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Sugar: The Some Like It Hot Musical

Sugar:  The Some Like It Hot Musical
Corn Stock Theatre
June 3 - 11
Written by Liz Scoville

What do you get when you mix bandstands, tap dancing, and men dressed as women to elude 1920s gangsters? The answer is simple: Corn Stock Theatre’s summer season opener for 2016.

Sugar: The “Some Like It Hot” Musical opens Friday, June 3, as the first show at the Corn Stock Theatre summer tent this year. The musical, directed by Mike Reams and featuring a talented and sizeable cast and crew, is based on the 1959 film Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis. It tells the story of Joe and Jerry, two musicians who accidentally witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and are forced to go on the run to avoid the homicidal wrath of gangster Spats Palazzo. They quickly find the perfect hiding plan: they disguise themselves as women to earn a job with an all-female band, Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopaters. As Joe and Jerry blend in their new group as “Josephine” and “Daphne,” they meet Sugar, the band’s headliner and a hopeless romantic who dreams of marrying and leaving the band life behind. Joe falls for Sugar and works to win her heart by disguising himself as a millionaire bachelor; meanwhile, “Daphne” avoids the gaze of “dirty old man” Osgood Fielding, Jr., who has no idea that Daphne is actually Jerry. Hilarity and chaos ensues as confused identities, lustful ambitions, and inevitable danger crash together and the truth is revealed.

At the helm of the SUGAR cast are Jarod Hazzard as Joe (aka “Josephine”) and Chip Joyce as Jerry (aka “Daphne”), as well as Jes King as Sugar; the physical comedy and bold expressions among these three highlight the amusement of their predicaments and the tensions that run high in times of nervousness, hope, and love. Also leading the cast are Tamara Challacombe as the determined Sweet Sue, Dan Challacombe as the overly-ambitious Osgood Fielding, Jr., Bill Ciardini as nervous but hardworking band manager Bienstock, and Aaron Elwell as tap dancing gangster Spats Palazzo. The cast also includes several “Girls in the Band” and “Male Ensemble” characters that round out the group where every individual brings the show’s energy to life.

Director Mike Reams creates a scene of simplicity and realism: the set is minimal in detail but rich in efficiency, with compartments and slide-outs that add dimension and creativity to the staging shared by the cast. The audience finds its eyes all over the stage, with characters coordinating seamlessly among mood-setting lighting, imaginative scene changes, and rich orchestral sound (with music direction by Andrea Molina). The show is packed with song and dance that gives the tent atmosphere electric energy from the start; in particular, the diverse choreography by Erica Franken adds a unique flair that brings mood and nostalgia to each chapter of the show’s story. The rest of the SUGAR crew ensures that the whole experience is immersive: with genuine accents, meticulous costumes, and period-appropriate makeup, SUGAR combines fine detail and tent-wide action to exude a 1920s aesthetic. The audience is never bored, and is drawn into the excitement as the characters inch closer and closer to – and, sometimes, farther and farther from – their courageously buoyant dreams.

Sugar: The “Some Like It Hot” Musical runs June 3- 11 at 7:30 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students, and are available at the box office, by calling 309-676-2196 or online at

Posted on June 1, 2016 


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