This is a reprint of my remarks about “The All Night Strut ” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater presented in their Stackner Cabaret during the 2018 – 2019 season. This originally appeared on my Facebook timeline on November 14, 2018!
Finally getting around to writing about The All Night Strut at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Stackner Cabaret! The conceit here is we are all traveling cross country and enjoying entertainment in the bar car of a train from the 1930/40s. We have four entertainers and plus a musically adept conductor who run through the big band hits of the period. Unlike Paul McCartney these weren’t songs that were hits before my mother was born. Instead they were songs I heard as a child of the 1950s on my father’s favorite oldies station. So it was a bit of a stroll down memory lane. Songs that I enjoyed now and enjoyed in 1950 but came to detest in adolescence.
But other than the train ride, there really is no story as we mainline from one song to another…with the songs apparently related to the ‘stops’ along the route. Decent renditions…really motivated performers…nostalgia galore for those of us old enough to remember these…maybe too much kitsch at times. Besides singing, everyone dances…and everyone plays instruments. My favorite on Sunday night was Nygel D Robinson…the man can sing…dance…and play piano, guitar, string bass, drums…a..a..n..d trumpet. And he seemed to be the most relaxed member of the cast thoroughly enjoying himself…although our conductor, Jonathan Spivey, seemed to be having just as much fun. It was opening night so there were a lot of Rep royalty in the house and we shared a table with Sound Designer Eric Backus…he done good! If you are looking for serious theater…don’t stop here. But if you want to hear some great songs…well performed with little story line getting in the way…this is the holiday show for you! And the Manhattans here are great!