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Song and dance is superb in CLO's 'Seven Brides'

| Friday, June 14, 2013, 1:36 a.m.
Matt Polk | Civic Light Opera
George Dvorsky and Mamie Parris star in Civic Light Opera's production of 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.'

If you're looking for a way to turn a ho-hum day into a “Wonderful Day,” take a journey back in time to the Pacific Northwest in the 1850s.

That's easy to do at the Benedum Center as Civic Light Opera presents the song-and-dance gem, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” The show continues through Sunday.

Those who enjoy musical theater because of the singing will not be disappointed, and those who enjoy the dancing will be wowed. The high-energy production numbers are amazing and the dancers don't miss a beat.

Based on the short story “The Sobbin' Women” by Stephen Vincent Benet, the tale first was told via a 1954 movie. “Seven Brides” made its Broadway debut in 1982. The musical tells the story of seven brothers living in the Pacific Northwest who decide their oldest sibling should get married. What follows is a comic — with a few serious moments — unfolding of events that involves dancing, kidnapping, courting and marriage.

Taking center stage are George Dvorsky as Adam and Mamie Parris as his bride Milly. Dvorsky shines as the older brother charged with taking care of his siblings. His character's naive yet stubborn mindset shines through on show-opener “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” and the powerful “Where Were You?” Parris portrays Milly beautifully, letting her feelings come to the forefront on tunes such as “Wonderful Day” and “I Married Seven Brothers.” They are believable as a young couple and he does a great job coming to grips with his misguided thinking.

Doing a good job portraying the brides are Sarah Blodgett as Alice, Andrea Weinzierl as Dorcas, Keely Beirne as Ruth, Jonalyn Saxer as Liza, Ashley Kasunich as Martha and Isabelle McCalla as Sarah.

Playing the Pontipee brothers are Callan Bergmann as Gideon, Alex Michael Stoll as Benjamin, Brian Steven Shaw as Caleb, Scott Brateng as Daniel, David Paul Kidder as Ephraim and Gavin Stewart as Frank. They are good vocally, their acting is superb and their dancing is very strong. They were great with Parris in “Goin' Courtin'” and together in “We've Gotta Make it Through the Winter.” The couple scenes with Dvorsky and Bergmann are good, especially on “A Woman Ought to Know Her Place.”

The suitors are played by Lucas Fedele as Jeb, Michael Greer as Carl, Jesse Carrey-Beaver as Luke, Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. as Matt, Max Clayton as Joel and Connor McRory as Zeke. Like the brothers, they are excellent dancers.

CLO veterans Paul Palmer portrays the preacher, Jeffrey Howell is Mr. Bixby and Peter Matthew Smith is Mr. Perkins. Halle Surgil and Lucia Williams round out the cast.

This show will have you tappin' your toes and having a good time. For a couple hours, “Seven Brides” whisks theater-goers away to the mountains and away from the troubles of the day. Whether you're looking for top-notch singing, dancing or acting, the show does not disappoint.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-664-9161 ext. 1916, or