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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pure Magic in Skylight's 'Things That Go Ding!'

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From high above the stage, a couple of rows of cymbal-banging monkey toys stand guard over the Broadway Theatre Center's Studio Theatre. The stage itself is filled with an eye-popping variety of instruments that make noise when struck. This is the playground of Michael "Ding" Lorenz, a charming, talented musician who has the opportunity to live out a percussionist's dream as the Skylight Music Theatre presents Things That Go Ding!

Things That Go Ding!
is a fun evening of music and comedy. Lorenz is joined by the Skylight's slick and cool Jamie Johns on piano and Ray Jivoff in madcap comic vocalist mode. Lorenz and company tickle the auditory canal with fare that includes comic rearrangements of Mozart and an ever-popular selection from Carmen on a set of tuned taxi horns. The rapport between the performers is quite evident, and the audience shares in the fun that these guys are having onstage. At one point, the group provides music and sound effects for a silent-era RKO animated short. Watching Lorenz and company go to work on the low-resolution black-and-white short creates a magical fusion between cinema and performance. Serious musicality is seen with Lorenz on a hand pan drum with wind chime accompaniment, as he brings forth an otherworldly song. Lorenz isn't just a musician—he's a conjurer. In that moment and so many others, Things That Go Ding! is pure magic.

Things That Go Ding!
runs through May 6 at the Broadway Theatre Center's Studio Theatre. For ticket reservations, call 414-291-7800.