IDOLS OF THE KINGBy Ronnie Claire Edwards and Allen Crow
Director/Musical Director: Terry Dobson
Set Designer: Jac Alder
Costume Designer: Illusions with Bruce Richard Coleman
Lighting Designer: Jon Felt
Sound Designer: Marco Salinas
Choreography: Morgana Shaw & Jack Foltyn
Man: Michael Corolla
Elvis Presley: Jack Foltyn
Woman: Morgana Shaw
Piano: Terry Dobson
Percussion: Mike McNicholas
Bass: Pat Scaider
Guitar: Brian Coleman
Horns: Michael Dill
Reviewed Performance: 3/4/2013
Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Idols of the King is written in sketch style, following several characters through their journeys in their love of Elvis. The audience is taken from a forlorn piano teacher, who escapes her dreary life with Elvis' music, to Elvis' army bunk mate, to a pair of geriatrics touched by "The King." Each one tells their own story, although not all stories are related to Elvis.
The individual scenes are well-crafted; contain wonderful, witty lines, and storytelling. As a whole, though, the script becomes convoluted as Edwards and Crow attempt to connect all of the characters to each other.
Once the audience realizes the characters are all connected they start being distracted in the scenes looking for the connection. Some of the connections are so tenebrous though, the character itself could have been left out. The script could be greatly improved if, instead of distilling Elvis fans into their own individual characters, it followed one or two fans, with whom the audience could easily identify. The best developed story Edwards and Crow currently have is that of Kevin, his girlfriend, and his grandparents. Expanding on these two separate but connected stories and incorporating elements from the others would make for a more enjoyable show.
Visually, Idols of the King is wonderful and keeps to the high standards we expect from Theatre Three. Jac Alder's set design is simple, with a bandstand in one corner, an open space for all the scenes to play out in the middle of the floor, and another, smaller platform on the diagonal from the bandstand. Underneath the bandstand hides a living room set that is rolled out for a quick scene change.
The space is decorated like a late 60s era lounge, with funky colors in a simple circular pattern on the floor and flowing strip lights hanging above. The band area is also decorated with 60s style lanterns.
The lighting design, by John Felt, is perfect. It quickly transitions between the scenes, allowing the actors to escape in darkness for their next costume change while Jack Foltyn entertains the audience with a poignant Elvis song. Colors help set moods within the scenes, like the soft focus effect during the piano teacher scene or the light pink wash in the showgirl's scene. It is truly the technical highlight of the production.
The performances in Idols of the King are the best part of the show. Both Michael Corolla and Morgana Shaw turn in magnificent performances.
It is quite impressive to see such a variety of characters performed so well. It would be easier to believe they are performed by different actors. Their talents and skill are on full display as each character takes on a life of its own. Not a hint of any other character appears in another.
Jack Foltyn, as "The King", himself is nearly a vocal doppelganger for Elvis. His dance moves leave something to be desired though. He does have a great romantic dance number in the piano teacher's scene but that is not in the style of Elvis. When he is attempting to imitate Elvis' signature moves, Foltyn appears stiff and uncertain of what to throw in next. As a "Graceland Approved Elvis Artist", he should be able to dance more authentically.
Idols of the King is a show that thrives on audience involvement. If you see this show, be prepared to clap and dance in your seats. Unfortunately, the audience for the reviewed performance was less inclined to be involved and the toll it took on the energy of the performers, especially Jack Foltyn, became increasingly apparent throughout the night. Eventually, it appeared Foltyn reverted to "rehearsal mode," turning in an acceptable performance but not giving it his all, in contrast to the excellent performances of Corolla and Shaw.
Overall, Idols of the King is a fine show. It has great performances that should be seen, and fun music, but the lack of cohesion in the script pulls the all-around quality down with it.
Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St., Dallas, TX 75201
Runs through March 30th
Thursdays and Sundays at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sunday matin?es at 2:30 pm
Hooky Matin?e is Wednesday, March 27th at 2:00 pm
Miser?s Night Out is Sunday, March 24th.
Additional performance on Saturday, March 30th at 2:30 pm.
Tickets are $25.00-$50.00. Hooky Matin?e and Miser's Night Out tickets are $10.00-$15.00.
Tickets may be purchased by calling T3?s box office at (214) 871-3300, option #1, or by going online to www.theatre3dallas.com.