I really enjoyed the first show I saw from West Valley Arts Center in April. Ain’t Misbehavin was creative and engaging with an incredible live band and pianist. However, it being a newly reopened theater I was curious to see what they would do with a more mainstream and traditional show like their next show Footloose. Unfortunately while I still enjoyed Footloose, I definitely liked Ain’t Misbehavin a lot more. So perhaps unique is the better way to go for this particular theater?
Of course there was still a lot to like in this production. To start off having a live band makes WVA shows very special. I love the energy of a live band especially if it is a good one like they have here. I also enjoyed the choreography and in particular the whole ‘Still Rockin’ and ‘Let’s Hear it for the Boy’s sequences were a blast. I overall thought the 2nd act was stronger than the 1st. ‘Almost Paradise’ had an R&B vibe I enjoyed.
Unfortunately the casting didn’t always work for me and it overall had an amateur feel I’m not used to seeing in shows in this valley. They seemed like they were having a blast which is the most important but the singing and the acting could have been better. Also the casting felt a little old for the teenager parts. They didn’t look that different in ages than most of the adult character actors. Recently in Bye Bye Birdie at Lehi Arts Center they did a better job casting teenagers in the teenager roles.
I only mention these concerns because I want this theater to succeed and the attendance was sparse when I was there. Next up they have Sweeney Todd, and I look forward to that show. I think it might have the edgy feel which can help them stand out from the rather crowded field.
5 out of 10