Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Vienna Theatre Company Prelude to a Kiss

By • Jan 19th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the Vienna Theatre Company’s production of Prelude to a Kiss [MP3 6:15 2.9MB].

Prelude to a Kiss
Vienna Theatre Company
Vienna Community Center, Vienna, VA
$9/$8 Seniors and Students
Through Feb. 2nd

Laura: This is the review of Prelude to a Kiss, performed by the Vienna Theatre Company in Vienna, Virginia. Mike and I saw the opening night performance on Friday evening, January 18, 2008.

Mike: Prelude to a Kiss was an ok show. It think part of the problem was it didn’t age too well. The relationship between Peter and Rita was fine. The relationship between Peter and the old man I feel could have been explored a bit more.

Laura: I agree. This show did have some aging problems. The playbill said the time was the present. In the present everyone has caller id. When Peter was talking about what he did for a living working with microfiche. I guess with the age of technology and computers, etc. that there are some places where you need that, but computers have replaced microfiche. Overall it was an OK show.

Mike: Prelude to a Kiss is a play by Craig Lucas. A modern day fantasy set in Manhattan, Prelude to a Kiss is the story of Peter and Rita, who meet at a party. He has a boring job in medical publishing, and she’s a bartender with insomnia. They find common ground on a number of subjects and hit it off right away. They begin a whirlwind romance that culminates in wedding bells within only a few months. They would seem to be the perfect match, but on their honeymoon Rita visibly changes. She becomes more gaudy and insensitive, brusque and outgoing. This is not the cautious, more thoughtful Rita that Peter is used to. What’s happened…and can it be fixed? Soon?

Laura: Peter, the husband was played by David Vargas did an OK job. He was sort of nondescript, which fit his role. He was more of the steadying influence, but a bit neurotic at times. He and Rita had some good scenes together, especially when he began to realize that things were not beautiful on the honeymoon.

Mike: The character of Peter was on the stage almost the entire show. That was an accomplishment right there. He also had to handle lots of different emotions, including the confusion of meeting Rita and falling in love with her, but not wanting to be totally open to her, later meeting Rita’s parents and the scene at the wedding.

Then there is the whole second act when something has definitely changed Rita. I liked overall how he handled all those different scenes. I did like how when Peter and Rita were dating, how he handled the trust issue. That was a nice set of scenes. Late in the show Peter was talking to the Old Man, played by Fred C. Lash. I didn’t feel like they quite had enough time on stage together to really get a feeling of bonding. I don’t want to give the plot away, but the time they spent together didn’t feel right.

Laura: The Old Man did have a pretty serious role. I, too, do not think he had enough time with Peter to explore that relationship. They did have a moving scene at the end when he and Rita met.

Rita was played by Carla Francischetti. That was a good ending scene and again, there is a plot point I don’t want to give away. I liked Rita’s portrayal. She was thoughtful. The change in Rita was well done. Her trying to stand up in high heeled shoes and almost falling out of them. Her brusqueness and her uncertainty about the family dynamics. Her suddenly taking charge was interesting and it was kind of fun watching her change.

Mike: I think Francischetti did a good job as Rita. She was flighty and not someone I would want too get close to, but the character of Rita would change her train of thought quickly and I think she handled that well, especially since some of the jumps were not directly related to what was happening in the scene. She also had a nice relationship with her parents, Dr. Boyle played by Dick Hollands and Mrs. Boyle played by Gayle Grimes.

Laura: The set for Prelude to a Kiss was well done. It was set up on multi levels so you could easily switch from one scene to another with a simple light change. The Set Designer was John Vasko.

Mike: The director was Suzanne Maloney. In her notes to the audience in the playbill she refers to some of the other big name theatrical productions like Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon. She talked about how sometimes you do need to have those big massive sets with lots of special effects. There were some basic special effects in this show and they were handled fine. The set was also pretty nice.

By just using the lights, you could easily ignore other sections of the stage and you accepted that. The lights were designed by Tom Epps. I liked that there was one section that was very high up, it was still easy to see everybody and it wasn’t distracting. There was a nice back drop against the cyc at the back of the stage to represent New York and I think it all worked together well. It was very easy to accept the reality that was presented to us on stage.

Laura: Prelude to a Kiss was just under two hours with one intermission. It is playing through Saturday, February 2, Friday and Saturdays at 8 and one Sunday afternoon matinee on the 27th at 2 pm, which will be sign language interpreted.

Mike: If you’ve seen the show, we’d like to hear your thoughts. Simply leave a comment on our website, We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with what’s happening in community theater in the DC metro area.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • Peter: David Vargas
  • Rita: Carla Francischetti
  • Old Man: Fred Lash
  • Mrs. Boyle: Gayle Grimes
  • Dr. Boyle: Dick Hollands
  • Aunt Dorothy: Brenda Scott
  • Uncle Fred: Ken Perkowski
  • Minister/Waiter: Melat Berhanu
  • Leah/ Tommi: Amber Dyer
  • Taylor: Todd Bell


  • Producer: Barbara Chaudet
  • Assistant Producer: Adrian Steel
  • Stage Manager: Mary Ann Hall
  • Director: Suzanne Maloney
  • Assistant Stage manager: Michael O’Connor
  • Master Carpenter: John Vasko
  • Master Electrician: Michael O’Connor
  • Electrician Assistants: Sherry Singer, Rich Dodenhoff
  • Set Design and Construction: John Vasko
  • Building Crew: Julie Heisey, Huff Heisey, Adrian Steel, Bill Mullins
  • Sound Design and Operator: Anna Hawkins
  • Lighting Design: Tom Epps
  • Lighting Assistants: Morgan Stanley, Christie Swaney
  • Costume Design: Judy Whelihan
  • Props and Set Dressing: Rose Declercq
  • Light Board Operator: Michael Schwandt
  • Program: Lisa Hill-Corley
  • Makeup and Hair: Amber Dyer
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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