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Bullis Goes 'Crazy' for Gershwin Tunes

Bullis Winter Musical

Michael Parsons runs varsity cross country, but he’s learned the true meaning of fatigue by rehearsing his lead role in the Bullis School’s production of “Crazy for You.”

“I’m close to passing out at the end of rehearsals. It’s definitely exhausting,” said Parsons.

He’s nearing the finish line, though — “Crazy for You” will run this Thursday, Feb. 19 through Saturday, Feb. 21.

The play’s choreography may be grueling for Parsons, but he is confident that it will entertain the audience. Dance numbers dominate in “Crazy for You,” a musical featuring George Gershwin songs.

“The dancing is just phenomenal; it takes over the whole stage,” said junior Bernadette Tyra, who dances with the professional ensemble Singular Sensation.

Kevin Witcher, choreographer for the Bullis production, has put twists on the play’s original dance numbers, which were mostly tap. The new choreography is demanding, said Tyra, but incorporates all the students in the play. “He gets everyone in the front, and he gives everyone a chance to be featured,” said Tyra.

GERSHWIN’S MUSIC is the lifeblood of “Crazy for You,” with a score that includes such classics as “Embraceable You,” “Can’t Be Bothered Now,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Parsons is happy to perform the tunes of such an American music icon. “He was just the father of the modern musical,” Parsons said.

Laura Householder, who performed in previous Bullis musicals, including “Footloose!” last year, welcomes the chance to sing music with a more classical style, she said. “It’s a lot of fun – the music’s fun, the dancing’s fun, it’s something new,” said Householder.

“Crazy” first ran on Broadway in 1992 and won three Tony Awards. The song and dance combine to tell a classic-style Broadway musical story, set in the 1930s. After failing an audition in New York, Bobby Child (Parsons) flees to Deadrock, Nevada, where he falls in love with Polly Baker (played by Libby Dorot). Bobby is faced with the challenge of putting on a successful play in Deadrock, while trying to win Polly’s heart.

Playing the role of Hungarian theater director Bella Zangler poses a challenge for senior Denis Metin. “He’s a funny, interesting character, very exaggerated,” said Metin. “You get to see a bunch of Hungarian people dancing on stage. … I have to sing in that Hungarian accent, which for me is better than singing in an average boy’s accent.”

STAGED IN NEW YORK for some scenes and Nevada in others, the scenery hops between a theater-within-a-theater setting to a Wild West background. Grand-scale transformations happen between some of the scenes. The scenery itself is a draw, even for those who are not ordinarily fans of the musical genre, Parsons said.

“For anyone who was never into singing and dancing, just be in awe of the set,” said Parsons. “There’s double-decker stuff, you can walk up the stairs. … Everything is large-scale — definitely super-size this one.”

For Metin, “Crazy for You” has also proved a chance for rookie actors to demonstrate what they can do. “We have a few first-time actors, and we really underestimated them going into rehearsals,” he said. “Seeing somebody like that come out and act has been really fulfilling.”