CCT with 2nd Flight Theatre Company Flight of the Lawnchair ManBy McCall Doyle • Jun 1st, 2009 • Category: Reviews
CCT with 2nd Flight Theatre Company
NVCC-Loudoun Campus, Sterling, VA
$15/$10 Seniors and Students
Through June 14th
Flight of the Lawnchair Man is the comedic new musical currently being presented at CCT with 2nd Flight Theatre Company. The direction and choreography (Randall Jones) is brisk and paints colorful images. The plot is based on the true story of a New Jersey man who finds himself without a real purpose in life. He’s 34, lives with his nagging mother, and his greatest accomplishment has been his recent promotion to Walmart snack bar manager.
Aided by his tollbooth girlfriend Gracie (Susanna Todd), Jerry Gorman (Mark W. Gray-Mendes) takes his life (or lack thereof) into his own hands, assisted by 4000 helium balloons and a lawnchair. Gray-Mendes is painfully underused…he was perfectly cast as the sensitive loser, singing with lyricism and depth, but his songs were among the shortest in the show and he spent a lot of time onstage without a whole lot to do. Write his character more songs, please! Todd is a charmer, with a strong belting voice and a perky persona. The two have the most memorable tunes in the entire production, “I Want to Fly” and “The Air is Free.”
The show was anchored by its two leads, but there were brilliant scene stealers. Ryan Khatcheressian as an egotistical pilot and Rebecca Clary his stewardess bimbette sidekick were hysterical. Khatcheressian has always been known in this area for his vocal prowess, but here he finds the humor in every last aspect of his character and takes it to a new level.
Cory Okouchi infuses his cameo as Mr. Frankel with life and over the top energy…Josh Doyle as Charles Lindbergh is thoroughly amusing, and Cathy Arnold as Amelia Earhart is a winner. And Lori Staley’s brief turn as the little French Boy is delightful.
It’s a quirky musical that doesn’t quite hit all the notes of whimsy it might have achieved. The very functional set (Kevin King) complete with wonderful projections, helps the show along. The lighting design (also Kevin King) is beautiful, with a dreamy, pastel palette. There were some issues with the orchestra/vocal balance and the microphones, but it’s difficult to maintain a balance when the orchestra is behind the performers/set/scrim. The costume design (Jacquin Pierce Allen, Michael Schaaff) was effective and fun for the most part, except for the opening ensemble costumes…there needed to be uniform crispness to attain the point of the number.
The surprise second ending (after the curtain call) was the dream child of director Jones…it may have changed the flavor from bittersweet to honey…but was nicely executed by Jen Faulconer.
Opening night was lacking a little energy, but the cast will no doubt get stronger as the run continues. The audience was very enthusiastic and the experience was enhanced by the presence of the composer and lyricist, Robert Lindsey-Nassif, who graciously held a talkback after the show.
- Jerry Gorman: Mark W. Gray-Mendes
- Gracie: Susanna Todd
- Mr. Frankel: Cory Okouchi
- Mother Gorman: Marissa Quintos
- Big Jack Preston: Ryan Khatcheressian
- Blaire: Rebecca Clary
- French Boy: Lori Staley
- Thong Dude/Movie Narrator: Jesse Baskin
- Model/Nena: Jen Faulconer
- Car-Jacked Guy/Photographer: Jeffery Miller
- Nun/Feather O’Hurlahee: Carla Okouchi
- Biker Chick/FAA Man: Renee Rabben
- Wal-Mart Employee/NASA Official: Michael Schaaff
- Closet Gay/Thuggish Bully: Stephen T Wheeler
- Madeline/Lindbergh Bimbo: Christine Young
- Young Jerry: Braedon Kulick
- Leonardo da Vinci: Kevin McCormack
- Charles Lindbergh: Josh Doyle
- Amelia Earhart: Cathy Arnold
- Producer: Leah Aspell
- Director: Randall Jones
- Assistant Director: Maribeth Jones
- Music Director: David Rohde
- Stage Manager: Colleen Stock
- Assistant Stage Manager: Laura Moody
- Technical Directors: Kevin King, Rick Wilson
- Master Carpenters: Kevin King, Rick Wilson
- Special Effects: Nick Brown, Jeff Bender
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/3851.