It’s only when you watch a show about the evolution of boy bands that you realize all-male bands have created a lot of hits. Stage West’s Step by Step, evolution of the greatest boy bands is a fun show that takes you through decades of music. The cast works hard to hit every note, making the production a nostalgic look back.
Act one features the music of Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Herman’s Hermits, The Beatles, The Monkees, The Four Seasons, The Bee Gees, The Bay City Rollers, and finally, The Beach Boys. The set, designed by Sean D. Ellis is another player on stage along with the live band. There are screens set up on stage that play original footage of the feature band and this footage is fascinating to watch while the cast sings the top hits. David Smith’s lighting design adds to the production with what looks like records in the backdrop shining various colours of lights.
The production is energetic though the cast is a bit off-key sometimes, especially when we get to the higher ranges in the songs by the Beatles and the Bee Gees. Seeing the screaming fans on the screens for The Beatles segment really adds to the performances. Costuming by Leslie Robison-Greene has the cast in various costumes that ground every band in their decade. Stand-out costumes are the Bee Gees in the first act. Deb Planidin-Turcios is the wig and hair designer and this element is critical for The Beatles segment.
The second act brings us the hits from the 90s to the present day with the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Wham, The New Kids on the Block, Duran Duran, Coldplay, Maroon 5, the Jonas Brothers, and One Direction. This act was supposed to feature the music from 98 Degrees and the Hanson Brothers but it was missing from this performance.
Having an affinity for the 90s, I was pretty familiar with the music of this decade and was a little disappointed in the costuming for the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. The group looked like they were in slapped-together overalls. The wigs were missing from these acts, so there was no distinguishing the different members of the band, especially frustrating because of the popularity of Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter. I would dispute Coldplay being considered a boy band and was sad about the missing songs. I also really wanted to see some of the cast show up as the Spice Girls by mistake!
Overall the cast is talented and have strong voices, though no one stands out in vocals. Niko Combitsis, Eric Da Costa, Eric Dahlinger, Luciano Decicco, Kory Fulton, Jason Lemmon, Andrew McAllister, Caulin Moore, Luke Opdahl, Adam Sergison, Mayson Sonntag, and Jesse Weafer are the regular cast members for this show. Some members were missing from the performance this reviewer attended, due to illness.
If you’re looking for a nostalgic and informative look back on decades of music, Stage West’s production of Step By Step, evolution of the greatest boy bands is a good bet.
Stage West’s production of Step By Step runs until February 4th. More information is available online.