Review: “Limelight at the La Jolla Playhouse”

Posted on: October 6, 2010
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Limelight

Oh. My. God. Just experienced one of the best productions I’ve seen in quite a long time: “Limelight” — a musical about the life of Charlie Chaplin, playing at the La Jolla Playhouse through October 17. (http://www.lajollaplayhouse.org/the-season/plays/limelight). This musical tracks Chaplin’s life from a poor childhood in the streets of London, to his rise to stardom, first in Vaudeville in London, then in silent pictures in Hollywood, and on to talking pictures with his comedic depiction of Hitler in “The Great Dictator” and finally, his fall from grace during the ugly years when there was widespread fear of communism and the “red threat” in the U.S. Everything was there, including his steady succession of marriages and divorces (this WAS Hollywood after all) and his return to the U.S. in 1972 to receive his honorary Oscar. The cast was amazing; all talented actors and fantastic singers, and none were more amazing than the man who played Chaplin himself, Robert McClure, mimicking all of Chaplin’s slapstick antics to perfection. The choreography was breathtaking and complex; the music was melodic and with great lyrics; the sets were extremely clever and elaborate, and the costumes and props were very authentic. I see Broadway in this musical’s future, without a doubt. Perhaps the best compliment I can give this production is that not only did it make me tap my toes, sing along, and even shed a tear once or twice, not to mention smile with glee, laugh and clap my hands…but it inspired me to want to know more about this man Charlie Chaplin and his amazing life. I’m not surprised a production of this caliber is at the La Jolla Playhouse; this IS after all where “Jersey Boys”, the story of Frankie Valli and Four Seasons debuted, which now has a permanent home in Las Vegas. And what an amazing production THAT was as well. All I can say is, GO SEE LIMELIGHT.

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