People with a passion to perform will do it anywhere. That “let’s put on a show” mentality works not only for barns, school gyms and storefronts but, occasionally, for Ramada hotel meeting rooms, as in the case of Waist Watchers the Musical, currently being presented at the Ramada Waterfront Sarasota by PLATO, which formerly performed at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre (and may again someday, who knows?)
It’s a venue with a small stage and temporary seats, albeit comfortable ones. But at least the audience gets to sit. The four female performers in this energetic show, written by Alan Jacobson, get no such rest; they’re constantly on the move, trying to shed those mid-life pounds and improve their lives through workouts at Miss Cook’s Women’s Gym.
Miss Cook is Carla (Jillian Godfrey), who may appear to be an aerobics queen but has a guilty secret about her diet habits. She leads the other three ladies, Connie Pizzarelli (Cara Herman), Cindy Burger (Helen Holliday) and Cheryl Corn (Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein—they all have food-related names, get it?) through their paces while they also talk frankly (but briefly, for the most part) about the men in their lives and their desire to achieve total sveltitude.
The show starts off with I Hope I Lose It (to the tune of I Hope I Get It from A Chorus Line), and continues with a host of familiar tunes given new lyrics, sometimes clever, sometimes a bit groan-worthy. Many originated on Broadway; some are more pop-oriented. The show’s creator, and its director-choreographer, Kyle Ennis Turoff, have devised different set pieces to accompany the songs, employing bright, colorful exercise balls on Big Balls Are a Girl’s Best Friend or nightmare-like human-size candy temptations on You Gotta Have Some Sugar.
The actresses perform to taped music, and are indeed working out so hard that sometimes their vocals are strained simply from lack of breath. They have an impressive amount of vigor, however, and frequently interact with the audience in an engaging way. Since the audience in Sarasota often tends to be composed largely of women of a certain age, there’s certainly no problem in identifying with the characters’ laments, hopes and, eventually, their realization that I’m Getting Older.
Waist Watchers the Musical continues through Jan. 6; for tickets call 363-1727 or go to platoarts.org.