Orange County Theatre Reviews

photos by Susie Sprinkel Hudson

Written by Daniella Litvak 

Rock ‘n’ roll belongs to everyone, but the origin of The Beat Goes On belongs to Orange County. Back in 2014 Vanda Eggington created The Beat Goes On as a showcase for Vanguard University’s students. It was a hit. Now it’s back, but it’s not just a repeat of a previous success. This time The Beat Goes On is an American Coast Theater (the resident professional theater of Vanguard University) production. In addition to the professional upgrade, Eggington has also made some changes that include more material.

So what’s it all about? The short answer is that it’s a recounting of the history of rock ‘n’ roll in the style of a musical revue. Featuring music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and today, each time period has song and dance segments dedicated to the rock ‘n’ roll music of its era. In between and throughout these sections the Narrators not only provide background information for the music but they also bring the audience up to speed on what else is happening in the world at that particular time.

As someone who’s always liked history class, I don’t mind when the Narrators start lecturing.  Nevertheless I appreciate the show for coming up with more creative framing devices —such as the infomercial shown during the 70’s —and for allowing the Narrators to be more interactive with the rest of the cast as we progress. I also like how the show becomes progressively more tongue-in-cheek with the performers gleefully embracing the campy and zany aspects of the music they perform. 

It’s not all bubblegum pop though. Even if you’re already familiar with the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, the images and songs from the time still strike a chord. Despite being very brief, one of the most poignant moments of the night is when Justin Budds sings a bit of “Mrs. Robinson” while narrating about Watergate.  

It’s important to remember that the songs are performed in a medley style. There may be times when you wish the whole song (or even just one more chorus) would be performed, but the song choices contained in each medley are well chosen. They actually use this format to their advantage— particularly in allowing the men and women to sing counterpoint to one another.

Overall the singing is good. Some consistency issues still occur though, particularly at the beginning when the performances feel a bit too restrained.  Once the 60’s roll around the performers really get into the grove. They have some great energy and stage presence. It is clear the entire cast put their heart into the show, which pays off in the results because there are a lot of great moments. 

The Beat Goes On invites you to reflect and revel in our past and present. Things have changed. Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. No matter how uneasy we feel about the social climate or the growing sense of isolation from one another, we’ll always have rock ‘n’ roll to lift our spirits.

June 2 – July 30 2017 

 

GREAT SHOW

Review
8.5 Overall
9.8 Users (5 votes)
Story8
Acting8.5
Set & Design8
Costumes9.5
Entertainment8.5
What people say... 5 Leave your rating
Awesome!
Very powerful, fun, wonderful and enjoyable show. A friend of mine invited me, and I am so glad I went. Would like to thank all actors and musicians on the stage.

My suggestion...if teachers use this show for school history class, all kids will love it and learn a lot!
July 23, 2017, 4:33 am
Story9.5
Acting10
Set & Design9
Costumes10
Entertainment10
0
0
Super Show!
very enjoyable for 3 generations!
July 21, 2017, 6:25 am
Story9
Acting9.5
Set & Design9.5
Costumes9
Entertainment10
0
0
Can't get enough of "The Beat"
An incredible cast who bring phenomenal talent and boundless energy in telling the story and singing the history of Rock & Roll. You will find yourself taking a nostalgic stroll down memory lane as well as laughing and cheering at the musical comedic banter. This is a show that you will want to see over and over again.
June 21, 2017, 8:08 pm
Story10
Acting10
Set & Design10
Costumes10
Entertainment10
0
0
Fantastic romp through musical history.
I have seen both college productions and now this professional one. It just keeps getting better and better. I could watch it every night it was performed! High quality professional theater! Thank you for the memories American Coast Theatet!
June 21, 2017, 8:08 pm
Story10
Acting10
Set & Design10
Costumes10
Entertainment10
0
1
"The Beat" is contagious
A talented cast, great music, dancing & high energy performances make for a very fun & enjoyable show. Definitely a show with something for everyone, & will leave you humming your favorite tunes. Loved it!!!
June 20, 2017, 5:30 am
Story10
Acting10
Set & Design10
Costumes10
Entertainment10
0
1
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