‘Half Time’ brings to life feel-good story about geriatric hip-hop dancers: review

'Half Time' brings to life feel-good story about geriatric hip-hop dancers: review

that easy urge you have bought on a regular basis wanted to see an alum of “The Mary Tyler Moore Current” rap? Correctly as a result of model new musical “Half Time” on the Paper Mill Playhouse, Georgia Engel is totally glad to oblige. She moreover dabs, tuts and professes a love for 2 Chainz.

We’re a good way from TV Land.

Or maybe we’re not: “Half Time” is a feel-good story a number of geriatric hip-hop dance crew that revels inside the tropes of sitcom humor and tried-and-true plot strains which have carried quite a few television reveals and movies from “The Mary Tyler Moore Current” days correctly into the present. Its warmth moral that the humanity of the aged ought not be ignored connects whatever the current’s incapability to steer clear of the simple one-liners about earlier of us’ imaginative and prescient points and distaste for youth model.

That features a cast boasting a surprising collective resume of stage and show display success, the current adapts the 2008 documentary “Gotta Dance,” which tells the true story of The NETSationals, the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets’ senior-citizen dance troupe. A basketball workers’s hot-shot youthful vp for leisure, Alison (Tracy Jai Edwards), cooks up the idea and prices dance coach Tara (Haven Burton) with recruiting and coaching an over-60 crew to bounce a hip-hop amount convincingly and entertainingly at half time in just a few weeks.

You probably can decide how the remaining goes. Completely you have bought seen “The Unhealthy Data Bears,” “The Mighty Geese, “A League of Their Private” or one other iteration of this story: Whatever the forces of self- and collective doubt, occasional squabbling and exterior pressures, the crew comes collectively as a unit and silences the doubters by dazzling previous all expectations. All of us research a invaluable lesson, and all individuals lives thankfully ever after.

If Bob Martin’s script is formulaic, and lyrics and music by Nell Benjamin and Matthew Sklar are equally prosaic, the accountability of uplift for the current falls to director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, who obtained a Tony for his work on “Kinky Boots.” Proper right here Mitchell principally strives to craft an applicable star flip to allow each of his marquee names to shine.

Engel comports herself correctly in various rap and hip-hop numbers. Andre De Shields reveals the youngsters various conventional steps in “The Prince of Swing,” which is turning into on account of Andre De Shields might in precise truth be the Prince of Swing. Donna McKechnie performs a former expert dancer who reveals that she’s going to nonetheless acquire grace, and Lillias White has a great deal of pleasing being a defending grandmother.

Nonetheless although the climactic half-time dance is thrilling and pleasing, the easiest amount by far belongs to Nancy Ticotin, who performs Camilla, a senior Latina deeply offended by any notion of “age-appropriate.” Her salsa-inspired “Como No?” is full of passion and dazzling choreography — it’s as if Anita from “West Aspect Story” has develop right into a grandmother nonetheless misplaced none of her vitality.

If the exuberance of the opening-night crowd is any indication, this current hits a great deal of notes that people love. Jokes seem repeatedly hackneyed, nonetheless there is not a denying they killed, and the plot may be recycled, nonetheless it has labored so many events sooner than that it’s a protected guess that it is going to work as soon as extra proper right here. The opening-night crowd was on its toes sooner than lights bought right here up for curtain identify.

Largely it seems just like the novelty of seniors pulling off hip-hop dance strikes (and make no mistake about it: Mitchell and cast pull it off) coupled with the heartwarming story of passion enduring no matter time’s merciless creep is ample to make the current a winner.


Paper Mill Playhouse

22 Brookside Drive, Millburn

Tickets: On-line at tickets.papermill.org. Working through July 1.

Patrick Maley may be reached at patrickjmaley@gmail.com. Uncover him on Twitter and Instagram @PatrickJMaley. Uncover NJ.com/Leisure on Fb.

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