If you are tired of shows with loud rockin’ scores with words you don’t understand then Hello! My Baby that just opened at the Rubicon theatre in Ventura might just be your cup of tea. Written by Tony Nominee (Sister Act) and Emmy and Golden Globe Winner (Cheers) Cheri Steinkellner, the show is a loving tribute to a great period of music –making in America between late 1800 to the Depression, when sheet music was king. There were music publishers gathered in one area where people could come and tryout their new songs. Tin Pan Alley referred to the cacophony of a whole bunch of pianos pounding out different tunes. People could by the sheet music once it was published and take it home to play.
The story is simple, about one Mickey McKee, the King of Song- Pluggers, who dreams of writing the next “big hit” but he can’t write a note. He meets a young girl, as ambitious as himself, who wants to write the music. The musical explores the ins and outs of their story and the stories of their neighbors. All is fine until the girl, Nellie, puts on trousers and calls herself Ned, the new King of the Pluggers. Along the way they encounter society at the Debutante level as well as Delancy Street, and must contend with class struggle, social reform, and gender politics as they try to find ‘THE SONG” and as they slowly come to the conclusion that they are made for each other.
The show stars Ciaran McCarthy as Mickey, and Evie Hutton as his rival/lover. Veterans George Ball and George Wendt also make appearances along the way. There are winning performances from Kristine Zbornik and the scene-stealing Harley Jay.
Musical direction was by Lloyd Cooper, Lee Martino was the choreographer, Craig Safan the orchestrator, Thomas S. Giamario designed the sets and Jeremy Pivnick designed the lights. Marcy Froelich provided the costumes. Brian McDonald was the director. This is a toe-tapping hum-along musical which is bound to please. This is the first fully staged professional staging and represents only the first stage of a long developmental process. Examples of the songs sung are “Some of These Days”, Stairway to Paradise, “You Made Me Love You”, and “Hello My Baby. Go see Hello! My Baby and receive a huge batch of nostalgic fun. Hello! My Baby will play at the Rubicon until April 15th and then it will transfer to the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara.