For the Love of Musical Theatre
Reviewed by Mary Alderson
A cross between stand-up comedy, story telling, and a cabaret has just opened in the Sculthorpe Theatre at Port Hope’s Capitol. Audiences are enjoying this endearing and entertaining one-man show, Mickey and Judy.
The Mickey in this show is not Mickey Rooney, even though we know Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney made many movies together and were fast friends. No, the Mickey in this story is Michael Hughes, the creator and performer of this show.
In the study of literature, we’d call this a bildungsroman, a novel about a person’s formative years. Basically, this performance is the coming-of-age story about Hughes. He gives us many laughs, wrapped around some very touching moments.
Hughes’ love for Judy Garland begins when he was a very young child, seeing The Wizard of Oz for the first time. He had an epiphany, immediately developing a passion for musical theatre. Hughes goes on to tell us about how he enjoyed dressing up in his sisters’ dresses, singing musical theatre songs in between each childhood story. Picture this: at age eight or ten, he packed a suitcase full of costumes and would visit relatives’ homes, single-handedly acting out the entire Wizard of Oz. Hughes belts out “Some People” from Gypsy, an apt number for someone who’s made musical theatre his goal.
In an effort to curb his interest in girlie toys and Barbie, his parents gave him G.I. Joe dolls. He responds by using the dolls to put on a production of White Christmas with the G.I. Joes presenting the opening scene.
So his parents take a rather desperate step – the family goes to see a psychiatrist to find out why little Mickey is dressing like a girl and singing show tunes. The psychiatrist reoccurs throughout this story with an interesting result.
I can’t relate much more of this show without spoiling it. Suffice it to say that Hughes’ story is sprinkled with hilarious anecdotes and peppered with heart-rending memories.
Hughes has an excellent voice, able to sing the sweet ballads or belt a show tune as needed. He also has skills of a story teller with excellent comedic timing.
He reminds me of Sean Hayes, which is, indeed, a compliment. In some cases, Hughes is like the zany character Jack, played by Hayes in the popular TV series Will & Grace. In other instances, Hughes may be more like Hayes’ character Oscar Levant in Good Night, Oscar currently running on Broadway. (Hayes just won a best lead actor Tony for this role.)
We need more of this heart-warming show. We didn’t learn enough about Mickey’s life-long love affair with Judy, or his family relationships and his move into becoming a musical theatre performer. In fact, I was left with many questions about his life. The performance only runs for an hour and it could certainly be made into a 90-minute show. But in the meantime, don’t miss this cabaret/comedy. Get your tickets now because it will sell out quickly, due to the short run in this small venue.
Mickey and Judy continues in The Sculthorpe Theatre at The Capitol in Port Hope until August 6, 2023. Tickets are available at the box office by calling 905-885-1071 or visiting https://capitoltheatre.com/
Photo: Michael (Mickey) Hughes performs under the watchful eyes of Judy Garland. Photo by Sam Moffatt
Mickey and Judy
By Michael Hughes
Musical Direction by Mark Selby
Performed by Michael Hughes
Sculthorpe Theatre, The Capitol, Port Hope
July 27 to August 6, 2023
Reviewed by Mary Alderson