April 9, 2001
Sizzling dancing saves
'Fever' from being lukewarm
by Deborah Stone
Packed with sizzling, high-octane dancing to the pulsating disco sounds of the Bee Gees 1970s hit songs, the touring Broadway musical, "Saturday Night Fever" hustled, shimmied and shook its way to Seattle's Paramount Theatre for an eight performance run.
Inspired by the phenomenally successful 1977 film of the same name, the show tells the streetwise New York City story of an ambitious, talented Brooklyn kid with a burning desire to make it big in Manhattan.
Each week, Tony Manero (played by Richard H. Blake, a slick John Travolta imitation) escapes his high strung, quarrelsome Italian family and mundane job by strutting his stuff at the Odyssey 2001 Club, a lively disco dance club filled with hot bods and lots of heat.
A host of other characters inhabit Tony's small world, including his pathetic wannabe girlfriend Annette (Aileen Quinn), his friend-in-desperate-need Bobby (Jim Ambler) and Stephanie (Jeanine Meyers), his dance partner with an attitude.
Along with Tony's drop-out priest brother Frank (Sean Frank Sullivan) and Monty (Joseph Ricci), the club's sleazy D.J. and disco dance teacher, there's the usual gang of street greasers (Andy Karl, Joey Calveri and Danial Jerod Brown) with only one thing on their minds.
When the actors are boogying to the Bee Gees disco-pop tunes (performed by a live band) and showing their smooth moves, the show is exhilarating and gives the audience an incredible adrenaline high.
The dancers, with their amazing athleticism and enthusiasm, are a joy to watch. However, when the characters are caught up in their silly soap operas, the show suffers from being overly melodramatic.
In addition, the songs, which often pop up in odd places, are blasted out against a high decibel-pounding accompaniment, making the singers' voices sound extremely forced.
"Saturday Night Fever" satisfies the audience for its blast from the past nostalgia and for its groovin' choreography. The show ended its run April 8.
Tickets are currently on sale for Elton John's and Tim Rice's "Aida," Disney's new musical love story, opening in May at The Paramount. For information call (206) 292-ARTS.