Tonight is the first preview for “The Mystery of Irma Vep” down at Swift Creek Mill. In contrast to their season opener last year – the substantially casted “Sideshow” – “Vep” is a two-hander that will star a couple Mill faves, David Janeski and John Hagadorn. I’m a little nervous about the possible “Big Tuna”-esque nature of the show – a genre many people love but that I’m not an unconditional fan of – but I think Mssrs. Janeski and Hagadorn are both accomplished enough to make it interesting at least, and quite possibly delightful at most.
In looking over the rest of the Mill’s season, I’m a little surprised not to see any big cast musical of the “Sideshow” or even the “Altar Boyz” variety. As you can tell from the numerous RTCC award nominations, “Altar Boyz” was a definite fave among us critics last season. Personally, I brought nearly my entire clan to the show and they all had a fabulous time.
Musicals have a long and storied history at the Mill and some of my favorite locally-produced musicals of all time have been bigger Mill shows (both of the “Joseph / Dreamcoat” productions they’ve done in relatively recent history, the original “Smoke on the Mountain” of course…) So I have to admit a sense of disappointment that the musicals on their slate this season are a variety show and a two-hander (“Pete ‘n Keely”).
Still, with Stage 1’s demise, the number of musicals in general is going to be reduced this season, so beggars can’t really be choosers. And a dearth of the big cast variety will just heighten my anticipation for “Sound of Music” in the Spring.