“Saturday Night Fever”” at Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

SNF LogoEnthusiasm Soars in Excellent “Saturday Night Fever – The Musical” at Arvada Center!

By Tom Jones
September 16, 2015

Ian Campayno takes no hostages. From the moment he swaggers onto the stage as Tony Manero in “Saturday Night Fever, The Musical” the audience is in the palm of his hand. He exudes self-confidence, and is a wonder to behold! The entire show is a wonder, but Campayno is a triumph!

Photo P. Switzer
Photo P. Switzer

The Regional Premiere of the show provided reason for the standing ovation at the show’s end at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Front and center was Campayno who sings dances, acts, and swaggers. And oh, that swagger. The role he plays is a 19-year-old young man in Brooklyn. He has close friends, and the ability to attract any girl who interests him. His home life isn’t great, as his parents don’t give him much support or attention. Their devotion is set on Tony’s older brother, Frank, who has become a Catholic Priest, giving the family a special social status in the neighborhood. Thomas Borrillo and Sharon Kay White are very good as the parents, as is Adam Estes, as Frank, Jr., the religious son who is questioning his own beliefs.

When Tony is not wooing the local girls or dancing his heart out at the local disco, he works in a paint store. This just gives him enough funding to learn incredible disco moves and to look over the girls eager to share his spotlight. Emma Martin can equal his disco moves, but Tony believes that something is missing. She adores him, but he is more interested in a beautiful woman he finds at the local dancing studio. McKayla Marso is brilliant as the willowy dancer who appears to have no interest in the younger and less-sophisticated Tony. Tony can’t quite figure her out and finally asks her if she thinks he is “interesting,” realizing that he doesn’t have her basic smarts.

Photo P. Switzer
Photo P. Switzer

This love story is background for the disco “fever” with such Bee Gees music of the 70s. “Disco Inferno” early in the First Act just about burns down the theater with enthusiasm. The “Fever” is obvious! Other familiar songs include “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Stayin’ Alive, and “You Should Be Dancing.”

Based on the 1970s film, the Arvada stage comes alive with the “look” of the era – hot pants, white suits, and platform shoes. Everyone looks about three inches taller than reality! The musical, directed by Rod A. Lansberry is based on the Paramount movie, adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oakes.

The breathtaking choreography is by Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, with Brian Mallgrave credited for the impressive set. Mondo Guerra is costume designer, recreating the memories we have of how the “70s “looked.”

Everything about this show works! The cast is enormous, with special attention given to Tony’s friends Dan Reardon, Andrew Russell, Andrew Keeler, and Steven Burge. Musical Director and Conductor is David Nehls, backed by Keith Ewer, David DeMichelis, Harry Grainger, Wade Sander, Bradley Goode, and Jon Cullison.

This is a disco show – but emphasis moves from the ballroom to the lives of Tony and his friends. Tony’s swagger initially provides him with just about everything he wants. But he has a wonderful vulnerability. His final solo, “Tragedy” provides as much gut wrenching empathy, as did his incredible turns as the disco king.

“Saturday Night Fever” is a must-see production!

“Saturday Night Fever – The Musical”
Tuesday through Saturday through October 4, 2015
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, CO
For information go to www.arvadacenter.org or call 720-898-7200