One of the greatest composers of all time, George Gershwin, gracefully 'haunts' the stage in the Group Rep in North Hollywood's "The Ghost of Gershwin," now in its run at the Lonny Chapman. The show delightfully delivers a medley of creative, whimsical melodies, on the par of Porgy and Bess, and An American in Paris, all taking place in a brownstone apartment in Brooklyn, much like the Gershwin brothers themselves once inhabited. The music by Wayland Pickard and Laura Manning are nostalgic and true to the original, and perfectly complement the plight of the various residents of this apartment complex, all struggling artists, with such passion and drive.
Grant (Andrew Bourgeois) is facing a touch of the all too familiar writer's block, in addition to a pending eviction, and prays for a miracle of sorts. As if his prayers are heard from the gates of heaven above, miraculously appears a magical piano and the ghost of Gershwin himself (Daniel Lench), in the guise of a ministering angel and muse. This is Grant's greatest moment of his life, a chance encounter with an iconic genius, guiding him along in both creative and romantic pursuits. This show is the case of a typical, beleaguered. struggling musician, who's almost reached the end of his rope, with reality crashing in around him; just when he thinks his ship has sunk, he is the lucky recipient of this miraculous visitor.
As he sits at his piano, forlornly, the keys suddenly start playing; he looks up in awe, as he realizes he's in the majestic presence of George Gershwin himself, who is tickling the keys, and urging him to believe in himself. As he must be thinking to himself," you are my idol, what has brought you to me??" he gets back on his feet, composing the most magnificent medley of creative tunes, to be performed by the amazing ensemble, Nessa (Emma-Jayne Appleyard); Dennis (Gregory Guy Gorden); Wilfred (Kyle Bares); Coronelia (Suzy London); and Mel (Jean Altadel).
Almost out of a Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney, "come on kids, let's put on a show," this ensemble whips up one musical song and dance number extraordinary after another. The show has a dream like quality, almost like the recent revival, "Ghost, the Musical," now on Broadway. Romance and dance capture the stage throughout the performance, as the spirit of Gershwin is truly felt, pervading the theatre in a poignant way.
Through June 22
Lonny Chapman Theatre 10900 Burbank Blvd
Fridays and Saturdays 8pm; Sundays 2PM
www.thegrouprep.com or 818 7635990