“Sugar” – Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre

This review aired on KBAQ October 14, 2010


Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre
Mesa, AZ

In 1972, when “Sugar” debuted on Broadway, it had triumph marked all over it. It was the musical version of the hit 1959 Billy Wilder comedy film classic, “Some Like It Hot.” But it was an old fashioned show in an era of changing musical theater tastes and the stage version lacked the movie’s stellar comedic zing that came from the stellar cast – Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon.

“Sugar’s” been forgotten because it didn’t duplicate the film’s success. Now, Mesa’s Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre revives it. The snappy production showcases the cute and catchy, if undistinguished, score. The show is full of brassy fun but it’s no “Some Like It Hot.”

The story follows the film’s. Two out-of-work Chicago musicians, Joe and Jerry, witness a depression-era gangland murder. Their only escape is to disguise themselves and disappear. They become female musicians, Josephine and Daphne, and go to Florida with an all-girl band. Josephine falls for the band’s star, Sugar, and he double disguises himself as a rich playboy, while Daphne attracts millionaire Osgood Fielding. Watching the two guys’ parade around as females is hysterical.

M. Seth Reines’ brisk staging zips by the show’s weaker moments and focuses on the hilarity of two guys dressed as girls. Reines has trimmed the wordy book eliminating much of the ponderous stage adaptation and JR McAlexander’s four-person combo splashes the catchy score around. The songs are further enhanced by choreographer Brooke Robyn Dairman’s spunky and lively dances. Only once does Dairman grab for a Susan Stroman dance bit from “The Producers” when she stages a number using walkers without Stroman’s style. It’s never good to copy another’s clever creativity.

The hardworking cast is headed by Mike Dale who disappoints as Josephine as he copies Tony Curtis’ affected film accent as the rich guy in pursuit of Sugar and Dale sings noticeably flat and off key for extended periods in several of his songs. Dale works awfully hard without always being really funny. Much better is Ben Martin’s Daphne. Martin always lets a bit of maleness show through in his Daphne and he’s hysterical in a succession of over-the-top gowns as he stumbles about in high heels while trying to keep his fake chest pristine. Bonnie McBride’s Sugar is all sparkling energy and pizzazz, while Andy Kopec is amusing as Osgood who never seems to realize Daphne is a “he.”

While “Sugar” lacks “Some Like It Hot’s” definitive comedic punch, the musical version does divert and delivers genuine entertainment. It continues through November 13. For tickets, call the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre box office at 480-325-6700 or order tickets online at www.broadwaypalmwest.com.

Grade: B


One Response to ““Sugar” – Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre”

  1. kathi Osborne said:

    Oct 24, 10 at 14:59

    Just a note to say thankyou for the review and the high mark.We have all worked so hard to give the public a show to enjoy and leave thier worries for awhile.I have the pleasure of working with them all and they are fantastic…again thanks…Kathi Osborne{Sweet Sue}