Review: Great casting in ‘Hello! My Baby’

By Mikayla Baumgarte

This past weekend the CLHS drama department performed a “new-fashioned” musical called “Hello! My Baby” directed by Chris Murphy. While the plot is original, all of the songs are from other musicals and have their lyrics changed to fit “Hello! My Baby.”

“Hello! My Baby” is set in 1910 New York. The story follows Mickey McKee (played by senior Jack Wert), a plugger. A plugger is basically a person who goes around a performs songs to people in order for them to buy the song. Mickey can write amazing lyrics, but he needs someone to write and play the music. Mickey meets a girl named Betty Gold (played by Hannah Gerig) on the street while trying to sell one of his songs to her. Betty was uninterested in Mickey’s offer, which made him try to find her.

After talking with Betty, Mickey finds out she can play the piano and write music really well. Mickey wants to go into business with Betty to write songs that he could go and sell. Betty, however, wants more than to just write the songs, she wants to sell the songs. Unfortunately, she has to be a boy to be a plugger.

Betty comes up with the idea to dress as a boy and call herself Buddy in order to become a plugger. While Buddy sells the songs, Betty still writes new songs with Mickey. While this seemed like a good idea at the start, being Buddy and Betty starts to become challenging. Mickey thinks she’s writing with his competitor instead of him.

Eventually, Betty comes clean and the song her and Mickey wrote together gets bought by Ethel and Bert Coots.

The toughest part of putting together a show is the casting.You never know if everyone’s going to deliver or if everyone is as good as your lead. I can fully say that in “Hello! My Baby” everyone from the lead all the way to the chorus members were outstanding. Wert had many singing solos and he nailed every single one of them. All of the songs he performed weren’t the same either. He had a solo to jazz music, and it was completely different than anything else he sang in the play. Needless to say, he nailed that as well.

Senior Noelle Turney, who played Ethel Coots, has a different voice than the other girls in the play. For instance, sophomore Hannah Gerig, who played Betty Gold, had a very dainty voice which went great with her character. Turney has more of a deep, gruff voice that went perfect with sassy and demanding attitude of her character.

In my opinion, the casting was perfect, and no one could have done it better!

My favorite scene in the show is when Betty, Buddy and Mickey attend the Tierney’s ball. This scene required a costume change from everyone including the chorus members. The atmosphere that the chorus members created was extremely realistic and entertaining. I looked at each individual chorus member and every little action they made was realistic and added to the atmosphere they were creating. Later in the scene, everyone on stage ballroom danced which could have looked extremely messy, but instead it looked really clean and elegant. I give their choreographer Cassondra Winsemann props for that!

“Hello! My Baby” had me on the edge of my seat and also rolling in laughter. It’s the kind of show any age group can enjoy, young or old. The orchestra, led by Adam Friedrich, was excellent along side the actors. This “new-fashioned” musical is one I hope that everyone will be able to see performed, if not by the CLHS drama department, at any theater.