Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

Time Step
Stage Door Theatre
Review by Cindy Pierre | Season Schedule

Also see Jeffrey's review of Edgar & Emily


The Cast of Time Step
Photo by George Wentzler
When was the last time you smiled out of sheer enjoyment, danced in your seat, and were delighted? How about the last time you had some good, ol' fashioned, clean fun? If it's been too long, why not treat yourself to the world premiere of Time Step, a dance and song extravaganza produced by Stage Door Theatre in association with Kevin Black Productions. In it, seven (eight for select performances) talented performers pull out all the stops to entertain you while leading you on a journey through the development of American tap dancing. For the most part, cast and crew succeed in their endeavors.

Presented on an impressive gold platform with steps encased in glittery, beaded curtains, the scenic design foreshadows a dazzling spectacle and a "step" back in time. And from the moment the cast members appear, one by one, donning trench coats and briefcases, to the very end, the show never disappoints. Well conceived and directed by Kevin Black and musical director Ben Bagby, this 90-minute musical may not have a book, but a book isn't needed to tell this story; with carefully chosen theatrical songs and numbers, supporting projections by Jose-Luis Ramos, and just enough lines and acting to plug you into the scenes, nearly everything works cohesively to make Time Step the tap-dancing showcase that it's intended to be.

Collaborating on choreography, Ashley Bachner, McKayla Cephas, Alessandra Torres, Allison C. Scott (also a performer during select performances), and Sebastian Goldberg (featured performer) come together to give the audience a delicious taste of clogging, the European jig, African rhythms, and other timed dances to exhibit time step, a spontaneous melding of these different styles that was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Although the dancers vary in execution and the scenes with the props don't succeed as well as the others, everyone is competent enough, jubilant enough, and energetic enough to keep the momentum going. Goldberg leads the pack as a superior performer in sporadic solos, but other stand-out dancing displays come from Ariel Seidman-Wright (a skillful fiddler), spunky Nathaniel J. Washington, and Mackenzie Cutcliffe. These dancers traverse various genres almost without a hitch; although happy faces and exuberance work well for most dance styles, they don't work for flamenco's more serious and somber tones.

Luckily, singers Sandra Marante and Matthew Staley authenticate the latin sounds and grooves with their solid rendition of Besame Mucho. In spite of the fact that Time Step centers on dancing, Marante and Staley's solo and duo contributions make for a well-rounded production that is chock full of pizzazz. Jumping from style to style, the singers take the trips with ease, going from "Danny Boy" to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" without any hiccups. While Marante's vocals do outshine Staley's, they are both commendable.

Time Step is a great melding of multiple streams of artistry, and a fabulous demonstration of skill and athletic ability. Just navigating the intricate choreography on the narrow steps of the stage alone is a formidable feat, but it is also clear that a lot of hard work and drive goes into every aspect of the show. It all pays off in this amusing and charming musical.

Time Step, through May 6th, 2018, at Stage Door Theatre, 8036 West Sample Road, Coral Springs FL. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm and Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. For tickets and information please call 954-344-776 or visit www.stagedoorfl.org.

Cast:
Mackenzie Cutcliffe
Sebastian Goldberg
Sandra Marante
Stephen James Potter
Allison C. Scott
Ariel Seidman-Wright
Matthew Staley
Nathaniel J. Washington

Crew:
Conceived and Directed by Kevin Black
Stage Manager: Jose-Luis Ramos
Costumes: Jerry Sturdefant
Lighting Designer: Ardean Landhuis
Lighting Designer: Paul O'Donnell
Props: Jameelah Baily
Set Construction: Stage Door Scenic
Technical Director: Paul O'Donnell
Musical Director: Ben Bagby
Assistant Stage Manager: Stephanie LoVerde
Choreographers: Allison C. Scott, Sebastian Goldberg, Ashley Bachner, McKayla Cephas, Alessandra Torres


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