One last weekend for 8 Track at USCB
By Mary Ellen Thompson | 8 Track – The Sounds of the 70’s final two shows will be this weekend – Saturday night at 7:30 and a Sunday matinee. If you haven’t seen this two act musical production – run, don’t walk, to get your tickets. The cast is amazing. Divided into 8 “tracks” – each one presents the opportunity for someone to steal the show and in the end – EVERYONE is the star of this show.
Brad Ballington’s facial expressions will have you laughing, remembering, and clapping to your hearts content. Gregg McLain will make you want to go join the gym to see if you can find him there; his open shirt may be the best costume of the night. The sensuality that Angy Chancay conveys will have you out searching for dancing boots; you will just hope you run into her somewhere and she asks you to dance with her. Susan Smith is the gently swaying perfect flower child, but with profound self-assurance. Elaine Lake has all the stage presence that Mary Martin did in her day. The experience and expertise that Velma Polk and Kwame Johnson bring to the stage is unmistakable.
With about fifty songs in the show, the action springs from one cast member to another in quick succession. Kwame’s powerful stride and rendition of ‘War’, have the effect of someone blowing hot air in your face – it’s a sit back and take notice moment. Velma is all about attitude, especially when she sings ‘Smoke From a Distant Fire’, and her delivery of ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud’ comes across as one of the most powerful songs in the show. When Angy sings ‘You Light Up My Life’ you will be scanning the stage for Debby Boone; and have a hankie ready when Elaine and Gregg sing ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’, together.
Since this is a musical with no spoken words, some of the funnier moments are Gregg and Brad’s clubbing scenes with the humorous character banter they have inserted into the show. A cameo appearance by Mike McFee and his two “Dawns” provide a serious moment of comic relief – I think a lot of it had to do with his moustache!
When singing ‘Carwash’, the fact that the fringe on Velma, Elaine and Susan’s outfits mimics the inside of a car wash is amusing. Brad’s ‘I Write the Songs’ is another heart stealing moment. And then there is Gregg as Travolta – there is no mistaking that he is not only ‘Staying Alive’, but keeping the tradition alive as well.
At the end of the show, all you can think of is “Encore!” 8 Track – Sounds of the 70‘s has all the right components – good cast, good music, good venue and a very, very good time.