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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

Archive for July, 2017

Some Enchanted Evening

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Some Enchanted Evening
Music by Richard Rogers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Concept by Jeffery B. Moss
Directed by Roy Alan
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park Playhouse
Winter Park FL

Plot? Who needs a plot when you’ve got the entire Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook to work with? As in many WPPH productions, this show is all about keeping the audience from singing along. Large swaths of “Oklahoma!,” “The King and I,” “The Sound of Music” and “Carousel” fill the evening. The run order aims more for emotional continuity and less for story, but each of these songs has a tale to tell all by itself. The on-stage talent mixes our old favorites like Kevin Kelly and Natalie Cordone, the less often sighted Heather Kopp and Monica Titus, and the surprisingly good newcomer Dustin Cunningham. Rumor has it Mr. C works high end cruises and national touring companies, and I totally believe it. He did my favorite number tonight: “Lonely Room” is a rather sad lament that’s often cut from “Oklahoma!” Other rarities I loved include Ms. Titus version of “The Gentleman is a Dope” from the rarely seen “Allegro”, The Heather Kopp/Kevin K “Don’t Mary Me” medley, and Ms. Cordone and Ms. Titus’s “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from “The Sound of Music.” It’s the middle of summer, and no one is in a mood to deconstruct anything. “Some Enchanted Evening” is a Mimosa spritzer in the summer heat, and even with a full page of fine print songs, it flies by faster than you can swat a mosquito.

For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org

High School Musical

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

High School Musical
Directed by Jamaal Solomon
Musical direction and choreography by Angelyn Rhode
Starring Janitzo Medina and Gabby Hatch
Breakthrough Theater
Winter Park, FL

There’s no lust like teen lust, and isn’t lust at the heart of most musicals? Troy Bolton leads his dad’s basketball team, and he falls for the new girl Gabriela (Hatch). She’s a retiring Brainiac, and gets talked onto the Science decathlon team because she can solve those musical theater chemistry problems like no one else. They accidentally sing a duet (“What I’ve Been Looking For”) and reluctantly pass auditions for the school play. That’s all puppies and paper hearts, but it damages the career of conniving Sharpay (Iris Johnson) and her brother Ryan (Jonathan Barreto). They ALWAYS lead the school musical, and the intrusion of fresh talent leads to a complicated Scooby Doo-like plot that shouldn’t bother you in the least. This is a Disney property, and you can be certain no one will leave disappointed.

There’s a particularity large cast on stage, and with a hard rain falling outside, they couldn’t really stash people out back. The chorus line was about as sharp as I’ve seen here, and the choreography by Angelyn Rhode looked good and no one ever crashed into another dancer. While Medina and Hatch worked as a couple, the strongest paring came from Johnson and Barreto; his vicious manipulation and his laid back “hey, it’s just a high school musical – look at the title” attitude made a good balance to his sister’s extremes. The responsible adults in the show, Rob DelMedico as coach and dad to Troy and Molly Hicks as the overwrought drama teacher Ms. Darbus came over as a bit overheated. DelMedico’s motivation was “I want my son to win the championship I never did” while Darbus relished all the bizarre acting rituals that infuse this world. There’s a ton of energy in this show, and don’t expect to clear the lobby quickly, but “High School Musical” shows just what you can do on one small stage with good dancing and NASA style planning. Perhaps we’ll see “Le Mis'” sometime soon on the Breakthrough stage…

For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com or look them up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breakthrough-Theatre-of-Winter-Park/

#FirstWorldSanta

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

#FirstWorldSanta
Written & Directed by Winnie Wenglewick
Dangerous Theater
Sanford FL

I hate to see the winter holiday season encroach on the summer one, but that’s where the world is heading. Tonight we meet Santa’s Number One Elf “Twinkleballs” (Max Goldstone) who is drunk while delivering presents. He’s working a house down south and a young lady (Catarina Clayton) catches him with a double barrel shot gun and demands some answers. Twinkleballs reveals the sad fact Santa (Mark J. Richman) has celiac disease and as excuses for losing Christmas goes, this one is a stretch but it is one I never thought of. We ramble through most of the usual Christmas questions: How does he make all that stuff, how does he work omnipresence business and how, exactly, does Santa differ from Jehovah? Santa ends up visiting the BDSM psychologist (Clayton), and Twinkleballs contemplates a hostile takeover of the Santa operation.

The crowd was light so this show never got the laughter rolling as it should have but there are some interesting angles to the show. I thought the psychologist jokes worked best of all, and the idea of suggesting adult spanking as cure for a gluten allergy was brilliant. Richman was angry and profane, yet his unseen wife seemed really dedicated to helping him out in the cookie lab. Clayton worked better as a sexy adult than as a well-armed child, and Goldstone did his best work as a physical comedian. This is a bit of an odd show, but one worth the drive up to Sanford.

For more information on Dangerous Theatre, please visit DangerousTheatre.com/. Please note Dangerous Theatre operates in both Sanford, FL and Denver CO.

Skylight

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Skylight
By David Hare
Directed by Bobbie Bell
Starring Kelly Pekar and Jerome Davis
Mad Cow Theatre
Orlando, FL

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Kitchen Sink Drama, but this is an excellent example of the genera. Key markers include stark realism, working class Brits, and a good dose of politics. Here we have idealistic Kyra (Pekar) who teaches underprivileged kids in a bad part of London. The pay is low and she lives in a frigid flat in an inconvenient yet equally despised neighborhood. Her big score is one young man who MIGHT make it out if she tutors him in math at 6 a.m. For recreation, she had an affair with garishly well off Tom (Davis) who builds midprice restaurants for patrons who seek class at low cost. You know what they say about London dining: just go for the curry. On the edge we have the third leg of this triangle: Tom’s young son Edward (Zach Lane) drops in for a visit and brings up a question of etiquette I never considered: is OK to make a play for dad’s ex-mistress once mom is dead? Enquiring minds want to know.

The set is an amazing collection of baked on grease and shoddy accouterments. We only miss the searing cold of Kyra’s apartment; this is, after all, June in Central Florida. Kyra is worn yet still passionate, and the politics revolve around whether she’s doing all these good deeds for her own ego, or a greater cause. Tom points out the obvious: there are millions of poor, and always will be. But if you CAN have a nice meal or a decent bottle of wine, why not? Pekar flashes fiery righteousness, Davis smoldering self-satisfaction, and what intrigued me is rarely seen Edward: he seems so sweet and well meaning, and will it last? After all, the taint of Daddy’s Money hangs over him like a glowering cloud.

As a philosopher once said: Poverty is no shame, but it no great honor either. Kyra is the star here; she’s doing something passionate and for a bigger cause. Tom cheats and pushes where he can, and naturally he’s the successful one. The balance point here is Edward; he could go either: freeze with Kyra or take over the family fortune. This story tends to favor the first, but never really condemns the second. It’s a slice of life and a guided tour of capitalism, but it does have its fun moments.

For more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com

Seminar

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Seminar
By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Julia Listengarten
Starring Earl Weaver
Theater UCF
Orlando, FL

Sure, just about anyone can write, but writing so others pay to read your opus is a much bigger trick. A small group of aspiring writers chip in to hire famous yet washed up author Leonard (Weaver) to give them private lessons. They meet in the ridiculously large New York apartment of Kate (Alexandra Pica). With nine bedrooms, a river view and rent stabilized at $800, her joint is better fiction than anything they can pen. Kate’s spent six years working a Jane Austin piece while Douglas (Sebastian Gonzalez) gets feelers from “The New Yorker.” Martin (Logan Ayala) is intimidated by Leonard, and Izzy (Eranthis Rose Quigley) would rather sleep with writers than be one. Leonard is a powerful figure; he even intimidated me and I sat back in Row “E.”

Rare praise is valued more highly, and as Leonard reads his admirer’s pages he drops them on the floor leaving the kids sort out their own work. Rants are routine; he gives one threatening the students with horrible career results and he should know: That’s how his life ends. But one of these four kids has a glimmer of promise, and Leonard ends up editing for this up and comer.

Plays about writing appeal mostly to people in the business; it’s a busman’s holiday thing. This cast was bright and sharp with every foible clearly outlined. Izzy emitted raw sex and Kate old NYC money while Martin took on smugness and Douglas played the wuss. Weaver dominated all of these youngsters and perfectly encapsulated the rage and frustration keyboards can bring on. The set was an impressive wall of modernist art and it cleverly slipped over the castle set still in place for “Lion in Winter.” There’s a voyeuristic charm here; this is the sort of life changing seminar all artists hope to experience, but so few do. It’s a good show full of intellectual exercises that fills that long stretch until the fall season fires up.

For more information on Theatre UCF, visit http://www.theatre.ucf.edu