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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Off the Wall's 'Roadside' Musical

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Off the Wall Theatre's production of the Tom Jones/Harvey Schmidt musical Roadside is given the strange position of trying to cram the vastness of the Old West onto one of the smallest stages in town. Despite there being no real reason why it should work—musicals in studio theaters require precision, the music needs room to breathe, and too much intimacy could be at odds with a show that idealizes the cheery folksiness of the Old West—director Dale Gutzman and company are savvy enough to pull it off.

The show is far from perfect. Instead, it seems to deliver a strategically executed imperfection. The musical's actors, nearly all of who have performed in Gutzman productions in the past, seem to have come of age with Roadside. At the center of it all is David Flores, who puts in a remarkably nuanced performance as host Uncle Billy Barlow, a touchingly flawed man.

Off the Wall Theatre's production of Roadside runs through June 3. For ticket reservations, call 414-327-3552.