, The Lorain Palace, House of Blues, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and John Christ Winery.

Kicking off Act II was Jennifer Bertoni sticking up for the bit part players in 'What Happened To My Part?' from Spamalot followed by Jim Kotora singing 'Hushabye Mountain' from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, both shows that might be in the future for MGP. Morgan Williams took the stage right after with 'Castle on a Cloud' from Les Miserables, a show that we've been really anxious to do.

Rosa Gasden took the stage backed up by Gabbi Capello, Natalie Fischer, Meg Whitman, BJ Colangelo, and Tony Heffner. She belted the soulful tune, 'I Know Where I've Been' from Hairspray, which brought the house down. An audience member said, "Someone has to follow that?". That's when Ally Yellets took the stage to sing 'Far From the Home I Love' from Fiddler on the Roof (1980,1999) and showed that someone CAN follow Rosa.

Bringing us into the present day was Sarah Lynn and Douglas Bailey singing the hilarious tune, 'Follow Your Heart' from this year's production of Urinetown (2016). This was Sarah Lynn's return to the stage after years and years of stage managing.

Tony Heffner (photo Andy Dudik)
Titanic (2005) took Mighty Goliath to new heights when the set designer, Gary Fischer, was asked to build a set that would sink. In 2005 they did just that and to celebrate a feat of engineering and craftsmanship Tony Heffner took the stage to sing 'Barrett's Song'. Tony stayed on stage as Brittney-Jade Colangelo joined him to sing 'Suddenly Seymour' from Little Shop of Horrors which is another show that could be in our future.

Coming down the home stretch Ian Atwood and Douglas Bailey sang 'Confrontation' from Les Miserables with such precision that the audience had smiles from ear to ear. Sarah Lynn Bailey took the stage for a final time that night showing that she can hold her own as a soloist when she sang 'A Way Back to Then' from [title of show].

Rick Fortney came back to talk about how Mighty Goliath shaped his life including the decision to pursue a career in the theater and he then sang 'Mama a Rainbow' from Minnie's Boys. This was a tribute to his mother who was a long time organist for Mighty Goliath Productions.

Haunting us all with a rendition of 'The Witch' from Big Fish, Brittney-Jade Colangelo. Brittney-Jade played Princess Winifred in her first Mighty Goliath production after moving from Chicago. She knew absolutely no one except for her boyfriend, who was sitting stage right. She said, "Mighty Goliath has really been a family" and helped her get through some tough times including pancreatic cancer.

For the Act II Finale every performer took the stage once more to do 'Freak Flag' from Shrek.

At the end of the night we raised money for the performing arts and took a tremendous journey through time as we looked back on what made MGP great and where we could go in the future. Everyone in the crowd was on their feet by the time it was over and their hands were so sore from clapping so much.
Entire cast of A Night with Mighty Goliath Productions (photo Andy Dudik)

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