I come to all this with prejudice from who knows where that the theatrical productions on cruises are entertaining but cringe-worthy like suburban community theater. All targeting nostalgic boomers. But we are they, we are here, and let’s jump into all the cruise distractions. The production on the first night was a song and dance mélange fueled by 1970’s disco songs. Young enthusiastic cast in all shapes and sizes; one female lead had to sport a tight 70’s onesie that showcased her full middle, while one of the male dancers seemed to be 7 feet tall. Oh well, go with the flow, celebrate diversity. I wondered so much about all the performers’ stories: Is this a great résumé builder? Do you have to be pretty good to land this gig, or is this a way station to nowhere? What is it like to be a tiny ensemble of theater people, away from home, hidden behind the scenes except at show time, performing for an older crowd lulled by massages, cocktails and buffets — at least does it seem that way to them? In fact, the audience is delighted to be here, relaxed, old enough to have shed inhibitions, and probably really supportive of these talented young people.
The songs were all lively and expected (Disco Inferno, Boogie Wonderland…). The plot was appropriately loose: Aspiring singer torn between his high school sweetheart and the flashy established singer (sweetheart wins!). As the numbers rolled along, full of energy and tight choreography, with excellent cruise band backup, the rambunctiousness and joy took over. The performers were very good: great voices, impeccable dancing, endless energy. I hope that this cruise engagement is good for their careers and bank accounts, because they delivered such an enthusiastic and quality performance. (When and where did they rehearse to be so tuned?) Is there something in the water turning me into a cruiser?