Yankee Doodle Boy, Rapping Slaves and Feline Memories – Purr!
By Joel Markowitz
Jeffrey Shankle is a Yankee Doodle Dandy! This multi-talented pistol can tap dance, glide along the stage, perform cane tricks and sings with a beautiful, lyric tenor voice. He also is one helluva server. I learned that first hand at a matinee of George M on Sunday, March 10th.
When I first saw Jeffrey perform, he was one of the Newsboys in Signature Theatre’s production of Gypsy, and his stage presence and charm sparkled on the stage. His gorgeous voice and energetic dancing have filled Toby’s-The Dinner Theatre of Columbia’s small venue as Jimmy Smith in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Bill Calhoon in Kiss Me Kate, Fred Gailey in Here’s Love, and now as George M. Cohan in George M.
George M opened at The Palace Theatre on April 10, 1968 and closed on April 26, 1989, after playing 433 performances. It won a Tony for Joe Layton’s choreography, and was also nominated for Joel’s Grey’s performance as George M. Cohan. Bernadette Peters played Josie, George M. Cohan’s sister in the original production.
The show has rarely been produced since 1968, and now Toby Orenstein has mounted a very entertaining production, as Jeffrey supplies the tapping feet, the great lungs and beaucoup energy. And you have to see the gorgeous, colorful costumes that Larry Munsey (who is presently baring all in the Full Monty at Toby’s Baltimore) has created for George M.
I sat down with Jeffrey after the matinee and talked about his energy level and performance in George M, his career as an actor, his training as a tap dancer and singer, and his performances at Toby’s. Jeffrey glowed during our chat and with a wonderful sense of humor, shared his thoughts about George M. You can hear the podcast/interview here.
“Give My Regards to Broadway,” Jeffrey!
You can purchase tickets to George M, which runs through June 10, 2007, by calling (301) 596-6161. For more information on the show, go to www.tobysdinnertheatre.com and click on Columbia. Tap dance yourself “Over There” to Toby’s-The Dinner Theatre of Columbia, and you will have a Yankee Doodle great time!
I feel cat-atonic and quite frisky. I don’t want to pussyfoot around it. I still can’t believe what I heard – my eardrums are still throbbing. What did you say?
It’s Wednesday, March 6th and it’s press night at The Warner Theatre for the “When are they finally going to sing that damn song – Memory” musical – let me paws for a moment – -I mean Cats. The place is 1/3 full in the orchestra section. As the Eveready bunny-like actors playing pussies are giving their all, the stringless orchestra is pounding out the insufferable Andrew Lloyd Webber score.
Finally, Angie Smith, who plays Grizabella -The Glamour Cat – get this – whose character is shunned by the rest of her litter friends, despite being a Jellicle Cat, and who left the other kitties three years earlier to explore the outside world, and who wants to return now to the land of the felines, begins, “Memory all alone in the moonlight….” and then when she is about to hit the (well, purr along with me please..), “Touch me….”, someone in the sound department cranked the sound to an insufferable noise level! ME-OUCH! ME-OUCH! ME-DEAF! What a cat-astrophe! Put this show away for 25 years. Please?