With its UK tour having just opened in Bromley, a couple of friends and I took a trip to see producer Amy Anzel’s tour of new musical, Happy Days, with a star-led cast and some familiar ensemble faces for us too!
You may have heard about Amy’s journey to make this show possible if you were watching the recent TV series The Sound of Musicals, and having watched some of the struggles she faced I was happy for her that she made the show possible despite odds! She’s picked familiar names to lead the show with Ben Freeman as ‘The Fonz’, Heidi Range as Pinky Tuscadero and Cheryl Baker as Mrs. Cunningham, all no strangers to the music or musical theatre industries.
The show is obviously based on the TV show of the same name, and as I am guilty of having not seen that show, at all, so I have to admit I didn’t really know any of the characters aside from The Fonz. Possibly I would’ve clicked with the characters and story a lot more had I watched the TV show previous to seeing the musical, however unfortunately I felt that the story seemed a bit blurry at times? As a touring family-feel show though that’s not so much an issue as it makes up for it with a lot of fun and energy.
The choreography of Happy Days impressed me a huge amount, the ensemble members especially had their chance to shine with the numbers that Andrew Wright (Singin’ In The Rain, Barnum) has pieced. It did remind me at times of Singin’ In The Rain which I was certainly happy with as I’m a huge fan of the show, it really had a classic feel that fit with the show but just as exciting to see nowadays. Having seen a couple of ensemble members before, Jason Winter and Lucy Jane Adcock to name them, and knowing what fantastic dancers they are, I was drawn to them in the dance numbers where they could fully show off their talent.
I enjoyed seeing Ben Freeman as The Fonz, I thought he suited the role well and I thought Heidi Range played the interesting love interest Pinky Tuscadero well with her light rebellious attitude in not conforming to the ‘standard female role’.
You can’t deny the show isn’t feel-good, and that it isn’t an ‘easy’ show to see. It’s certainly one I’d recommend for families to go see and definitely fans of the original TV show would enjoy it I’m sure!
I also have to commend them on their use of free publicity by asking audience members to get out their phones and take pictures during the dance sequence after the bows to post on Twitter and such. It really is a genius idea with so many people on social media platforms who will go and see something at the theatre then post about it online, so kudos there.
It was a fun night at the theatre, and you can’t complain about that!
Find out more about Happy Days here!