Dean and Jerry
What Could Have Been showed the life and times of the famous duo before their act, during the height of their careers and their eventual fallout. From the left, Derek Marshall and Nicholas Arnold. Courtesy Photo
MORRISBURG – During the late ‘40s and ‘50s, Atlantic City’s 500 Club was home to one of the hottest shows of the decade that mixed sweet jazz with zany comedy.
The iconic duo of the suave Dean Martin and the goofy Jerry Lewis.
Morrisburg’s Upper Canada Village’s latest production, Dean and Jerry: What Could Have Been, was a love letter to the pair’s impact on entertainment and what could’ve been their legacy if they never fell out.
The show dived deep into both Martin and Lewis’ careers, where they started, where their act took them and what they did after their break-up.
Dean and Jerry was very ambitious, having a live band accompany the two lead actors, Derek Marshall (Dean Martin) and Nicholas Arnold (Jerry Lewis) as they performed their musical numbers. This made each song feel more exciting, as if you were really an audience at the 500 Club watching Dean and Jerry’s act.
Both actors did a fantastic job portraying their character, with Marshall perfectly capturing Martin’s smooth, crooning voice and Arnold putting all his energy in performing Lewis’ zany comedy routine.
While both actors pulled off great performances, Arnold will be the one audiences will be talking about after the curtains fall. The passion that went into his act was intoxicating, funny and, most importantly, hilarious.
From his facial expressions, to his high pitch voice, to even his famous musical numbers, Arnold was an absolute delight to watch from beginning to end.
Where he really shined through was during his one-man sketches during the show when he had to entertain the audience alone on stage. In one moment, he’s performing Lewis’ famous typewriter sketch perfectly to a tee with the music and in another, he’s playing the piano upside down. You try to figure that one out.
But while the show was very comedic, it also had it’s quieter, wistful moments too, showing the fallout of the stars.
During the final years of their partnership, Martin and Lewis weren’t getting along like before. Their jokes were becoming more personal and they fought more and more after the lights dimmed.
Soon, everything came full circle and they eventually broke up in 1956, never to perform together again.
The two did reunite, surprisingly, one more time 20 years later in 1976 during Lewis’ MDA Labor Day telethon but the two never performed together again. Martin would later die from lung cancer in 1995 and Lewis died only last year at the age of 91.
Even though the pair never sang another tune together, that didn’t stop the show at UCP from wondering what could have been if they had kept the act going.
The duo sang about how much they meant to one another and how much they needed each other in their lives and when the curtain fell, the emotional impact rippled through the audience.
Many of the senior citizens that were sitting the audience were moved by the play because Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were major entertainment icons during their youth.
The older audience members were delighted to relive a small part of their childhood while the younger members were happy to have seen a small glimpse of what had once been.