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Laurel Mill Playhouse Sex Sells

By • Nov 5th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Sex Sells
Laurel Mill Playhouse
Laurel Mill Playhouse, Laurel, MD
$13/$10 Seniors and Juniors
Through November 16th

This is the Show Biz Radio review of Sex Sells, performed by the Laurel Mill Playhouse, in Laurel, Maryland. We saw the performance on Sunday afternoon, November 2, 2008.

Sex Sells is an original work by Christian Rayman. This original comedy is about working in a mall music store during the holidays. In addition to a motley crew of characters, you’ll catch some important lessons on tolerance, how crime doesn’t pay, that good guys finish first, and that people in swimsuits can boost sales.

This original work started as a one act play performed at the Laurel Mill Playhouse and Audrey Herman Spotlighter’s Theatre. While this show had its funny moments, overall the script still needs a lot of work, starting with deciding if its goal is presenting commentary on current American society via absurdity, or a comedy based on the trials and tribulations of working retail. The first act and the first two thirds of the second act focused on the problems of operating a retail music store in a dying shopping mall. These problems included shoplifters, numerous management edicts, and those clueless customers (“Do you sell shoes here?” and “I’m looking for that slow song with love in the title” are the questions that anyone who has worked retail will remember with horror.) The last third of the second Act introduced a bizarre new plot line, the mall Santa Claus who was doing his community service has flipped out and created a hostage situation that only the music store employees can deal with.

After the production we attended a brief talkback with the cast, crew and playwright. We learned that in the One Act version of Sex Sells the primary plot was the Santa Claus hostage situation, and that a major plot line involving employee theft was added to increase the length of the show. Sex Sells could be improved significantly if the nutty Santa Claus hostage scenes were removed from the script. This would remove the need for two lengthy scene changes in the second act, as well as the ridiculous plot line itself. The playwright’s note in the program says “Nearly everything in this show actually happened; some of it word for word.” Internet searches for that plot line in news archives didn’t turn up anything relevant. The premise of Sex Sells, “ly a feasible idea for a story as well. But keep the two apart. Far apart. As far apart as you’d want to stay from Ben.

There was a wide range of acting talent on stage for Sex Sells. The cast was huge (24 people, playing at least 52 different characters) and composed of mostly beginning actors. But everyone has to start somewhere, and Sex Sells gave many opportunities for new actors to get valuable stage time. A few performers stood out in their roles, Jeff Mocho as Chris, the dedicated under-appreciated assistant store manager who does all the real work; Tony Liberato as Don, the eager new assistant store manager, and Erin Stauder as the mute clerk-savant Tab.

The sets for Sex Sells were fairly effective. Most of the play took place in the music store or its back office. The two areas were separated by a cutaway wall. For the Santa Claus scene, the cast had to take down the music store and replace it with the North Pole. This was done efficiently, but did bog down the pace of the show two times. The Set Designer was Chris Rayman, Sarah Kendrick, and Melanie Eifert, the show’s director.

Sex Sells does contain adult language and situations. It was odd that with the buildup of warning audiences about “moderate sexual situations and dialogue and some strong language” that most of the characters would not reveal their swimsuits during the Summer in Christmas promotion scenes by wearing shirts and coverups.

Sex Sells ran almost two and a half hours with one intermission. It is playing through November 16th. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm. A Sunday matinee on the 2nd and 16th at 2 pm and a special Thursday performance on November 6th at 8 pm at the Laurel Mill Playhouse in Laurel, Maryland.

Once you’ve seen the show, please feel free to leave a comment here on our website at ShowBiz Radio.net. We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater events in the DC Region.

And now, on with the show.

Cast

  • Steph, Candy, multiple customers: Elisa Rodero
  • John: Peter Eichman
  • Acid Guy, Turtle Man, Aladdin, multiple customers: Lenne Siraski
  • Chris: Jeff Mocho
  • Thug, multiple customers: Aaron Arnold
  • Liz: Karin Crighton
  • Don: Tony Liberato
  • Ben’s Lady, Mrs. Gracious, multiple customers: Tricia Schwaab
  • Anthony, Mr. Farrakhan: M.W. Roberts, Jr.
  • Metalhead, Nick, Mr. Shoeman, Timer, multiple customers: James Raymond
  • Kathy, Tab’s Fan, Melanie, multiple customers: Katherine Macho
  • Brian: Warren Smith
  • Heart Guy, Emin-Ice, Mallrat, multiple customers: Carl Marchese
  • Santa: Mike Ware
  • Love Guy, Mallrat’s friend, multiple customers: Richard Stabler
  • Bridget: Inga Kalatschan
  • Heather: Victoria Halperin Kuhns
  • Jen: Tiffany James
  • The Elf: Mike Rocha
  • Tab, customer: Erin Stauder
  • Ben, customer: Sergio Cassanego
  • Brandon: Brandon Richardson
  • Eric: Brennan Kuhns
  • Multiple customers: Julie Rogers

Crew

  • Director: Melanie Eifert
  • Stage Manager: Lori Bruun
  • Producer: Maureen Rogers
  • Light Design: Chris Rayman, Brennan Kuhns
  • Sound Design: Brennan Kuhns, Chris Rayman, Melanie Eifert
  • Set Design: Chris Rayman, Sarah Kendrick, Melanie Eifert
  • Set Construction: Chris Rayman, Brennan Kuhns, Melanie Eifert, Richard Stabler, Peter Eichman, Victoria Halperin Kuhns, Kevan Rayman, jeff Mocho
  • Set Dressing: Chris Rayman, Brennan Juhns, Melanie Eifert, Peter Eichman, Victoria Halperin Kuhns, Avery Burroughs, Bernadette Philip, Dwayne Birch
  • Costumer: Victoria Halperin Kuhns
  • Additional costumes: cast and crew
  • Box Office: Maureen Rogers assisted by volunteers
  • Program: Chris Rayman
  • Program Coordinator: Maureen Rogers
  • Posters: Chris Rayman
  • Head Shots: Carl Marchese, Chris Rayman
  • Website Design and Maintenance: Stewart Wills
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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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