If you’re looking for a genuinely funny, feel-good show, “Chelsea Sunrise” is for you.
The musical tells the story of Dusty, played by Levi Ehrmantraut, who loves British Invasion music from the 1960s. His band dreams of stardom, but their path to fame gets derailed when Dusty falls for the girlfriend of the competition.
Dusty’s band, the Cocksure Lads, adds both hilarity and gravity to the story. Played by Trey DeLuna, Chris Cunningham, and Jordan Luty, these bandmates have a believable and funny dynamic. The audience was left hoping that this band is a real-life group of friends.
They raise serious questions about loyalty and friendship between quips.
In the show, Dusty’s bandmates complain about his failure to lead the band. But Ehrmantraut headlines the musical with skill and poise. He keeps the show moving while perfectly balancing the depth and humor of his character. It was easy to believe his devotion and excitement for the music, and Ehrmantraut plays the more emotional scenes with skill. He was a perfect choice to fill this role.
In addition, Sarah Obert might grow tired of hearing about how great her voice is, but I’m going to say it again: She is a powerhouse. Obert, who plays Chloe opposite Ehrmantraut’s Dusty, expertly manages the character’s doubts and desires. The thoughtfulness that Obert puts into her role shines through with every interaction she has with her fellow cast members. The audience wants to celebrate both her character’s confidence and Obert’s own by the end of the show.
Like the Cocksure Lads, the Valkyries, a band that celebrates feminism and self-love, totally rock. This band features Mackenzie Barnett, Piper Charlton, Logan Johnson, Bela Karwatowicz, and Grace Ruddell as impressive singers and dancers. They have two amazing songs that steal the show and leave everyone in the audience dancing in their seats. The self-confidence that they sing about is palpable in their performance.
Other characters include Morgan, a producer played by McKena Silva, and Tyson, a cocky competing performer played by Ethan Lupp. Silva’s every word, movement, and facial expression reveals how much fun she is having, and this makes it fun for the audience, too. Lupp has embraced his character with pure glee, and he ultimately gets some of the biggest laughs of the night.
This production is known as a staged workshop production, which means that Millikin’s stage is one of the first to host the new and upcoming musical. On the plus side, this allows the writing team to see their show performed for the first time. But on the downside, actors had little frame of reference for their characters.
This makes their success all the more impressive. Every actor onstage showcases their individual and immense talent.
Whether they’re cheering for the bands, flirting in the background, or enjoying stereotypical British culture, they elicit laughs and add layers of depth to the world they create onstage.
The music, choreography, and story weave together to make a great show. There were a few loose ends that are never resolved (what happened to the entire subplot with Dusty’s grandfather?), but this is forgiven easily enough. The production is an impressive feat, and everyone involved demonstrated their talent and ability to create art.
“Chelsea Sunrise” will do more than hold its own. The show will likely gain popularity as it grows, and it will be exciting to see where it goes from here. The Millikin cast can rest assured that they have put on a fun, enjoyable, and heartwarming production.