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“Hooray for Hollywood” fails to reach Hollywood standards

The "Hooray for Hollywood" performers wore vibrant costumes for the performances. (DIPTI KUMAR)
The “Hooray for Hollywood” performers wore vibrant costumes for the performances. (DIPTI KUMAR)

Musicals old and new were honored with nostalgic enthusiasm as “Hooray For Hollywood” highlighted some of the best songs to come out of Hollywood in a performance that started strong, but failed to maintain the excitement.

The show, which included a total of 42 songs from 29 different movies, opened with a bang with “Hooray For Hollywood.” All the members of the cast came out dressed as if they were Las Vegas showgirls while a screen showed highlights of the film. For a show about Hollywood’s history, it was smart of them to start the show by glorifying the home of cinema.

The show continued almost too quickly as a series of songs was rushed through. Some classics, such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz,” were represented through a small excerpts instead of full songs. Others were more focused on dance routines than the singing, which was fine as the dancers were excellently choreographed.

Although audience members were clapping along to some songs, it was clear that the audience’s energy was waning. This was when the show brought out its biggest and best performances of the night: “West Side Story” and “Grease.”

“West Side Story” came out first with two songs, “America” and “Somewhere.” With a large ensemble of dancers, “America” successfully captured the gender tensions from the film. While the vocal performances of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim were merely average, the dancing was phenomenal and perfectly captured the manic and flirtatious energy from the film. “Somewhere” is a slower song that offered a nice juxtaposition to “America.”

“Grease,” on the other hand, was non-stop excitement. It was clear that “Grease” was a favorite of the directors, as the show not only paid homage the film, but to the individual characters as well. The performances for the three songs performed were so impressive that I simply wished to watch an entire “Grease” performance.

The highlight of the night was easily Grease’s “We Go Together.” It was clear that this was the moment for the performers to just let loose and have fun, which made this song seem more real than any others. Watching the dancers go back and forth with each other truly was fun to watch, and it helps that it’s a pretty good song too.

Unfortunately, the show couldn’t keep it up after “Grease”. Popular films such as “Saturday Night Fever” and “Blues Brothers” simply didn’t work. Other movies, like “Footloose,” seemed to simply copy formulas that had already been used.

The second half of the show was riddled with odd directorial choices. The dancing seemed to have taken a dive as the performers were stiffer, and in some cases just didn’t dance. The singing maintained the level of quality seen throughout the show, but the song choices left much to be desired.

The show’s second half was an homage to the 80’s. “Flashdance,” “Fame,” “Hairspray” and “Ghost” were all represented films, but with no transitions between songs, the entire performance was just a mess.

“Les Miserables” was up next, choosing to pay homage to the recently released film. While this was the longest segment of the show, it suffered all the same problems. Songs just blurred into each other, with one number often starting before the other could finish.

Closing the show was a series of films that Elvis performed in. The performance was fine, and the songs were great, but for a finale it really didn’t bring anything memorable.

“Hooray for Hollywood” was a divisive show. It had a very fun first half, but was dragged down by odd director choices and a poor ending. Still, if you hold any fondness for one of the movies mentioned, there is something for you to get out of the show.

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