by Lorie Lewis Ham
This weekend we had the pleasure of seeing a fun musical that I’d never seen before, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, featuring the music of Neil Sedaka. It opened this past weekend at the Reedley Opera House, presented by the Reedley River City Theatre Company.
Set at Esther’s Paradise resort in the Catskills in 1960, this is a fun jukebox musical with a light, sweet plot built around the well-known songs of Sedaka. Two friends from Brooklyn, Lois and Marge, go to Catskills for the weekend over Labor Day. It was to have been Marge’s honeymoon trip but her fiancé left her at the alter, so instead Lois is trying to help Marge forget and move on, and have a little fun. The girls meet local heartthrob Del Delmonico who sings at the resort and his clumsy, nerdy cousin Gabe. Del is excited because someone from American Bandstand is coming to hear him that weekend and he’s sure it will be his big break. The girls soon learn that Del and Gabe aren’t what they seem, and there may just be some love along the way. We also have comedian Harvey Feldman and resort owner Esther, who may just have a love story of their own. Another side plot is that Esther is in danger of losing the resort due to money issues.
Jeff Lusk does a perfect job of playing the sleazy, arrogant Del, Matt Milton is adorable as Gabe, Mark Norwood is silly as the very corny comedian Harvey, and Stacey Hall is funny as Esther. Alina Gonzalez perfectly plays the ditsy, but sweet Lois, and Annie Hobbs is great as the innocent and brokenhearted Marge.
The show is filled with fun classic songs like “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” “Where the Boys Are,” “Love Will Keep Us Together,” and “Calendar Girl.” Annie does an amazing job on the heart wrenching song “Solitaire,” and Matt was incredible on everything–what a fantastic voice! Another favorite song was a duet of theirs, “Laughter in the Rain.” Alina has a powerful voice and belted out her songs beautifully, and Mark went back and forth between silly and touching with his song, “King of Clowns.” The big closing number of “Love Will Keep Us Together,” was loads of fun and a perfect way to end the show. Director Erik Valencia did a nice job of putting together this fun show, and kudos to Tommie Hill for the 60s costumes, Lillie Valencia for hair, and Bernadette Tasy for a beautiful job as vocal director.
If you are looking for a night of fun music, great singing, and a light, fun romantic comedy–make sure you make it out to see Breaking Up Is Hard to Do on stage at the Reedley Opera House until October 26. Learn more on their KRL theatre event page and their website.
Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.