Review: Stepping Out at the Woodland Opera House

Stepping Out

Sure, you can tap dance while sitting but it’s not ideal.

Sure, you can tap dance while sitting but it’s not ideal.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Wheeler

Showtimes: Fri 7:30pm, Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2pm; Through 11/10; $7-$25; The Woodland Opera House, 340 2nd St., Woodland, (530) 666-9617,
Rated 4.0

It was thanks to the wife of playwright Richard Harris that the comedy Stepping Out was written. After Hilary Crane attended a tap dance class in the local village hall, she suggested the idea for a possible play and the show was born.

Now the Woodland Opera House, which has displayed wonderful dance examples lately, is presenting this comedy about a diverse group of people, whose only common bond is the desire to learn how to tap so they can perform at a charity concert.

Though this is a thoroughly “spec-tap-u-lar” production, there are a few problems with the script that make it less than ideal. We learn so little about the backstory of the tap students that it leaves us wanting more.

What about Geoffrey, who is dealing with grief following the death of his wife? Why does Andy insist on long sleeves and clutch pillows to her abdomen? Is her husband abusive?

What about nurse Lynne, the quiet one, who says this class is the only thing she does for herself? Why is Vera such a compulsive neatnik?

Each of the performers is excellent in dancing badly—and you know they are all good dancers by their performance in the finale.

This particular production has some problems. A lot of dialogue is missed because the performers, most of whom are local professionals and know how to project, can’t be heard even in rows close to the stage.

But with or without complete understanding of what is being said, watching them all progress from beginners to dancers is a lot of fun.