The catchy and celebrated melodies that flooded radio airwaves in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s — vibrant decades defined by flourishing, unprecedented musicianship — still find a way to charm listeners, both young and old. Although the predominant musical scene of yore no longer penetrates mainstream culture, iconic performers, such as Frankie Valli, the Beatles, Diana Ross, and, of course, Elivs are resurrected in Blast from the Past, a high-energy musical paying homage to the era’s lively musicians.
Regarding Blast from the Past‘s premise, it’s easy to pass judgment if you’re under the age of 50; however, the dynamic musical hastily hooks viewers with compelling live performances from talented singers and dancers, accompanied by a live band and captivating lighting sound effects.
Directed and choreographed by Brad and Jennifer Moranz, legendary musicians are revived after an overnight meteor shower crashes into a vintage record store, a phenomenon initially experienced by lead actress Kyra Lynn Colenso (as Suzie). Awoken by Simon and Garfunkel performing the Everly Brother’s classic “Wake Up, Little Susie,” the befuddled 18 year old begins encountering legendary musicians while working at her parents’ vintage record store.
Vivacious performances of Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin, performed by Crystal Garrett, and the charming voices of Frankie Valli and Bobby Vinton, delivered by Jeremy Jonet, are consistently met with unanimous applause. Streamline renditions of songs by Elvis and Tom Jones, performed by Johnny Fortuno, ultimately steal the show and lift the crowd to their feet.
While the Blast from the Past showcases alluring on-stage performances, viewers can’t resist following a lighthearted and frivolous storyline that ushers in a steady supply of character development.
An avid follower of Brad and Jennifer’s Moranzs’ productions, audience member Susan says she places the musical at the top of her list. “I’ve never seen one like this,” said Susan. “I like it — it’s different, and there’s more of a story line.”
The story culminates when Suzie receives word that her parents’ record store faces foreclosure due to fleeting record sales. Attempting to lure in customers, Suzie hosts an epic concert outside the store, and, if you couldn’t imagine, manages to attract customers. Songs such as “Disco Inferno,” “Y.M.C.A.,” “Hound Dog,” as well as a sweeping Willie Nelson instrumental, performed by Brad Moranz, ultimately boost record sales.
The musical reaches its pinnacle during Fortuno’s performance of Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds,” which was followed by roaring applause from the audience.
The script’s undeniably childish and borderline absurd script sustains audience amusement with eccentric characters and clever one-liners.
Over-the-top characters — like Brandon Cusma’s wiley professor who uses honey, horseradish, and a touch of motor oil to maintain his Albert Einstein-style ‘do — parade around the stage during the various scenes. Suzie’s eccentric co-worker, Billy Ray, played by Todd Adamson, generates laughs as he feebly suppresses the urge to perform MC Hammer’s one-hit-wonder, “Can’t Touch This.” Even the shagadelic Austin Powers, played by Michael Minor, appears on stage.
Suzie’s parents, played by directors Brad and Jennifer Moranz, also contribute to the humorous storyline, as they relive their younger years while immersed in numerous performances.
Whether you’re young or old, you’ll find your feet tapping throughout Blast from the Past‘s musical renditions and giddy storyline.
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