SUNDAY IN NEW YORKBy Norman Krasna
Director: Mark C. Guerra
Assistant Director/Stage Manager: Sonya Jones
Producer: Jason Rice
Assistant Producer: Mary Compton
Set Design: Abigail Kipp
Light Design: Brooks Powers
Sound Design: Richard Frolich
Costume Design: Paul McKenzie
Properties Design: Terrie Justus
Adam Taylor - Chester Maple
Eileen Taylor - Kelsey Kruse
Man - Justin Amos
Woman - Dusty Reasons
Mike Mitchell - Jake Shanahan
Russell Wilson - Matthew Clark
Reviewed Performance: 1/29/2011
Reviewed by Laurie Lynn Lindemeier, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Kelsey Kruse, playing Eileen Taylor, delivered this shocking question to her big brother, Adam, performed by Chester Maple. Ms. Kruse debuted in the Dallas theatre circuit with this role and certainly caught the flavor of an innocent young lady in the early sixties defining virtue for herself. Her big-eyed facial expressions and quirky movements on high heals were a hoot. Her conservative pink tweed suit, one of the costumes designed by Paul McKenzie, aptly expressed the flair of the era.
The line pacing between the actors in the beginning sped by almost too quickly to catch their emotions, but after twenty minutes or so into the show, they relaxed. The audience then began enjoying more of the witty humor of the famous playwright.
Richard Frohlich, a two-time Column award winner, designed the sound which created a hip swinging sixties mood. Chester Maple played the suave airline pilot, who sauntered in, jiving to the mellow music. He lingered and enjoyed his image in his mirror for quite some time. The audience chuckled at his self admiration as he slicked back his hair.
This small theatre at the Cox Building Playhouse in Plano works well for this production set in 1961. The clever scene changes were accomplished with a few shifts of furniture executed by the actors themselves while in character. Their goofy antics even during these scene changes made the comedy a constant flow. We hardly had time to catch our breath.
The playbill listed Dusty Reason's character as "woman." This became quite an understatement as Ms. Reason clearly shone in every silly female character she created from the dopey blonde attendant in the swanky ladies room, to the energetic eavesdropper at the movie house.
Ms. Reason also sparkled as the not-so-bright Geisha wanna-be waitress in the Japanese restaurant. Her shuffling about in platforms cracked me up. After the show, Ms. Reason explained that her tiny steps also doubled as a gluteal toning workout. You see?who says acting isn't a reasonable and healthy way to earn a living?
When this Geisha lady slapped Adam Taylor exclaiming, "Where were you Friday night!" the audience simultaneously belly laughed. This one-liner concluded the scene with a mischievous swat?much like a cat getting in a swipe at the bird in the cage while no one's looking.
A billboard posted in the lobby listed notes of interest for the year 1961 including JFK's appointment of a committee to study the status of women. Rover Dramawerks' production of this spicy play depicting a woman of the 1960's allows the audience to compare her to contemporary women who have benefited from the avalanche of feminism.
The nostalgia of the poor little woman who can't make up her mind about how to be with a boy may be a bygone era.
One should note that the characters smoke cigarettes as did many in that time period, so if you have an allergy, be forewarned. Nonetheless, watching the characters light up with colored glass lighters and puff away, certainly added to the sultry sixties atmosphere. Abigail Kipp designed the groovy set featuring a turntable and record albums.
Jake Shanahan performed the role of Mike Mitchell, the business man who Eileen becomes attracted to on a Fifth Avenue bus. The chemistry cooked nicely between him and his new love interests, the inexperienced Albany girl.
Matthew Clark's portrayal of the snobby would-be fianc? annoyed me to the perfect level. He scrunched his nose in such a plastic smile. The rich Albany townie's road rage boiled over brilliantly in the car scene.
Justin Amos created wonderful characters in the multi-cast minor role of "man." I found his Japanese restaurant owner role particularly obnoxious. His bulbous black wig added a nice touch and made me want to smack him as he bobbled his head around?perfect! Well done!
In the final scene a lovely silhouette achieved by lighting designer Brooks Powers beams the brilliance of director Mark Guerra and achieved a very satisfying ending to this famous romantic comedy.
Don't miss your chance to time travel and enjoy the hysterical liaisons of a lady's quest for moral definition. This production closes February 12th. Why not start celebrating Valentine's Day early?
Tickets are $16-20 and may be purchased online at www.roverdramawerks.com.
Call 972-849-0358 for information.