We’ve come a long way, baby, and there’s nothing like a cheerful dance-filled musical about a bunch of rowdy brothers kidnapping six potential wives to remind us of that happy fact.
The quaint, enjoyable “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers,” now playing at the Glendale Centre Theatre, takes us back to a time when young girls loved to be overpowered by wild mountain men to enter into the domestic bliss of cooking and cleaning.
The story is set in a wild west Oregon town, circa 1850, where Adam Pontipee, a raccoon trapper, decides he will pick up a wife to bring back to the mountains, so she can wait on him and his six, single brothers. Milly, the young cook in the rowdy town saloon, is perfect for the position, and he sweeps her off her feet, then hands her a broom. She’s in it for the long haul and decides getting each of her new brothers-in-law a wife is her best bet at having a decent life.
Milly trains the brothers how to dance, court and respect women, but can’t seem to change her new husband’s unappreciative attitude toward her in the least. The brothers are on their best behavior when they first meet the town ladies at a social, but their wild ways take over, with the encouragement of their macho, married brother Adam, and they decide to simply kidnap the girls they would like to marry, instead of waiting till spring to propose. This causes a rift between Adam and Milly, but Stockholm Syndrome romance ensues.
The choreography of 23 dancers on a small stage makes this family-friendly play furiously fun with plenty of impressive flips, kicks and great solo performances. Keep an eye on the talents of Dorcas (Holly Childers), Alice (Emily Coddington), Gideon (Grant Jordan) and Joel (Genaro Gutierrez).
The casting of at least one of the brothers seemed a bit off, and a couple of the townspeople could have been switched into the family, but everybody looked like they were having a good time.
The leads, Adam and Millie, are a real-life married couple (Jason and Jennifer J. Webb) and gave the story heart with beautiful singing performances. Especially poignant and touching is “Glad You Were Born” sung by an actual mother of five, Webb, to her newborn baby girl, while her man is having a time-out at the lodge. Also memorable is the duet, “A Woman Ought To Know Her Place (reprise),” sung by Adam and Gideon.
The set changes were nearly as energetic as the dance performances and were perfectly orchestrated along with many colorful costume changes, which were noticeably well-crafted to each scene.
Although not a very politically correct theme or modern play, good direction, lively music, dancing and the did-he-really-say-that lyrics make this a welcome evening for the whole family.
What: “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers”
When: Through Nov. 19; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and a 3 p.m. Saturday matinee; 3 p.m. Sunday matinees are Oct. 16 and 23 only
Where: Glendale Centre Theater
Cost: $23 to $26
Address: 324 N. Orange St., Glendale
Contact: (818) 244-8481 or www.glendalecentretheatre.com.