Kenai Performers once again provide first-rate entertainment

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2004

"My Favorite Year" (1954) gets a first-rate performance by the Kenai Performers at Kenai Central High School.

The Broadway musical of 1992 is a second-rate show that is actually a morality play about family values and a poignant personal crisis packaged as an autobiographical remembrance of Benjy Stone, a writer for an early television show "The King Kaiser Comedy Cavalcade."

An embarrassment of riches of talent for our small population makes the most of every scintilla of drama as staging, dancing, filming, singing and orchestral accompaniment is nearly perfect in a production that the cast and crew seem to enjoy immensely.

Absent memorable songs or spectacular scenes, this performance carries the audience through a highly predictable plot, which is well sung, well acted and well played.

Eric Larson is perfect as Alan Swann, totally believable and alive with his portrayal of the has-been drunken movie star moving to the unknown

medium of television.

As Alice Miller, the lone female television script writer, Charlissa Magen steals the attention of the audience and cast in her "tambourine

song" based on the Sabre Dance by Khachaturian. She is the brightest spot in a luminescent cast.

Sharon Hart O'Hara has the "Broadway" voice and New Yorker accent needed in this "made for a New York audience" book by Joseph Daugherty. References to Manhattan and Brooklyn abound but are mostly lost on the sourdough crowd.

Music by Steven Flaherty ranges from Vaudevillian to Gershwinesque, abounding in key changes and instrumental variety, and the orchestra under the direction of Tammy Vollom-Matturo meets every challenge.

A large cast and crew energetically make this performance a good evening of wholesome entertainment by exemplary thespians. Performances continue through Feb. 29.

Jon Walters


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