As the title character in the Quad City Music Guild's presentation of George M!, Kevin Pieper works his tail off. His Broadway impresario George Cohan belts out number after number, he tap dances, he storms through scenes with natural authority; in this musical-comedy biography, the role of Cohan is practically a show unto himself, and the energy that Pieper gives the part is admirable.
More often than not, though, it's energy in a void, because with precious few exceptions, the George M! ensemble isn't giving anything back. At any given time, there are up to 44 performers sharing the stage with Pieper, yet it takes little more than one hand to count the number of them who look pleased to be there. Thursday's preview performance, at least, showed Pieper having to work both the audience and the cast, and that's more responsibility than any single performer should be burdened with.