Review: MBT delivers lively country musical show

Meadow Brook’s production of  “Fancy: A Country Jukebox Musical” — the theater’s first show since it theater was shuttered 19 months ago — delivers strong, lively performances and an unexpected plot twist. The play, running through Oct. 3, was inspired by the 1969 Bobbie Gentry song and Reba McEntire’s 1991 hit recording of it. The story is of a young girl whose mother sends her packing with nothing but her guitar and the clothes on her back. Her mother tells her to be “kind to the gentlemen,” so she resorts to prostitution initially, before marrying the foreman of a glass factory where she works, then rising to superstardom in the world of country music. Playwrights Susan DiLallo and Dan Wackerman invented the story about what happened to Fancy, told through popular country songs. As Fancy, Larissa Klinger (who performed in MBT’s “The Spitfire Grill”) carries the audience through a believable transformation from timid hillbilly girl to powerhouse singer. She starts out slow, with melancholy numbers like “It’s a Heartache,” then finally gets up the nerve to audition with “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” and later belts out “Fancy” as a confident veteran performer. Sally (played by Jacqueline Petroccia), Fancy’s only friend at the glass factory and her lifelong confidante, is sassy and sexy. Petroccia sashays across the stage and wows the audience with her powerful and sometimes comical solos, Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” and Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” Max Falls is Ned, Larissa Klinger is Fancy in “Fancy: A Country Jukebox Musical,” playing through Oct. 3 at Meadow Brook Theatre. (Sean Carter Photography) Max Falls, in his MBT debut, convincingly shows both sides of Ned, Fancy’s husband, who starts out adoring her and then resenting her for being on the road and neglecting him and their son. Sitting at the bar with three of his drinking buddies, Ned and the trio cry in their beers while singing Garth Brooks’ “Long Neck Bottle,” while attempting country line dancing — mind you, they’re a little tipsy. Dale White (from left), Max Falls, Richard Marlatt and Cory Cunningham appear in “Fancy: A Country Jukebox Musical,” playing Sept. 8-Oct. 3, 2021, at Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester Hills. (Sean Carter Photography) Ron Williams (MBT’s “Working”), as Fancy’s slick, fast-talking manager, gets some laughs for his solo version of George Strait’s “All My Exes Live in Texas.” An unexpected plot twist near the end makes the story less formulaic, while delivering a satisfying ending. It’s an upbeat experience and a welcome opener to the season. • “Fancy” plays through Oct. 3 at Meadow Brook Theatre, 2200 N. Squirrel Road, Rochester Hills. Tickets are $36-$46 at, or in person at the box office. Visit or call 248-377-3300. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]

Review: MBT delivers lively country musical show

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