Is there any other experience more frightening, more emotional, or more life-changing than the anticipation of having a baby? With lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and music by David Shire, Baby takes audiences on a rollercoaster emotional ride through the journeys of three couples who are each at varying stages of their lives, but are all expecting.

Set on a college campus, the first of these three pairs are the young college students. Barely prepared for adulthood and the commitment of marriage, they are forced to deal with the responsibility that comes with having a child. Then there is the established middle-aged couple who are looking forward to their last child graduating from college when suddenly confronted by an unplanned pregnancy that takes them right back to the starting line of parenthood. And finally, the 30-something couple who are struggling with conception but are determined to continue trying.

Although the original Broadway run of the musical only lasted a year or so, the directors of the production, Craig Maloney and Renée Maloney, were excited to bring the show to the Phoenix stage. According to Carla Gianinotti (Pam), “Baby is a great musical but not very known, so it gives the audience an experience…and there are no expectations set upon you.”

Nominated for several Tony awards in 1984 including “Best Musical” and “Best Original Score,” original reviews of the production during its Broadway days praised Baby as wooing theatergoers with warm and heartfelt feelings. The critic, Frank Rich, was particularly a fan of the show’s score, “to keep up with the varied ages of the characters, Mr. Shire writes with sophistication over a range that embraces rock, jazz and the best Broadway schmaltz…[and] Maltby’s lyrics are not just smart and funny, but often ingenious.”

Another appealing aspect of the show, especially for a non-professional theatre company, was the amount of stage-time with which it provided all members of the ensemble. “There are very few productions where each of the six lead roles has an equal presence on the stage which makes Baby very interesting to watch,” says Gianinotti. The way in which the show combines comical and light-hearted themes with the exploration of deeper issues also adds to its charm, ”It is a show that can move you to laughter, to tears, and to questioning many things,” she explains.

You will be crying like a baby if you don’t go and see Phoenix Theatre Company Inc.’s production of Baby! “The three journeys the couples embark on are very real, there is something in the show that everyone can relate to…and I have really enjoyed being a part of this,” says Gianinotti.

Baby is showing at the Doncaster Playhouse from 16 to 24 November 2012. Book your tickets now online at www.phoenixtheatrecompany.org or call 9012 5897.

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