‘One and Only’ upbeat romance set to great Gershwin
Summer Naomi Smart and Andrew Lupp in "My One and Only." | Courtesy of Peter Coombs and The Marriott Theatre.
‘My One and Only’
Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 31
$40-$48; senior and student discounts and dinner/theater packages are available
(847) 634-0200; www.marriotttheater.com
Updated: November 8, 2012 9:08AM
Can an ambitious aviator and a former English Channel swimmer find true happiness?
Given enough great Gershwin songs it could happen in “My One and Only” at the Marriott Theatre.
Andrew Lupp plays aviator Captain Billy Buck Chandler. Summer Naomi Smart is that famed swimmer, Edythe Herbert, who now performs in Prince Nicolai’s International Aquacade.
And as for that music, it includes such memorable numbers as “S’Wonderful,” “Funny Face,” “How Long Has This Been Going On?” and “Nice Work if You Can Get It.”
The show is set in the 1920s. “World War I just ended,” Lupp said. “It was a time of great optimism after the war, before the Crash in ’29. Everybody was living high on the hog and enjoying all the possibilities of life. Because of the war, aviation took huge leaps forward.”
Billy gets caught up in that excitement. His goal is to be the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s a bold move. Actor Lupp admitted that the bravest thing he ever did was to quit show business and go into sales and marketing for six or eight years. “I had to leave my comfort zone and try to do my best in another world for the purpose of giving my children a better life,” the father of four said. In 2008, Lupp returned to the stage. We’re glad.
Billy doesn’t have such heavy obligations.”He’s simple,” Lupp said. “He’s from a small town in Texas. Maybe he was in the war in some capacity as an aviator. He loves to fly — it’s his passion.” When it comes to personal relationships, though, “He’s kind of a simpleton to a degree in the ways of love and life,” Lupp noted. “He has to decide if fame is more important than the love that he finds in this woman that he meets.”
Smart said the period in which the play is set was aptly nicknamed, “The Roaring ’20s.” “It was a time of people discovering things and kind of breaking out of the mold,” she noted.
Edythe is certainly in a league of her own. “How many characters do you get to play that have actually swum the English Channel?” Smart rhetorically questioned. Not that swimming is foreign to the actor.
“Growing up, I was on swimming and diving teams for years,” Smith reported. “I never thought that would come in helpful in the acting field but it’s kind of fun to know that I know what it’s like.”
Edythe is more than just a swimmer, though. “I think she’s got a real funky side,” Smart said.”There’s a spunk to her but there’s also an incredible sense of shame that she carries around. Many of us have pasts that tend to drag us down if we’re not careful. She’s got self-esteem issues.”
Billy and Edythe turn out to be a surprisingly good match. “Edythe is pretending — under the influence of someone else — to be something she’s not,” Lupp said. “And Billy is searching for something that won’t bring him happiness. When they meet, they’re two people who are in search of something, and they find each other.”
Smart said that Billy appeals to Edythe because, “There’s a genuineness to him that Andy Lupp himself has. He is one of the most genuine individuals I’ve ever had a chance to work with.”
Lupp is also a fan of Smart, calling her “a delight to work with and a great dance partner.”
By today’s definition, “My One and Only” is a jukebox musical because it uses songs taken from other shows. Lupp thinks the show works because, “It has a lot of heart.”