Are you looking for a musical with lots of roles so all your students can be involved? One that is entertaining, fast moving and light? One with “ear worm” songs and hip, dancing beats? Then Juke Box Musical’s Do You Wanna Dance is for you!
When I saw this musical advertised on Facebook, I asked the advertising firm if they were looking for pre-launch reviews. They were and I accepted.
After directing productions for nearly forty years and creating a national playwriting contest, I can call myself an expert in both fores.
I’m a tremendously experienced drama teacher, too. I have read countless scripts and directed over 250 productions. I’m the gal you want for this job, that’s for sure.
There are many positives to this cute musical:
Twelve leading roles with an even split of female and male. (Hooray!) Plus a chorus of interdeterminate size who portray many different characters. Kids like to be busy on stage, not bored back stage. This is a real plus.
At least twelve “catchy” popular songs that encourage the listener to reminisce of latter days when they listened to a juke box
List of characters with noted vocal ranges and brief character descriptions
Appropriate singing range for younger students (my advice– the production is mountable by middle school students and younger)
Simple plot, somewhat easy to project its outcome but moves along nicely and has a good message– Don’t let anyone stop you from the joy of dancing and singing. Everyone can dance.
Set description per scene (useful when planning production)
Stage directions, indepth (novice directors will appreciate these)
Simple costuming that most groups can create (another PLUS in my book)
Prop list with no difficult props to secure
Projection package of the various locales so that an erected set is not needed (this is a separate cost to the renter)
Suitable story for the whole family
Co-writers Mark Brymer and John Jacobsen are qualified and experienced musicians who can easily take on the challenges of writing a musical. Mark Brymer has been a leading choral writer/arranger for the educational and church choral music markets for many years.
John Jacobson is known as a music educator, choreographer and author. Both gentlemen are prolific creators. Their resumes attest to their expertise.
Do You Wanna Dance seems like a musical review. I think that’s what the writers were aiming for in writing it. I did a little research on line and found a youtube video of the co-writers discussing the show. John Jacobson called the show “campy fun.”
I’d agree with him. Kids love to dance and sing and surprisingly, they will sing songs from other time periods with no qualms or embarassment.
“Walking on Sunshine” was released in 1979. That was over thirty years ago. That doesn’t matter with music-a popular song continues to be popular long after its time.
Think about it… A family is sitting around the dinner table and their student begins humming one of the songs he’s hearsing from Do You Wanna Dance. Before you know it, the parents recognize the song, begin singing along and the little sister jumps up and dances with a broom. (Sorry, I got a little carried away there…) if you ask me, that’s a pretty clever way to involve the whole family and the show hasn’t even opened yet.
Most importantly, Do You Wanna Dance doesn’t talk down to students and that’s a plus for me. Next time, I would challenge the writers to create another juke box musical with a more difficult plot–our kids can handle it these days. They are quite sophisticated and love a good challenge. Other than the junior musicals through Music Theatre International, there aren’t many musicals appropriate for younger students to perform. Or they are insipid and not worth anyone’s time. If nothing else, Do You Wanna Dance is just plain fun! A church youth group, Scout troop or an after school drama club could produce Do You Wanna Dance quite successfully.
Who doesn’t like to sing and dance? (Now I’ve got Walking in Sunshine stuck in my head…)
Which is your favorite? Singing or Dancing?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DeborahBaldwin.net I’d love to hear from you.
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