Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center for the Arts
Directed by – Adam Adolfo
Music Director – Kristin Spires
Choreographer – Nathan Scott
Set Design – Bradley Gray
Costume Design – Adam Adolfo
Lighting Design – Kyle Harris
Sound Design – Mark Howard
Stage Manager – Beatriz Alvarado
Jason Solis – Taxi Driver
Alden Bowers Price – Pepa
James Worley – Yvan
Kristin Spires – Lucia
Jordan Justice – Carlos
Elizabeth Thresher – Marissa
Rachael Blizzard – Paulina
Emma Leigh Montes – Candela
Trey Cardona – Ensemble
Loagan Hudson – Ensemble
Haven Isom – Ensemble
Mindamora Rocha – Ensemble
Alexander Sauceda – Ensemble
Suzann Schultz – Ensemble
Bo Sicking – Ensemble
Celeste Spangler – Ensemble
Kyle R. Trentham – Ensemble
Fidencio Vazquez – Ensemble
Samantha Whitbeck – Ensemble
Reviewed Performance 7/29/2016
Reviewed by Carol M. Rice, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
I love going to see shows I know nothing about, and Artes de la Rosa’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is a prime example of why I love it. The original Broadway production was presented at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York City in 2010, based on the 1988 film by the same name, and while I had heard of both the show and the film, I wasn’t familiar with either. And I had a great time!
Bradley Gray’s set design was relatively simple, yet incredibly functional; as boxes of various sizes were rolled on to represent everything from various apartments to a taxi. I’m not sure why everything was so tall for most of the cast when sitting, but it still worked well.
Kyle Harris provided beautiful shades of magentas, greens, and blues, along with stars along the back wall at times, via his lovely lighting design. He utilized moving lights to spotlight the singers and some of the more dramatic moments in the show, and it was fun to watch.
I’m not sure whether the eternal fog is to be blamed on Mr. Gray or Mr. Harris (or someone else), but I wasn’t sure why there was a haze permeating the theatre all through the show. It was a bit distracting.
Director Adam Adolfo also functioned as costume designer, and he kept the play in the 1980s, which was when the film was originally produced. Some of the skirts were a bit more modern than that, but the overall look was colorful and bright, and the end number with everyone in red was just striking.
All the old-fashioned telephones and answering machine were also a pleasant change from “modern times,” and kind of necessary to the plot since cell phones have made it almost impossible to “disappear,” as several characters did at various times. (I must note that it’s hard to believe how much has changed since the late 80s when it comes to technology!)
Nathan Scott’s choreography helped drive the story via the musical numbers, and it utilized the talented ensemble very well. I thought much of it was very unique and it was all fun to watch.
Kristin Spires played double duty as both musical director and Lucia and did an outstanding job with both roles. The singing overall was outstanding (although the mics were way too hot on several of the singers with more powerful voices), and I especially loved the fact that the three leading women had such different singing voices. Ms. Spires directed the solos and harmonies beautifully, and her solo, Invisible, was one of the most stunning in the show. The comedic grasp she had of her role was also delightful. That purse!
As Candela, the messed up model friend of Pepa, Emma Leigh Montes nearly steals the show with her song Model Behavior. What a crazy, energetic number! Kudos to all involved. Ms. Montes is hyper and hilarious throughout, but she also shows a tender side. Great performance.
Pepa is superbly portrayed by Alden Bowers Price, and we feel for her from the beginning (despite questioning her obsession over the philandering Yvan). Her acting and vocal chops are wonderful, and she’s both funny and heart-felt throughout.
These three women make up the bulk of the show, with Jason Solis shining as the omnipotent Taxi Driver, both vocally and comedically. James Worley plays Yvan with just the right cockiness of one of those guys who thinks he’s God’s gift to women. Jordan Justice and Elizabeth Thresher make the most of their roles as soon-to-be-wed virgins, and Rachael Blizzard plays the typical 80s feminist lawyer with aplomb.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing ensemble, which played everyone else. Everyone involved was obviously committed to making the show come together well without ever stealing focus. I love seeing a team work together like that.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is kind of a unique piece of theatre. It’s not really a rock musical but it’s not a traditional one either. Whatever it is, director Adam Adolfo has put together a most enjoyable evening of theatre, utilizing his talented cast well. The show only runs through August 7, so hurry if you plan to see it! It’s well worth your time.
WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
Artes de la Rosa
The Rose Marine Theater, 1440 North Main Street, Ft. Worth, TX 76164
Runs through August 7.
Actual days – Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 m and Sundays at 3:00pm. Tickets are $ 13-16 For info and to purchase tix go to www.artesdelarosa.org address or call the box office at 817-624-8333.