Review: Disaster! at Sacramento Theatre Company
A “jukebox musical” with some of the best (and worst) songs of the 1970s is one huge cruise of enjoyable theater. Disaster! is its name, but it’s anything but that.
Stupid and silly, this parody of disaster films from the ’70s has every calamity of the genre—earthquakes, shipwrecks and fires—with all the dastardly villains, innocent victims and reluctant heroes of The Poseidon Adventure, Jaws and The Towering Inferno.
It’s opening night of New York’s first floating casino. Tony Delvecchio (Timothy Stewart in a singing, dancing, comedic tour de force) has exploited technicalities, skirted regulations and financially extended himself to the point of ruin. There are two additional threats: a nun (Sister Mary, played by Nicole Sterling) and a “disaster expert” (Professor Ted Scheider, played by Casey McClellan). She tells everybody they’re all going to hell, and he tells them they’re all going to die.
Potential victims include: lounge singer Jackie Noelle (Natasha Hause); Jackie’s twins, Lisa and Ben, imaginatively played by a single actor (Elizabeth Lamora, alternating with Katelyn Reeves); fading disco diva Levora Verona (Miranda D. Lawson); a couple celebrating the husband’s retirement (Maury and Shirley, played tenderly by Michael Cross and hilariously by Jamie Jones); and the requisite attractive young couple in love (Sam C. Jones and Melissa Brausch).
Michael Laun directs with admirable respect for both musical comedy and the disaster theme, mixing humor and groan-inducing obviousness (“Feelings,” anyone?) into one big hit.