Sugar Babies Proves That Burlesque Is Alive and Well


The delightful burlesque musical Sugar Babies opened over the weekend on the Herricks Community Theater stage directed and produced by the Herricks Community Players under the talented direction of John Hayes, who has performed many miracles because he is able to navigate this huge cast in each of their many scenes with such insight.  Without a doubt he is a genius and along with his wife, producer Carol Hayes, watches all the monetary details and makes sure everyone has everything they need.  And, just from audience reaction, it has been declared another Herricks Community Players hit.

Luckily, you still have time to see Sugar Babies because it has two more weekends and may be seen on April 30, May 1 at 8 p.m. and on May 2 at 3 p.m. on May 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. and a matinee on May 8 at 2 the Herricks Community Center Theater, 999 Herricks Road, New Hyde Park. Tickets are $22 for adults and $17 for senior citizens and children under 12.  Group rates of 15 or more are $15 each.  For further information, please call 742-1926.

Returning to call “the shots” as production manager is Peter Triolo, (who also sneaks on stage to perform a familiar bit with Lee Titone) with Margo Bayroff as stage manager and both are doing a marvelous job.

This delightful offering is a series of skits and musical numbers with many one-liners that will keep you laughing the entire night, but you have to pay attention, or you might miss a punch line and there are a lot of those!

Warren Schein, in the role made famous by Mickey Rooney, is his usual, capable and talented self dancing, singing and delivering many of those one-liners with perfect timing.

Michelle Mazza, in the Ann Miller role,  is absolutely magnificent as she glides across the stage and wow, can she dance and then deliver a song beautifully, what a voice.  She is just amazing!

Many of the songs are old-favorites such as I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby,  Don’t Blame Me, and On the Sunny Side of the Street and Cuban Love Song.

One well-known sketch, which depicts a voluptuous woman on trial for murdering her husband, was in the repertory of Bobby Clark and Gypsy Rose Lee.

The tag line of ‘’Meet Me ‘Round the Corner’’ recurs eight times as a running gag throughout the show. According to one of the first reviewers, way back when it first opened,  “the material is full of innuendos and double-entendres, but it’s not blue entertainment.”  That is so true with this production.

The “Sugar Babies” themselves are fantastic and they are led by the choreographic talent of that dynamo Barbara Murphy, Loretta Becht, who is a tap genius and Penny Payne.

Michael Spicer, who has a wonderful voice,  sings a tribute to Sally Rand; Rob Gio lends his marvelous vocal talent to a Cuban Love Song and Andria Amarosa, belts out Warm and Willing and super-talented Barbara Murphy does a great job with Exactly Like You.

Susan Weber, the musical director, has assembled, as usual, some of the best musicians on Long Island and leads that talented orchestra so that it rivals any orchestra that you might hear on Broadway.

The prop folks have a challenging job making sure that all the little extras get on and off in all the right spots, and Doris Bueher and Marilyn Peterson are in charge of that task.

In this production the stage has been built out with a runway and it is very effective thanks to the talent of Bob Leslie, Steve Szachacz and Peter Triolo.  The costuming is wonderful and in the capable hands of Eleanor and Shelly Leslie and Penny Payne.  Lighting design by Daniel Moscovitz is wonderful, and Richard Gibbons makes sure that everyone can be heard throughout the audience, which is no simple task.

The behind-the-scenes folks are great in making sure everyone gets on and off the stage and that the curtains open and close when they should and that group is led by Margo Bayroff  with the help of newcomer Steve Duncan and a host of others including Carol Hayes, Ameilia Bayroff, Brain Bennett, George Billirus, Ellie Geller, Ralph Genzano, Laura Gino, Chris and Mike Guglielmi, Sarah Jurysta, Linda Lefton, Donna Monaco, Al Reno, Maggi Whitely and Lucio Zaremba.

All proceeds of the Herricks Community Players production are donated to the Herricks Community Fund.  Sugar Babies was conceived by Ralph G. Allen and Harry Rigby with sketches by Ralph G. Allen, music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and Al Dubin and additional music and lyrics by Arthur Malvin and the Sugar Babies Bounce by Jay Livinston and Ray Evans.  Sugar Babies is presented through special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

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