ST. CHARLES – "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," the newest production put on by Fox Valley Repertory at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, is fun and entertaining but featured some vocal performances that left a little to be desired.
The musical is based on the songs of Neil Sedaka – songs that are familiar to many in the audience. There was no shortage of jokes though throughout the nearly 2-hour production. Fred Zimmerman of Downers Grove, who plays Harvey, is a veteran of Broadway and he brings a dose of enthusiasm and hilarity to his character.
The production is set at a Esther's, a 1960s entertainment and hotel resort in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. The venue's big star, Del, played by Michael Brown, is gaining popularity – enough for producers of "American Bandstand" to pay a visit to the resort to see Del perform. Meanwhile, Marge (Christina Myers) recently was stood up at the altar by her soon-to-be husband. Her best friend, Lois (Stephanie Herman), whisks her away from Marge's everyday life for a weekend up in the Catskills.
The acting was tremendous and the actors really played well with the crowd, even inviting an unknowing guest up to the stage as part of the production.
But the singing wasn't as strong as I had expected coming into seeing a Neil Sedaka-based musical. Some of the vocal performances were spot on – namely whenever Christina Myers took the microphone. But the rest of the performers failed to hit every note, which was noticeable to the audience. Maybe it was opening night jitters that caused the issues.
Either way, I enjoyed myself while watching the production, and you will too. The choreography is spot on and the set, transitions, and house band all added positively to my experience.
Overall, it's another strong output by the Fox Valley Repertory team.
• Mike Van Der Harst is the features editor of the Kane County Chronicle. “The Second Row” will feature coverage of arts and entertainment events throughout the area. Contact him at 630-845-5233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MikeVDH1.