Joe vs The Volcano
Jun 8th, 2012 - Jul 29th, 2012
Musical Direction by Jon Lorenz
Directed by Robert Smyth
Adaptation, Music, & Lyrics by Darcy Phillips
by Scott Hafso
Choreographed by Colleen Kollar Smith
Graynamore/Waponi Tribe Jim Chovick
Joe Banks Sean Yael-Cox
Chorus/Waponi Tribe Nicki Elledge
Chorus/Waponi Tribe Kyrsten Hafso-Koppman
Marshall/Waponi Tribe Antonio Johnson
Chorus/Waponi Tribe Noah Fish
Chorus / Hostess / Waponi Kathleen Calvin
Dr. Ellison/Waponi Tribe Jason Heil
Dede/Angelica/Patricia Eileen Bowman
Waitress/Dagmar/Waponi Caitie Grady
Luggage Salesman/Mariachi/Tony/Waponi Danny Boman
Chorus/Baw Brian Rickel
Mr. Waturi / Waponi Chief John Rosen
The Band
Keyboards Taylor Reed Peckham
Guitar / Reeds Rik Ogden
Percussion Dave Rumley
Bass Oliver Shirley
Lighting Design Nathan Peirson
Set Design Mike Buckley
Costume & Makeup Design Jeanne Reith
Projection Engineer/Properties Design Michael McKeon
Stage Manager Maria Mangiavellano
Sound Design Stephanie Celustka
Sound Design Deborah Gilmour Smyth
Assistant Stage Manager Brenna Peirson
"Joe Banks (Sean Cox) is the factory worker in this musical fable. Joe has always done what he was told – and has become a sick (not to mention cowardly, hypochondriacal and lonely) person in the process. When Dr. Ellison (Jason Heil) tells him he has five months to live and should “Live It Well,” Joe summons the courage he didn’t know he had and quits – and invites office secretary Dede (Eileen Bowman) to dinner.

This is the beginning of a wild-haired adventure that will start when driver Marshall (Antonio “TJ” Johnson, in a gem of a scene) takes him to get some new duds (after all, “It’s The Clothes That Make The Man”) and ends (almost) with the leap into that volcano. Along the way, he’ll meet the colorful natives of Waponi Woo, find increasingly adventurous girlfriends (all played splendidly by Bowman) to match his spiffy new threads, and discover a reason to live, love and be grateful.

Cox is usually seen in the classics (he and his wife Christy Yael run Intrepid Shakespeare Company), but he proves equal to the task, and makes a great foil for Bowman, one of the best musical comedy actors around. Most of the cast play multiple roles; all are splendid actors, and Colleen Kollar Smith has given them some fine choreography as well.

It’s a fun ride, and Lamb’s gives JOE vs THE VOLCANO...THE MUSICAL! a terrific production!"
- Jean Lowerison ( SDGLN )
"Sean Cox, co-founder of Intrepid Shakespeare Company, can sing and dance. Who knew? And he does both well as the newly awakened Joe. Eileen Bowman shows remarkable versatility as Dede, Angelica, and Patricia (her rendition of "Dede's Song" a special treat).

A gruff, sprawling, hilarious John Rosen heads the supporting as Mr. Waturi, Joe's primeval boss, and as the Waponi Chief (whose costume and headress are decked with crushed Orange Crush cans - costume designer Jeanne Reith's imagination runneth freely). Jason Heil (Dr. Ellison), Antonio Johnson (Marshall), and Jim Chovick (Graynamore) do memorable work.

Like The Wizard of Oz, the musical goes from black-and-white to Technicolor. Along with Robert Smyth's smart direction and Jon Lorenz' musical direction, Michael McKeon's projections on a huge rear screen - an endless ocean, a tropical storm, a gigantic moon - are a major ally. But everything points to Joe's leap into the lava. Can the creative minds at Lamb's get it right?

Mystical, curling smoke, two ladders, Nathan Peirson's red-on-red-in-red lighting, and Stephanie Celuska's booming sounds make the leap heroic."
- Jeff Smith ( SD Reader )
"With all the problems a saga like Joe vs The Volcano can present, Lamb’s Players Theatre under the deft direction of Robert Smyth and some outrageously wonderful costumes and head dresses by designer Jeanne Reith, gets the story pretty well defined. The sum total of the extras that go in to making it a visual and auditory spectacle outweigh the goofy plot.

More than helpful in the execution of location changes and visual landscapes are Michael McKeon’s projections, Stephanie Celustka’s and Deborah Gilmour Smyth’s theatre rumbling sound design and Mike Buckley’s minimalist set design not to mention the snappy chorus of dancers by an enthusiastic ensemble/chorus who perform everything from tap, to an hysterically funny ‘bottle dance’ with orange crush cans (the native’s favorite drink) balanced on their heads to Irish line dancing to local native dance rituals. (Choreographer, Colleen Kollar Smith)

Smyth has assembled a multi talented cast with the likes of Cox, who heads up his own theatre company, Intrepid Shakespeare, and who is completely invested as Joe, the extremely talented Eileen Bowman who takes on the part of no less than three of the women in Joe’s life and John Rosen who is a kick as Joe’s abusive boss, Mr. Waturi and the more colorful Waponi Chief. Jim Chovick is Joe’s wealthy benefactor and T.J. Antonio Johnson who is noted more for his dramatic prowess than as a song and dance man moves around the stage very nicely, thank you.

Jon Lorenz directs the four musicians who manage to fill the theatre nicely with what the limited musical score allows and Nathan Pierson’s lighting design enhances Joe’s nautical journey. Ironically, the number that is the most engaging, sung by Joe with a ukulele, is “The Cowboy Song” written by Shanley.

Though the movie was a flop, there are those that follow Joe vs The Volcano somewhat like a small cult, so don’t make up your minds until after you’ve seen Lamb’s production. You just might become a follower too. Enjoy! "
- Carol Davis ( )
"Robert Smyth briskly directs a 13-member cast of energetic actor/singers, backed by a superb band. The shifting locales are marked by attractive, humorous projections, and the costumes are a hoot, especially on the orange soda-loving Polynesian-Jewish-Celtic island of Waponi Woo.

As Joe, Sean Cox is engaging, in a Tom Hanks kinda way, and Eileen Bowman is a knockout as his three love interests. The music is pleasant, the lyrics clever. It’s lightweight summertime fluff that fairly flies by."
- Pat Launer ( Center Stage, Jazz88 )
"The show opens with Caitlin Grady singing a haunting beautiful rendition of “The Flower,” that leads into “Ad Te Domine” by the entire company, which combined is worth the price of admission!

Joe Banks, trapped in monotony, learns he is afflicted with a ‘brain cloud’ and is on his way out. He quits his job and finds the courage to ask out his co-worker, Dede (actor Eileen Bowman, in the first of her incarnations, balances the comical and emotional in a way few can.)

Joe goes on to take the offer of a wealthy merchant to “Live Like A King” and then… jump into a volcano. Every question you may or may not have about what follows is answered quite delightfully in Lamb’s production!"
- Elizabeth Guiten ( Eagle & Journal )