Theatre in the Circle
Professional Theatre
all night strut
September 21 – September 24
There is a new theatre in town kicking up some swing and jive to the delight of audience members at the Judson Manor Ballroom. Director Mark Corcoran, Musical Director Bill Corcoran, and Choreographer Jennifer Justice, have produced a delightful juke box musical that should entertain virtually everyone. This is definitely a great event to bring your parents, grandparents, and Manhattan Transfer fans, to completely immerse yourself into tight four part harmonies, a kick ass band, and performers that are as talented, as they are charming.
The show itself: The All Night Strut! moves through the Depression, World War II and the post-war boom in a two-act musical celebration of the 1930s and ’40s, filled with jazz, blues, bebop and American songbook standards. Weaving together the work of legendary songwriters such as Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Cab Calloway and the Gershwins. The story moves through time and place to highlight a slick slice of yesteryear and capture a beloved American era.
all night cast
This cast is on fiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre! Thank you Alicia Keys. Listening to this quartet sing, you would think that they have been together for years. But, they were cast out of auditions, and worked there struts off to create a magic evening of tuneful entertainment.
The ladies from left to right: Neda Spears and Jill Marie Zeszut. Each deliver some dynamite moments throughout. Spears knocks it out of the park several times. Starting off with a great rendition of “Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle of Beer”, and then later, literally rips the roof of the ballroom with a fantastic version of “Operator”.  I am sure she heard my group yelling with approval. Zeszut with her Marilyn Monroe hair and a red dress that would stop Fleet Week dead in its tracks, finds her enhanced fierceness with her lead on “In The Mood”, which she adds her deft dancing skills, and then makes me question why I don’t date women, with her beautiful delivery of “I’ll Be Seeing You”.
The gentlemen from left to right: Miguel Osbourne and Robert Kowalewski. Osbourne is a finely tuned showman, and leads this quartet with confidence and a smile that would surely turn any bad day into a good one. Whether he is charming your face off with “Minnie The Moocher”, or pulling on your heart-strings during “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime”, he is the consummate performer. Kowalewski possesses one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in a long time. The quality reminds me of Karen Carpenter in a way, and I don’t mean that is a weird way, but just as Carpenter’s resonance is spellbinding, so is Kowalewski’s. It is like listening to butter melting, crossed with looking like John Boy Walton. His version of “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” is flawless, and “As Time Goes By” is so radiant it sets off the disco ball.
Add all of these talented folks together and it is a blast to listen to and watch. The opening number of “Chattanooga Choo Choo” is fierce. Their movements and vocals sprint out of the starting gates to such grand effect, you don’t care which horse wins, because actually, they actually all cross the finish line at the same time.
Through an artistic telescope there are some minor distractions. The Ballroom chandelier is not as high up as you would hope from the stage. Making you feel like it is a bit cramped for the middle singers. When the singers move together on one mic, the balance is off because the middle singers stick out. A couple of times, the band drowned out the singers. There are slight moments of not being in sync on the moves. The lighting at times did cast shadows on faces more than I thought should. But as I said, that is through a telescope, because the overall vibe of the evening is a hit.
Shout out to the talented band. Bill Corcoran on Piano, George Judy on Drums, and David Spondike on Bass. Each one helped create a fabulous combo, that worked along with the performers with professional grace and execution. Set Design and Fabrication Design by Austin Kilpatrick was on point. Dig the stage sign in the back. Nice touch. Lighting and Sound Design by David Palmer/Network Sound did a great job in that space. Akron Design & Costume provided eye-popping looks.
Check out this show. It is a great atmosphere and the Corcoran’s are adding a great space for fierce entertainment in a gorgeous neighborhood.
Cleveland Stage Alliance
September 21 – September 24

7:30pm Thursday
7:30pm Friday
2pm and 7:30pm Saturday
2pm Sunday

$15 General Admission

(216) 282-9424

Order Tickets Online
Judson Manor
1890 East 107th Street
University Heights, 44106