This paper is a critique of a production of Show Boat, a musical classic with compositions by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, which was performed and produced by NETworks Presentations LLC at Emens Auditorium on the 14th of February 2001. Clayton Phillips, the director of the production, attempted to test the waters of racial discrimination by exploring controversial themes such as prejudice and interracial relationships. Show Boat takes an enlightened approach to ethnic controversy by using both music and drama to express the feelings and hopes of the characters to the audience. Even though I enjoyed the production, I felt that it was lacking in terms of its plot and may have overused its melodic reprises. However, Show Boat truly succeeds with entertaining an audience.
The plot of Show Boat is at times difficult to comprehend because its confusing plot. The surprises in the plot were far too unexpected. Julie Laverne was whisked away very early in the show and suddenly appeared many scenes later. A quick montage was the only visual cue to tell us that Ravenal had lost all his money and all the while, the director seemed to keep sweeping us along ever faster in the swirling epic feel of the show, making the plot even more difficult to follow.
The performers were quite remarkable. Not only were they skilled actors, they were talented vocalists as well. They easily adapted to their roles in the performance, as if their abilities came naturally. Their physical appearances, as well as their character portrayals, were as I have imagined them. The costumes did not restrict the movement of the actors and permitted them to perform their movements and gestures with ease. The scenes and props complimented the attire of the performers, blending together create a magnificent display. The scenery was realistic enough to afford the viewer an escape into depths of the show. The setting was beautiful and the structures almost lifelike,...
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