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Reston Community Players Wonderful Town

By • Oct 22nd, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Wonderful Town
Reston Community Players
Reston Community Center, Reston, VA
Through November 6th
2:30 with one intermission
$21/$18 Seniors and Students
Reviewed October 16th, 2010

Wonderful Town is based on the play My Sister Eileen by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, which was based on the autobiographical short stories by Ruth McKenney. Travel to the summer of 1935 in New York, when wisecracking writer Ruth Sherwood arrives from Ohio with her pretty, younger sister, Eileen, who wants to be an actress. Despite being homesick, the two plucky sisters are determined to forge a life in the big city. Their hilarious romantic adventures (and misadventures) include the wacky denizens of a bohemian Greenwich Village, a spicy Conga Line with Brazilian sailors, a serenade by Irish policemen, the rhythm of Swing; and best of all, you’ll learn “100 Easy Ways to Lose Your Man.”

As a musical, the Reston Community Players’ Wonderful Town succeeded. As a comedy, the show succeeded. Director Evan Hoffman points out that the show probably won’t illuminate any deep insights into the human condition. While that may be true depending on how deeply you want to look into Ruth and Eileen, it is nice to see a show just to be entertained. Catherine Oh’s choreography was lovely (and included swing and tap); the show’s pace was mostly snappy (the first act dragged a bit, but that was because there was so much material to cover), Charlotte Marson & Judy Whelihan’s costumes looked great in many different looks for the 1930’s, and the super-flexible set by Evan Hoffman (with painting by Lisa Freese and Maggie Cotter) allowed for quick scene changes. The show’s music (Mark V. Deal) and singing (John-Michael d’Haviland) sounded great, with the orchestra on stage behind the cityscape.

Hoffman did quite well in his casting. Ruth (Lynn Audrey Neal) and Eileen (Caitlin Mickey) worked so well together, you’d think they were sisters. Their voices were beautiful as they pined for “Ohio.” Neal also was fantastic with Robert Baker (Harv Lester) in “A Quiet Girl.” Then Neal was forced into a hilarious misunderstanding in the form of a conga line with a group of Brazilian sailors. Mickey’s solo “A Litle Bit in Love” was touching. Matt Williams as Wreck and the kid’s ensemble had a great song with a lot of physicality to it. David Segal as Officer Lonigan, Cassandra Hodziewich as Violet, and KJ Jacks as Madame Valenti were small parts, but everytime they came on, the audience was surprised in some manner.

The opening scene was reminiscent of Guys and Dolls‘ opening scene, with tourists and sightseers walking around the streets of New York City. Under the overture a video played which was modeled after the opening credits of a movie. Despite a long first act, Wonderful Town was swell, with knockout singing, dancing and acting.

Director’s Notes

Wonderful Town is the quintessential musical comedy! The music is by Leonard Bernstein. The lyrics are by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The setting is a vibrant and colorful vision of a bustling New York City in the 1930’s. The characters are quirky and eternally idealistic. What more could you ask for!

Will this show illuminate any deep insight into the human condition? Probably not….
However, if you are willing, it can offer you a two hour journey into a world we should all be so lucky to live in. A place where all your dreams are sure to come true in the end, your greatest difficulty is having too many dance partners to choose from, and life is quite literally a song!

Enjoy the show! -Evan Hoffman

Cast

  • Ruth Sherwood: Lynn Audrey Neal
  • Eileen Sherwood: Caitlin Mickey
  • Robert Baker: Harv Lester
  • Wreck: Matt Williams
  • Helen Wade: Jaclyn Young:
  • Frank Lippencott: Ian Burns
  • Chick Clark: Todd King
  • Officer Lonigan: David Segal
  • Mr. Appopolous: Tel Monks
  • Mrs. Wade: Lisa Merritt
  • Madame Valenti: KJ jacks
  • Violet: Cassandra Hodziewich
  • Female Ensemble: Julia Fu, Ariana Kruszewski & Angela Ramacci
  • Male Ensemble: Gary Bernard DiNardo, Wesley Allen & Alexander Kruszewski
  • Kid’s Ensemble: Hannah Rosman, Allie Lytle, Tyler King & Stephen Carey

Orchestra

  • Trumpet: Terry Bradley
  • Trombone: Eric Lindberg & Dan Haverstock
  • Piano: Francine Krasowska
  • Bass: Daniel Lema & Rick Netherton
  • Drums: Ric Okin & Eric Robertson
  • Reeds: Dana Gardner & David Spiegelthal

Crew

  • Director: Evan Hoffman
  • Producer: Lisa Freese
  • Scenic Design: Evan Hoffman
  • Lighting Design: Helen Garcia-Alton
  • Hair & Makeup Design: Jaclyn Young
  • Conductor: Mark V. Deal
  • Choreographer: Catherine Oh
  • Costume Design: Charlotte Marson & Judy Whelihan
  • Sound Design: Richard Bird
  • Music Orchestration: Johnathan Tuzman
  • Stage Manager: Laura K. Baughman
  • Vocal Coach & Music Consultant: John-Michael d’Haviland
  • Assistant Director: Sam Nystrom
  • Orchestra Manager: Joshua Redford
  • Assistant to Ms. Oh: Matthew Anderson
  • Fight Choreographers: Brian Farrell & Karen Schlumpf
  • Master Scenic Artist: Maggie Cotter
  • Master Carpenter: Tom Geuting
  • Set Painting: Lisa Freese & Maggie Cotter
  • Lighting Crew: Helen Garcia-Alton & Rick Schneider
  • Light Board Operator: Thuan Tran
  • Special Effects: David Holt
  • Projection Designer: Conor Lynch
  • Sound Board Operator: Christopher Robin
  • Costume Mistress: Daryl Miles
  • Properties Acquisition: Mary Jo Ford
  • Set Dressing: Jerry & Bea Morse
  • Hair & Makeup Assisted by: PJ Mitchell
  • Rehearsal Conductor: Pat Jarvis
  • Rehearsal & Audition Accompanists: Francine Krasowska, Alan Margolis, Pat Jarvis, Shirley Pickett & Elise Rosman
  • Running Crew Chief: Amy Frank
  • Running Crew: Julie Ayoub, Sara Birkhead, David Holt, David Johnson
  • Flyman: Rick Schneider
  • Photographers: Joe Douglass & Jaclyn Young
  • Showbill & Graphic Design: Ginger Kohles
  • Sign Language Interpreters: Janet Bailey & Hank Young

Disclaimer: Reston Community Players provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review. RCP also has purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio.net family of web sites.

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This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/5738.

has performed in local productions, but prefers to be behind the scenes. Mike earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Online News Association.

2 Responses »

  1. Ah yes – Mel Monks, my evil twin stood in for me the night you saw it.

  2. I thought I saw an evil gleam in his eye. I fixed our typo. 🙂