Sunday, May 27, 2012
|Adam Kantor as Jeff (center) and the cast of Nobody Loves You,|
Photos by Henry DiRocco
|Heath Calvert as Byron, Adam Kantor as Jeff and |
Nicole Lewis as Nina
Michelle Tattenbaum gamely directs a first-rate cast full of recognizable characters. Lauren Molina’s party girl pairs off with Christian hunk, Christian (Kelsey Kurz), who’s saving himself for marriage. Her constant efforts to seduce him make for plenty of laughs, especially when she strips down to entice him in the hot tub in “Come on In.” Samantha (Kate Morgan Chadwick) is so desperate for love that when her onscreen player-in-a-blazer Dominic (Alex Brightman) is eliminated she makes a play for Christian, and though it doesn’t last, she manages to turn her fifteen minutes of fame into a lucrative speaker business and book deal. If one can’t have love, one can at least be famous, right?
Brightman (pictured above) plays two other very funny characters in the show. As Jeff’s slacker roommate Chazz he shows off his ability with deadpan comedy, and as Jenny’s roommate Evan, he is hilarious as the ultimate obsessed gay fan of the show who tweets his every thought while wearing a periwinkle blue OnePiece of Norway. Altar has even written a brilliant twitter song for him that will make you laugh out loud, but be careful you don’t miss any of the lyrics. They’re just too good. It’s one of seventeen terrific tunes with smart, inventive lyrics you could blast in the car if there was a cast recording available. The singers, together with music director Vadim Feichtner and his band, bring these songs vividly to life. Production values are high; lighting designer Tyler Micoleau dresses the stage like an artist with bright colors and warm tones that fill out Michael Schweikardt’s cheesy pop-up game show set.
Composer Itamar Moses describes reality TV as a “fascinating slow motion train wreck” and there’s no doubt that as much as we may ridicule it, we still can’t look away. Sadly, that too has become part of our culture.
|Clifton Duncan as Haywood Patterson and the cast of The Scottsboro Boys|
The story of The Scottsboro Boys is a train wreck of another kind that we might wish we could look away from but that history dictates we cannot. The racially charged south of the 1930s is brought to life with charismatic originality via Kander & Ebb’s jingle jangly minstrel show. Using this outdated form of American entertainment (outdated for good reason) will definitely cause you moments of discomfort as you watch its blunt presentation of black and white stereotypes but it’s actually the perfect lens through which to view the sheer horror of what happened to the Scottsboro Boys.
The Old Globe’s production is one of the true highlights this season in San Diego and if you are anywhere within driving distance it’s a “must see musical.” Five time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman directs and choreographs an athletic production that never misses an opportunity to use the theatricality of the stage to highlight the circus spectacle nature of the case. And it comes with a whole lotta singin’ and dancin’ to drive the message home.
Kander & Ebb’s score is packed with songs that will linger in your ear long after you’ve left the theater. “Commencing in Chattanooga” will have you bouncing in your seat with its infectious upbeat melody just as “Alabama Ladies” will make you laugh and squirm at the same time. Tap dancing in prison with men being electrocuted wins dumbfounded kudos for its audacity and “Go Back Home” is a heartbreaking ballad led by Haywood that is simply beautiful.
|Jared Joseph, Ron Holgate, and JC Montgomery|
Every single performer onstage is outstanding and together they create an extremely moving musical. It’s hard to single any of them out for they are all uniquely featured, sing and dance with ridiculous precision, and bring every ounce of energy they have to their roles. Jared Joseph and JC Montgomery as Mr. Bones and Mr. Tambo rip through numerous stereotypical characters with brash authority and Clifton Duncan, as Haywood Patterson, is especially powerful as a man who isn’t willing to buy his freedom with a lie, even though it is a lie that has jailed him in the first place.
The rest of Scottsboro Boys are David Bazemore as Olen Montgomery, Nile Bullock as 13-year old Eugene Williams, Christopher James Culbertson as Andy Wright, Eric Jackson as Clarence Norris, Cornelius Bethea as Willie Roberson, James T. Lane as Ozie Powell, Clifton Oliver as Charles Weems, and Clinton Roane as Roy Wright (who teaches Haywood how to read in prison). Master of ceremonies Ron Holgate plays the The Interlocuter and C. Kelly Wright is the Lady - a haunting presence throughout the show.
Technically the production uses simple but bold elements to enhance the storytelling. Scenic designer Beowulf Boritt wraps the stage with a purposely off-kilter set of frames that resemble the outline of a boxcar, or pages of a story book gone wrong, and supports the progression of chaos in the story with the heap of chairs, used to create different locations, that become increasingly more of a mess. Ken Billington’s lighting design is equally as powerful and together with Jon Weston’s sound design and Toni-Leslie James’ costume design, make for a rich visual experience.
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Labels: old globe
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