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Newtowne Players Return to the Forbidden Planet

By • Nov 13th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Newtowne Players in Lexington Park, MD opened last week with their jukebox musical production of Return to the Forbidden Planet. A young community theater group located in St. Mary County, the Newtowne Players have been ambitious in finding and developing talent in the county.

Veteran actor & director Dave Bayles and co-director Leslie Wanko presented an intriguing evening of Shakespeare, Star Trek and Doo-wop all integral elements to the script. The script is a treasure trove for those audience members versed in Shakespeare, classic rock and roll or Star Trek trivia. It is a little more challenging for those who are not familiar with the recurring references, puns and illustrations.

The show featured a well crafted spaceship, excellent technical effects, and outstanding costumes. The production suffered a few minor technical set backs (the cue list probably looked like that for a NASA space odessey) but offered some innovative moments.

Music Director Krys Baker kept a tight ship with her band although the doo-wop singers and the soloists were at times hard to hear. The cast offered a consistent level of musicianship and energy to the show that served the script well.

Casting, although unorthodox, showcased the outstanding talents of two actresses playing male roles. Jessany Fogle played the ingenue male role with aplomb and style and actress Jennifer Meisinger was outstanding as the male robot – Ariel. The singers were somewhat limited musically as the music was scored for male voices and was too low for both the women.

Overall, the production was entertaining and engaging. Notable performances included the energetic and charismatic Dr. Prospero (John O’Laughlin) and the well-sung Tempest (Patrick Welton). Keep an eye on this young theater company as they continue to contribute quality community theater to St. Mary’s County.

Newtowne Players performs at the Three Notch Theatre – the former Lexington Park Library. Three Notch Theatre is located at 21744 South Coral Drive, Lexington Park, MD.

Return to the Forbidden Planet performances are November 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 22, 2008 — 8:00 p.m. and November 9, 16, and 23, 2008 — 3:30 p.m.

For more information visit their website at newtowneplayers.org or call 301 737 5447.

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works nationally and internationally as an opera singer, coach, teacher, conductor and stage director. She is the CEO of Saltnote Stageworks, a non-profit corporation that promotes education & performance opportunities for emerging artists.

4 Responses »

  1. […] ShowBizRadio: Review of Newtowne Players’ Return to the Forbidden Planet […]

  2. Saw the show last Saturday and had a good time. I thought is was staged well, liked the set and really liked the costumes. The music director did a nice job of not forcing the actors to try things they might not have been able to do. On Saturday the only problems with vocals I had was not being able to hear all the the doo opps had to offer. Surprised no mention was made about the fine singing voice of the show’s Teenager in Love. 18 bucks is just a tad steep but I was told the show could be viewed for 10 on Thursdays. I will take Ms. Morton’s advise and keep an eye open for this group’s future productions. David T. – theater buff from the Hard Bargain Players

  3. Must disagree with the comment about the admission being a tad too high. This show would be a bargain at 30 bucks a ticket. Go see it NOW~!
    The entire cast is terrific, the script was great, and the monster, was,,,,, Unbelievable~!~!~!~!

  4. As director of this show I would like to mention just one thing, and it seems to apply to ALL theater, be it regional or community. Reviewers come to these performances usually on opening night where in the case of most community theater productions, the show is not spit and polish. Though most productions strive for near perfection for opening, the cast as yet has been untested in front of a paying audience. Usually the most a production gets is a one night “invited” rehearsal to sort of test the waters. My experience in community theater has shown me that for a variety of reasons, mostly budget and time constraints, most productions are not fully running to near 100% and in some cases better, until the second week of production. With usually only 3 weekends and at times only 2 to present the show, many don’t have the technical issues resolved until the second weekend. Please be kind, and fogiving should sound, lights or other technical difficulties arrise. As for “Return to the Forbidden Planet” given the difficult task of having a full Rock & Roll band on stage along with 12 actors all individually mic’d and a theater the size of a postage stamp, I think a few minor things like a squeek here or there or other minor tech issue is forgivable. The cast, crew and production staff did an amazing job of putting this show on. Take note “young budding reviewers and theater goers” this is volunteer community theater, long hours, no pay but just a desire to take their audience away into a world where they don’t have to think or worry about terrorists, high gas prices or the economy going down the dumps. If “Return to the Forbidden Planet” did that for those who saw the show, we can say “mission accomplished”, tech problems and all.