Preview: Whoop-Dee-Doo at RTP
Almost 12 years in the making, the Richmond Triangle Players are proud to have the Virginia premiere of ‘Howard Crabtree’s Whoop-Dee-Doo.’
The musical revue promises laughs, howls and 95 costume changes. Phil Crosby spoke to Gay RVA about the history of this new performance and what the audience should expect.
Crabtree, a NYC actor and known partier, had developed a reputation for outlandish costumes. “You always wanted Howard to come to your party because something outrageous would happen,” said Crosby. “He could make and outfit out of picnic table items and he would look like Queen Elizabeth.”
Crabtree in drag
Crabtree’s ornate style attracted members of the NYC theater community. Before long work started on a variety show project that highlighted the unique, found-object method to Crabtree’s madness. Whoop-Dee-Doo was staged in 1993 to rave reviews. “”Whoop-Dee-Doo!” proves vaudeville ain’t dead, it’s just been to the powder room.” said Greg Evans of Variety, back when the show first premiered.
Whoop-Dee-Doo is actually a prequel to Crabtree’s “When Pigs Fly,” a show RTP performed some 12 years ago. Crosby said audiences have been asking for a return to the costume-centered work ever since.
One of the highlights include a segment where the actors end up on a deserted island when a trunk full of old MGM memorabilia washes ashore. Its not long before rag-tag costumes are pinned together. “If you could imagine what they would do on Gilligan’s Island,” Said Crosby, “Thats what this number is about.”
Laughs and costumes are the key to the performance according to Crosby. He said the RTP’s production will do its best to pay homage to Crabtree’s legacy. “There is a tradition we have to fulfill, and there has been a conscious effort to pay homage to what Howard would have done – that said, it’s been totally up to Tom Hammond and the director to finalize what they actually do”
Sticking to a shoe string budget and doing their best to match the extravagance of Crabtree’s work, Crosby promised laughs. “There’s a couple numbers in there which have a point to make, about LGBT life or whatever, but largely its jus two hours of silly.”
The Triangle players are excited to bring you Howard Crabtree’s Whoop-Dee-Doo.
Set and Costume Design by Thomas W. Hammond
Lighting Design by David White
Choreography by Dennis Clark
Musical Direction by Tim Gillham
Production Directed by John Knapp
Starring Brian Baez, Matt Beyer, Daniel Cimo, Kyle Cornell, DJ Cummings, Timothy Goad, Thomas E. Nowlin, Stevie Rice, and Dan Stackhouse
Opens Thurs Nov 15 at 8 pm; Performances Thurs – Sat eves at 8 pm through Dec 29; Sun mats at 4 pm beginning Nov 25.
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