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James Walski's "Trip of Love" Brings Back the 60's at Stage 42
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James Walski's "Trip of Love" Brings Back the 60's at Stage 42

- Backstage with the Playwrights


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Makoto Deguchi, Hiroki Kozawa, Masu H. Masuyama
et al.
Presents

Trip of Love
(Trip of Love Website)

Created, Directed, and Choreographed by James Walski

Featuring:
Joey Calveri, David Elder, Kelly Felthous, Dionne Figgins
Austin Miller, Tara Palsha, Laurie Wells

And an ensemble of actors/singers/dancers

At
Stage 42
422 West 42nd Street
A Shubert Organization Theatre
212.239.6200

Set Design: James Walski and Robin Wagner
Costume Design: Gregg Barnes
Lighting Design: Tamotsu Harada
Sound Design: Peter Fitzgerald/Dominic Sack
Hair Design: Josh Marquette
Projection Design: Daniel Brodie
Musical Direction, Orchestrations,
Dance & Vocal Arrangements: Martyn Axe

Production Supervisor: Production Core
Casting: Binder Casting, Jason Styres, CSA
Advertising: AKA
Press Representative: Matt Ross Public Relations
Production Stage Manager: Scott Taylor Rollison
Company Manager: Holly Sutton
General Management: DTE Management, Ryan Conway

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 24, 2015 Matinee


If you create the right mind set, you’ll love James Walski’s Trip of Love, with 1960’s tunes like “Wipe Out”, “California Dreamin’”, “Downtown”, and “Blowin’ in the Wind”. And, today’s matinee audience was certainly in that right mind set, with a line of ladies standing, swiveling, and singing right along. Sets and costumes are ingenious and engaging, and there’s campy humor, pathos (a Vietnam motif), and even an electric motorcycle, ridden by George (David Elder), a cool dude, who sings “It’s Not Unusual”. This is not a star-studded show, so each member of the seven-member cast was energized and eager to impress. The sub-text of this upbeat, musical revue contains romance and 60’s culture, morphing into a songbook of lyrics. For this viewer, the high point was the discovery of Laurie Wells (Angela), whose vocal talent made the show worth the visit, instantaneously, with the first tune, sung by Ms. Wells, “Windmills of Your Mind’. She has stunning tonality, poise, presence, and emotional affect.

Another high point was “If You Go Away”, sung by Austin Miller (Adam), Ms. Wells, Kelly Felthous (Caroline), Mr. Elder, Joey Calveri (Peter), and the ensemble as chorus. Act II opened with “Let There Be Drums”, a wow factor with Dionne Figgins (Jennifer), while “Venus”, with Tara Palsha’s (Crystal) breasts painted like the local Desnudas, evoked the downtown-styled 60’s clubs. The songs are all 60’s jukebox melodies, and Martyn Axe, Musical Director, added delightful arrangements. The drums, guitar, and bass imbued extra rhythmic dimensions to staged solos and choreographed ensemble numbers. The Co-Scenic Designers, Mr. Walski and Robin Wagner, created an undulating, ocean wave and fun-filled, beach set for “Wipe Out”, and the scene for “Moon River” was absolutely elegant, with a giant full moon hanging over a semi-circle footbridge. Psychedelic shades are projected through Daniel Brodie’s backdrop designs in clear, prime coloring, and Peter Fitzgerald/Dominic Sack’s bright, warm sound design adds luster to each number.

Mr. Walski, a man of all trades, has also choreographed the show, and the somewhat intimate Stage 42 is kept brisk and busy, especially in the finale, a combination of “Sign of the Times” / “Born to Be Wild” / “Batman”. I wish Mr. Walski had also added composer and lyricist credits to the expansive song list, as “If You Go Away”, translated from Jacques Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, certainly deserves notations, as do all of the numbers, by 60’s greats, like Bob Dylan (“Blowin’ in the Wind”), Antonio Carlos Jobim / Vinicius de Moraes / Norman Gimbel (“The Girl from Ipanema”), and Paul McCartney / John Lennon (“I Saw Her Standing There”). As a musical revue, once again, for an afternoon or evening devoted to being enveloped in reminiscence (for some) or newfound pleasure (for the millennials), Trip of Love is a dreamy diversion in today’s turbulent times. I guarantee you’ll be humming these tunes in mental rewind for days.



David Elder, Dionne Figgins,
and the Cast of "Trip of Love".
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy




Laurie Wells, Austin Miller,
and the Cast of "Trip of Love".
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net