Review: Wheaton Drama’s Broadway Ballot (Act Two only!)

Show: BROADWAY BALLOT Location: Wheaton Drama
Director: Craig Gustafson

After my whirlwind weekend getaway up north in Minocqua, Wisconsin… I drove straight south back home and realized that if I pushed it, I would make it to see a few of my theatre friends at their Broadway Ballot. Granted I ended up missing the first Act (which had a few shows that I really wanted to see) but seeing the second act provided songs from shows that I am not typically a fan of, but now I would be kind of curious to see.

Below are all the songs that were featured in the second act of the Broadway Ballot at Wheaton Drama. What Wheaton Drama did was put on a kind of revue of a vast variety of Broadway songs from a variety of musicals and asked the audience to decide which shows they would love to see or not care to see at all. Then these ballots are tabulated and presented to the Wheaton Drama monthly meeting and from there they may use the data to decide what musicals to present for future seasons.

Regardless if the data would be used or not, in the end it was a fun revue / production and it helped bring in donations and dollars to the theatre group for their future productions. So all in all a win-win situation for an outsider looking in (aka myself).

From what I understand from those that were part of the production there were twenty-two performers who were singing twenty-six songs and they only had eleven rehearsals to do it. Now coming from someone that has been thrown into the thick of things a week before Opening weekends (including Shakespeare)… I can honestly say that I was expecting nothing less than fun, laughter, and entertainment and this group definitely delivered.

Taking a look at the official Ballot the revue is comprised of songs taken from a vast variety of shows: traditional and non-traditional, well and lesser known. A nice mixed bag with something for everyone to enjoy.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show:
This is one theatre production that I made a point of making sure I was not exposed to in any fashion… period. Of course it had to be the opening number of the second Act. Featuring the vocal talents of Ken Kaden, Melissa Heeres, Zach Gibson and Meg McGarry, “Time Warp” definitely caught my attention and when placed in the right hands could be something that even this ultra-conservative individual might be willing to enjoy.

For a Stephen Schwartz show, I am not necessarily a fan. I understand the storyline and the purpose but there are times where the production can become extremely self-indulgent. That being said I LOVE the songs from this show… when taken out of context. There are quite a few numbers that I have sung and rather enjoyed… though when placed in the context of the musical are rather odd and evil in many ways. Dee Hicks did a respectable job for No Time At All. However, it was the chorus of men that stole this song for me: comprised of Ben Dooley, Zach Gibson and Stuart Vance. They just look like they were having the time of their lives being Dee’s back up trio. Almost upstaging her at moment… I cracked.

Damn Yankees:
I have heard this song over and over and over again while listening to the On Broadway channel on Sirius XM and I never really had a driving desire to see this production. However, when I saw Ken Kaden trying to get three people into getting excited about the game it just reminded me how wonderful an actor and vocalist he is. Would I see this production? Don’t know, considering the only song that I enjoy I just saw… so I guess I am up in the air with this one.

After seeing what Craig did with Assassins out in Geneva, this would be interesting to see at Wheaton. Would I see it again? Well that kind of depends on a lot of factors, since I have seen it already. If there are actors/friends that I am dying to see in this production then perhaps… but I am not the kind of person to see a show more than once unless I really love it, and Assassins is definitely one that I do not absolutely love. But I enjoy it. Granted seeing Pam Turlow in the Gun Song really warmed my heart.

Bye Bye Birdie:
I remember seeing this production back in my freshman year in high school and haven’t had the nerve to see it again b/c that production (despite the flaws) was magical for me. That being said I’d love to see this again. Garrett Ard was engaging and incredibly flexible / malleable in his movement. I mean how can you NOT want to smile when he is trying so hard? The dance sequence was fun to watch to, I really enjoyed myself here. I think what I would have liked even more is to see Lisa Dawn Foertsch and Garrett play a bit more of a cat and mouse game in the smiling… like Lisa Dawn sneaking a smile and Garrett trying to catch her… etc.

Radio Gals:
I was first introduced to this song via a YouTube video featuring Sutton Foster, Christian Borle, and Megan McGinnis. Unfortunately the only song I know from the Radio gals is the “That Wicky Wacky Hula Hula Honka Wonka Honolulu Hawaiian Honey of Mine” so I can’t say if I am going to enjoy this production or not.



I’m not saying that because I like the show, because I’m more or less ambivalent, but after seeing Bernadette Peters “bump it with a trumpet” there was something about the song that told me I better see the production in its entirety or die! Or not that extreme, but dammit it was funny. Plus it featured a friend of mine that I have grown to respect in the short time that I have gotten to know her.

Bells Are Ringing:
Pam made me laugh, but considering I know almost nothing about the production it is hard to say whether I would want to see this or not.

The Full Monty:
Now I’ll be honest, when I first heard of the Full Monty I didn’t really want to see it. Even when it became a musical I wasn’t a fan… So I was presently surprised to see a song as sweet as “You Rule the World”. Curious? Yes. Would I see it? Don’t know.

Big River:
For anyone that knows me well enough I am a stickler for keeping things realistic and if there is a production that includes colored characters (be it African-American, Hispanic, Asian, etc) then they better bring in the actors to fill those roles else it just wouldn’t look / feel right for a “colored person” like myself. That being said: One of the issues with this production is the necessity of colored people in the production, which tends to be lacking in the auditioning demographic of the area (as far as I know) but I do love this show and seeing it would be a real treat if done right. I do like this show and the songs in it, as thus I would love to see it done right.

I will admit, I never understood the allure of this production, but after seeing Ben Dooley steal the show with this finale I will grudgingly admit that I would love to learn more about the show itself. After all, it looked like Ben and the cast was having way too much fun.

Considering what I saw, I was very happy with how this revue turned out. In fact I would go so far as to say that I was disappointed that I didn’t make more of an effort to see the whole show, but considering everything being able to see something is far better than none at all. And I got to hang out and talk with friends while there… so it all works out.

Craig Gustafson did a very good job in directing and putting together a cast and show in such a short time frame. In fact for those that didn’t know the about the short rehearsal time frame they most likely didn’t notice the difference. Even for veterans of being thrown in at the last minute this was an impressive feat but also expected from a bunch of cast members that love and enjoy their craft.

Whatever musical productions Wheaton Drama decides upon down the road I am sure it would be a hit for whomever would be lucky enough to see the production down in the future.