WINTER PARK — Shout! The Mod Musical is a flashback musical, one that takes us sailing back to London in the Swinging 1960s, as four British girls and one American come of age just as the world seems ready to let its hair down and party the night away.
One of the ingenious concepts of Shout!, the Off-Broadway hit making its return to The Winter Park Playhouse now through April 22, is the way it uses uses those familiar hits from the early 1960s (“I Know A Place,” “Talk About Love,” “I Only Want To Be With You”) to effectively capture the sense of excitement at being in one of the world’s great cities when everything seemed so fun, so carefree. That slowly starts to change as the decade wears on, but the journey from wide-eyed innocence to the challenges of adulthood should feel very familiar to everyone in the audience. As expected, the Playhouse delivers this show with its usual flair for high energy performances, sharp comedic timing and some truly engaging performances.
What is Shout! The Mod Musical?
Shout! follows the adventures of five women reaching adulthood just as London decides the world is its oyster. They love the music of the times, and their lives evolve around Shout, a popular magazine that educates them about the pill, the do’s and don’ts of dating, and what marijuana is like. The magazine also employs an advice columnist, an older woman from a different generation who promotes stale, conformist social values. The five women mature just as society appears to be doing the same.
But it’s not all as groovie as it initially looks. The women find the world speeding forward faster than they’re ready for. One of the women wonders why she’s not attracted to any of the men who ask her out. Another finds that her fairy tale marriage has turned ugly because her husband has a temper. Life is more complex than those catchy, sunny pop tunes suggest it is.
That’s one of the true pleasures of watching the show. While swinging London decided life was one big party, we all know that eventually all parties come to an end.
How is the Winter Park Playhouse’s Version of Shout?
This sublime show gets a major boost from the exhiliarating direction and choreography that the Playhouse’s artistic director Roy Alan brings to it, and he certainly knows how to get the best out of his performers. Meka King has a lot of fun as the American girl who moves to London to become a loyal Paul McCartney groupie, Lea Martinelli purrs like a kitten as the one most eager to dive head first into the sexual revolution, and Christine Brandt is smart and sassy at just the right time in London.
Two newcomers to the Playhouse do an exceptional job here. Anneliese Moon is both funny, touching and very moving as the one woman who feels confused — at first, anyway — about her sexual identity, while Alexa DeLaRosa is a true revelation as the girl least prepared to jump into the modern world: her facial expressions, awkward dance movies and klutzy innocence are an absolute riot.
It truly is an impressive cast for this joyful show.
Where Can I See Shout! The Mod Musical?
Shout! The Mod Musical is being performed at the Winter Park Playhouse, 711 Orange Ave., in Winter Park, now through April 22. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with Thursday, Friday and Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. and select Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Tickets cost $46 for evening shows, $43 for seniors during evening performances, $39 for matinees, and $20 for students and theatrical industry professionals. Group discount rates for 10 people or more are available. Student rush “$10@10” offers $10 tickets (for students ages 15 to 25 years) will be sold 10 minutes prior to a performance when seats are available.
To get tickets, call the box office at 407-645-0145 or visit online at www.winterparkplayhouse.org
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book A Christmas Eve Story. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.