Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 10, 2009

GOLF: The Musical

Majestic Theatre, West Springfield, MA
through August 2, 2009
by Frank Aronson and Jarice Hanson

From the title, it is obvious that "GOLF: the Musical" is different from most theatrical fare. This affinity show (meaning that the performance is geared to an audience with a special interest in the topic) by Michael Roberts has played off-Broadway, and in small venues. The songs and sketches range from cliché to clever, but the four performers in the Majestic Theater cast create an ensemble that holds the various pieces together.

Darron Cardosa's sweet tenor shines in "The Beautiful Time," which contains the evening's most surprising lyrical twist. Luis J. Manzi's powerful, supple voice rings, and he deftly portrays a minister in the Church of Golf, and a tour guide at the Golf Museum. Lea D. Oppedisano was a favorite of the audience, especially with her solos "Great Lady Golfer" and "Golf's Such a Naughty Game." One of the sweetest tunes was sung by Bill Nabel, crooning a love song to his golf club, "Big Bertha." His lyrical baritone voice has a surprising range, used to create his own characterizations as well as supporting the ensemble. The foursome trade vaudevillian barbs, step in and out of different characters, and most of all-blend their voices as though they've been together for years.

The spare set is effective for this full-scale cabaret act, which also has a crowd-pleasing audience participation putting contest. Director Danny Eaton has found the most humorous moments in this brazenly self-referential script, and uses the theatre space to great effect. Music Director Amy Roberts-Crawford and percussionists Leo Arthur and Brian Peltier masterfully set the pace for the evening which is par for the course (this joke fits the material). Real golfers will get the inside jokes, while the rest of the audience can laugh at the plaid and the puns.