“Hello! My Baby” songsters shine on stage

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“Hello! My Baby” songsters shine on stage

Caitlin Trude

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Ciarán McCarthy and Evie Hutton star as Mickey McKee and Nelly Gold in the Rubicon Theatre Company's production of "Hello! My Baby." Credit: Daniel P. Lam.

Ciarán McCarthy and Evie Hutton star as Mickey McKee and Nelly Gold in the Rubicon Theatre Company’s production of “Hello! My Baby.” Credit: Daniel P. Lam.

The sounds of pre-show vocal warm-ups resonated softly from behind the curtain as I and the rest of the audience members found our seats in the theater.

Directed by the Rubicon Theatre Company‘s Brian McDonald, all the musical mischief, toe-tapping tunes, and lighthearted comedy of “Hello! My Baby” were brought to the stage by an all-star cast.

Taking place in the early twentieth century in New York’s Tin Pan Alley, “Hello! My Baby” follows the story of two poverty-stricken heroes, smooth-talking music “plugger” Mickey McKee (Ciarán McCarthy) and factory girl Nelly Gold (Evie Hutton) whose combined talents enable them to compose songs that have potential to become the next big hits.

As rivalry between the dynamic duo threaten the McKee-Gold songwriting team, Nelly swaps her skirts for britches, ensuing in further chaos and hilarity. Nelly’s constant switch from straight-laced, practical Nelly to streetwise song-plugging “Ned” throughout the musical results in a comedic love triangle, sharing a similar plot twist to Shakespeare’s “The Twelfth Night.”

Audience members will be drawn in by the high energy from the get-go, starting with the “Pluggers’ Prologue Medley.” With the ten-plus songs intertwined with witty dialogue, an impressive revolving set, and strategic stage movement, the first few scenes in “Hello! My Baby” foreshadowed a production rich with liveliness.

Conceived by award-winning writer Cheri Steinkellner, “Hello! My Baby” takes old tunes from the Great American Songbook and weaves them into what the Rubicon Theatre Company calls “a riotous new-fashioned musical comedy.”

From sentimental ballads such as “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” and “If You Were the Only Girl” to the more upbeat numbers of “Ja-Da” and “Ain’t We Got Fun?” the Rubicon Theatre Company’s rendition of “Hello! My Baby” encompasses the elements of a good old-fashioned American musical.

“Hello! My Baby” is performed by an array of talented cast members, including McCarthy, Hutton , McKenna Tedrick (as Violet Gold), Will Sevedge (as Junior Tierney), and Kristine Zbornik (as Ethel Coots) in some of the lead roles, and also features television acting veteran George Wendt (as Bert Coots), who is well known for his role as Norm on the television series “Cheers.”

Other notable performances include Harley Jay as the resident bad guy Johnny Giovanni, Lilli Babb in the role of the privileged and charismatic Alice Tierney, and Tad Murroughs and Jacob Mattison as the comedic Coots brothers.

With all-around impressive vocals, catchy choreography, believable character portrayals, and a fun storyline interwoven with fascinating elements of American history, “Hello! My Baby” is an engaging production fit for all ages to enjoy.

“Hello! My Baby” will be continuing performances at the Rubicon Theatre through April 15. For more information on ticket pricing, show times, and other venues where “Hello! My Baby” will be performed, go to the Rubicon Theatre Company website.

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