By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
There is one genuinely adorable and hilarious number in this production. The real Bela gets tipsy in a saloon with Bobby-as-Bela, and they sing and dance a comic duet to the up-tempo ditty "What Causes That." Brian Hathaway, who's starred in better shows at Lyric Stage and Uptown Players (he was Leo Bloom in The Producers there), nails every joke, sings with a kooky Russian accent but makes every word audible, tap dances his buns off with a chair on his head and generally gives the hapless Beasley a master class in how musical comedy is done by a real professional. When Hathaway leaves the stage to rousing applause, the kid's tasting his dust.
In the quality of its recent shows, Theatre Three has had more ups and downs than a trampoline park. They can go from the rollicking weirdness of the rock musical Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson to the tight, expertly acted little drama Freud's Last Session, and then blow their streak with a miscast mishmash like Crazy for You. Big musicals get the cramps jammed into the little playhouse in the Quadrangle. They have to stick the five-piece band so far backstage it sounds as if they're playing from the parking lot. Even miked, the singers are hard to hear as they do endless circles to hit all four sides of the house.
When frumpily clad Irene jumps onto the back of one of the men in the Deadrock bar and rides him as he crawls across the floor, it's symbolic of how this show feels to the viewer. They're all on top of one another on that stage, fighting for a few inches of space to dance on without tripping, gouging out somebody's eye or stomping a foot — and that includes all the sleepy pensioners seated on the front rows.
Crazy for You
Continues through December 15 at Theatre Three. Call 214-871-3300.
Crazy for You. Us. Them. Everybody.