|Act I: rehearsal (photo by Dan Norman)
This cast, a mix of local and national talent, is sheer perfection, and each one of them is a joy to watch. As the frazzled director Lloyd, Nathan Keepers gets to display his gift for physical comedy, but perhaps the best part of his performance is the way he embodies Lloyd's struggles to keep a calm demeanor despite his extreme exasperation at the incompetencies of the cast, until he finally breaks. Kimberly Chatterjee is adorable as the put-upon stagehand Poppy, and up-and-coming local actor JuCoby Johnson makes the most of the least stage time as another stagehand, particularly in his awkward audience announcements. Johnny Wu is a charmer as the somewhat clueless actor who plays the lead; I particularly love the way he slips in and out of his character's accent vs. his character's character's more posh accent (get that?). As opposed to the delightful Kate Loprest, whose character, the ditsy blond Brooke, is almost exactly like the character she plays - mostly vacant. Laura Jordan is everything you could want in the mother hen who knows everybody's business, and Remy Auberjonois is lovely as the delicate actor who suffers from nose bleeds and needs to know his character's motivation for everything. Last but definitely not least are a couple of beloved #TCTheater vets - Sally Wingert as the veteran actor Dotty whose career and finances hang on this tour, and Raye Birk as the alcoholic and not quite all there Selsdon, who plays a burglar. The only problem with this cast is that they all make wonderful character choices at every moment, so it's impossible to catch everything in one viewing. The Act II silent backstage comedy is a particularly brilliant ensemble dance (with fight direction by Aaron Preusse and movement direction by Nathan Keepers).
|Act II: backstage antics (photo by Dan Norman)
If you love theater (and if you don't, why are you reading this blog?), you'll love this farcical (but maybe a little bit true) look at the inner workings of the theater. It's extremely well-done theater about very poorly done theater. Continuing through December 16.
*Plot summary borrowed from what I wrote about the production at Artistry earlier this year.