A whole song and dance number devoted to Nancy Reagan, a love song to Elizabeth Taylor (and her many husbands), and a nod to those awkward teenage years being the “Last One Picked,” these are all part of the fabulous variety show that is Howard Crabtree’s “Whoop Dee Doo!” directed by John Knapp for Richmond Triangle Players.
Brian Baez is beyond fabulous playing Howard, who serves as a sort of host for the show, backed up by a talented ensemble that includes Matt Beyer, Daniel Cimo, Kyle Cornell, DJ Cummings, Timothy Goad, Thomas E. Nowlin, Stevie Rice, and Dan Stackhouse. The cast all have impressive theatre backgrounds and their talents are well utilized in this production, with every cast member getting his individual time in the spotlight. While not the strongest singers, the cast is charming enough that you let that slide because you just enjoy being able to spend time with them.
Dan Stackhouse is inspiring performing “Last One Picked,” so much so, that the song has been stuck in my head for a week. Daniel Cimo has one of the most expressive faces I have ever seen and he has an absolute knack for physical comedy. Thomas Nowlin’s performance “Teach It How To Dance” as Vivian McVanish, head of an invisible group of performers, is hilarious. I wasn’t sure how they were going to pull off “invisible” but the end result is great. These are just honorable mentions from a show that packs 19 fabulous numbers into a two hour show.
The best way to sum up “Whoop Dee Doo!” is, pure fun. It’s campy, silly, and hilarious; I was worried that I was laughing too loud and making the gentleman next to me uncomfortable. The musical numbers are seemingly unrelated but carry a message that is loud and clear which is that of tolerance. I appreciate that RTP consistently chooses to take on lesser known material and make it their own. There are 95 costumes; yep that’s right, 95, designed by Thomas Hammond, and Dennis Clark’s choreography is fun and well executed. The glittery set, also designed by Hammond, was complimented well by David White’s strategic and creative lighting design.
I love a production that doesn’t take itself too seriously and that is what I found in “Whoop Dee Doo!”
“Whoop Dee Doo!” is playing through December 29th.
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.