‘Saturday Night Fever’ at the Granada Theatre

Theater League Brings Touring Musical to Santa Barbara

Carol rosegg

In 1977, Saturday Night Fever crackled onto cinema house screens and emblazoned itself into the minds and memories of a generation. Since then, its infectious soundtrack and spectacular dance scenes have become the stuff of legend. It’s no surprise, then, that there have been a number of spin-offs, including a Broadway musical.

Last Tuesday, the Theater League brought NorthCore Productions’ and 2Luck Concepts’ touring version of Saturday Night Fever to the Granada for an evening of song and dance. For the stage production, mature themes were toned down to a PG-13 rating, and so the story lost a bit of its intensity. Where the film oozed raw, restless, reckless energy, the musical exuded a rebellious spirit that was soft around the edges. Though the show lacked grittiness, the dance sequences were spectacular. Matt Alfano, who played Tony, was mesmerizing to watch as he lithely and seemingly effortlessly executed one difficult move after another. His dance solo was a highlight of the show.

As for the music, several songs were written for the stage version that felt incongruous to the original Grammy Award–winning film soundtrack. The Bee Gee’s captured lightning in a bottle with tunes such as “Jive Talkin’,” “More Than a Woman,” and “How Deep Is Your Love” — all of which are in the play — setting an aural mood for the film. The new numbers didn’t blend well with the classics. Still, the show was delightfully entertaining and the storyline holds up all these years later, reminding us that we should be dancing, yeah.

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