To the Editor:
I have enjoyed getting your … reviews, and think it is a great service to the community since The News & Observer seems to feel theater is a throwaway activity and won’t give it much credit unless it is connected to North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South — both of which have given us questionable productions at times. Raleigh Little Theatre has also had its share of not-so-great productions, but also ones that have shown like a beacon for audiences yearning for quality theater. So, thank you for keeping the theater community in touch.
My second reason for writing is your review of The Full Monty [Raleigh Little Theatre, June 8-10, 14-17, and 21-24]. While I am a cast member — and I do take exception to your comment that only Rose [Martin] had the “pipes” for her numbers; I feel my performance is certainly more than “Fun”— I am also a singer and a voice teacher who studies musical theater, and I have been coaching some of Raleigh’s best performers for years. You stated that the leads in Full Monty weren’t doing well with the “modest vocal demands” of their roles. I highly disagree with calling them “modest.” These songs are extremely difficult to master as the rhythms and vocal lines are somewhat erratic and difficult to master — not to mention the range is for super high tenors of which there are few in this area. They (the characters) are expected to maintain these high pitches throughout most of the songs, and they aren’t supposed to sing much in falsetto.
The guy who wrote this (his first ever musical) really had it out for the voices of these characters. I think you should take a look at the score before calling any of the vocal demands “modest.” Granted, our guys aren’t the best singers; but I think credit should be given for doing as well as they are with difficult and strenuous material. They are also young, and some of them are doing their first musical. Please remember that this is also community theater, and directors choose the best they are offered on a volunteer basis. If you want to say they aren’t great singers, I’d agree; but to say these were modest vocal demands/easy songs [is] wrong.
Of course, we all have opinions and everyone is entitled to theirs, but it might help to get a musical person’s opinion sometimes. And that’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.
Alison Lawrence