Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Little Theatre of Alexandria Nude With Violin

By • Sep 10th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Nude With Violin by Noel Coward
Little Theatre of Alexandria
Little Theatre of Alexandria, Alexandria, VA
Through September 25th
2:20 with one intermission
Reviewed September 5th, 2010

Nude With Violin is a play in two acts by Noel Coward. After a renowned artist dies the family learns that he left no will. It is also revealed that his supposed masterpieces were not painted by him at all. Much mayhem ensues as the family tries to save face, and find out who the real artists are.

This production had a little bit of everything, a little bit of drama, a touch of international intrigue, some violence, and a whole lot of comedy. It was hard to follow at times and the reason for that could be the actors’ French accents were a little hard to understand at times.

The head butler Sebastian was played convincingly by John Barclay Burns. Burns with the typical distain for Americans had an aloofness that was mostly amusing. His multilingual phone conversations were humorous, but it would have helped if he could have let the imaginary person on the other end of the phone get a word in edgewise as he frequently responded to the caller’s questions before the caller could have even asked the question.

Gayle Nichols-Grimes played the widow Isobel Sorodin terrifically. Nichols-Grimes was actually funniest when she was in the background either experiencing one of her “headaches” or rolling her eyes at some tryst her late husband had gotten himself into with yet another woman. Diane Linton Sams played the outgoing and very funny Cherry-May Waterton. Sams was from the South and although as uncouth as possible still was able to reveal how she “knew” Paul Sorodin. Her current “friend” Fabrice, played by Geoffrey Brand, had no lines, but he spoke volumes by the way he attached himself to the ladies. His fight with Colin may not have been too realistic, but the first punch was well done. The entire well-balanced cast kept in their characters throughout the performance.

As always at the Little theatre, the set was outstanding, with a great attention to detail. The Set Designer was also the show’s director, Howard Vincent Kurtz. The Set Dressing (more than 40 paintings adorned the walls) was done by Russell Wyland paintings on the wall and other properties were terrific.

Nude With Violin was a funny play, although occasionally difficult to follow, but overall was a solid production.

Director’s Notes

Art is in the eye of the beholder…..

I’ve always enjoyed art in its many forms, from the great masters to modern abstract art. I don’t enjoy all art, but that’s exactly as it should be. In my opinion, the world of art is as complex and subjective as the performing art form we call theater.

Nude with Violin is a play by Noel Coward. A light comedy of manners, the play is Coward’s satire on “modern art” (and the art world in general) and the value placed on art. The original London production opened in 1956 and ran for more than a year. Nude with Violin opened on Broadway in 1957, with the author playing the starring role. The production met with mixed reviews. However, the mixed reception in the States did not prevent Coward from writing, directing, and starring in his own plays through the 1960’s. He retired to his villa in Jamaica and he died there in 1973.

Nude with Violin shows the playwright and th man, using pen rather than a paintbrush. The play speaks to audiences today about the manipulation and transformation of a painted image. Whether we like that image or not, art is truly in the eye of the beholder, and we, the viewers of that art, have to make up our own minds.

Enjoy the show.

Howard Vincent Kurtz

Photo Gallery

Gary Cramer (Clinton Preminger Junior), John Barclay Burns (Sebastien), and Michael Fisher (Jacob Friedland) Ric Andersen (Colin), Elizabeth Heir (Pamela), and Gayle Nichols-Grimes (Isobel Sorodin)
Gary Cramer (Clinton Preminger Junior), John Barclay Burns (Sebastien), and Michael Fisher (Jacob Friedland)
Ric Andersen (Colin), Elizabeth Heir (Pamela), and Gayle Nichols-Grimes (Isobel Sorodin)
Geoffrey Brand (Fabrice) and Diane Linton Sams (Cherry-May Waterton) Michael Fisher (Jacob Friedland)
Geoffrey Brand (Fabrice) and Diane Linton Sams (Cherry-May Waterton)
Michael Fisher (Jacob Friedland)

Photos by Shane Canfield for LTA.


  • Sebastian: John Barclay Burns
  • Marie Celeste: Elizabeth Replogle
  • Clinton Preminger Junior: Gary Cramer
  • Isobel Sorodin: Gayle-Nichols Grimes
  • Jane: Elizabeth Keith
  • Colin: Ric Andersen
  • Pamela: Elizabeth Heir
  • Jacob Friedland: Michael Fisher
  • Anya Pavlikov: Megan Murphy
  • Cherry-May Waterton: Diane Linton Sams
  • Fabrice: Geoffery Brand
  • Obadiah Lewellyn: DeJeannette Horne
  • George: Howard Jaffe
  • Stotesbury: Daniel Durgavich


  • Producers: Sharon Dove and Margaret Snow
  • Director: Howard Vincent Kurtz
  • Assistant Director: Jennifer Lyman
  • Stage Managers: Leighann Behrens and Mary Beth Smith-Toomey
  • Set Design: Howard Vincent Kurtz
  • Set Construction: Chris Feldman
  • Assisted by: John Beahler, Gail Cafardi, Bob King, Jeff Nesmeyer, Clarence Parrish, Dan Remmers, Art Snow, Jerry Wolf, Russell Wyland
  • Set Dressing: Russell Wyland
  • Assisted by: Kevin Lane
  • Set Painting: Buffy Mechling
  • Assisted by: Leslie Reed, Jose Sugaftti
  • Lighting Designer: Nancy Owens
  • Master Electrician: Arie McSherry and Richard Schwab
  • Assisted by: Genie Baskir, Ken Crowley, Patti Crowley, Eileen Doherty, Pam Leonowich, Lara McSherry, Doug Olmsted,Liz Oens, Asati Shah
  • Sound design: David Hale
  • Assisted by: Keith Bell, Anna Hawkins, Margaret Evans-Joyce, Bill Rinehuls, Art Snow, Allan Wray
  • Costume Design: Chris Macey
  • Wardrobe: Jamie Blake
  • Assisted by Elizabeth Blake, Bobbie Herbst, Rebecca Johnson, Sherry Singer, Pat Taylor, Anne Vroom
  • Property Design: Phillip Campbell and Patty Greksouk
  • Assisted by: Lisa armsted, Barbara Helsing, Rebecca Johnson, Jayn Rife, Mary Lou Thompson
  • Hair/Makeup/Wigs: Bette Williams
  • Audition Photographer: Arie McSherry
  • Show Photographer: Shane Canfield
  • Double-Tech Dinner: Lenard and Sharon Dove
  • Assisted by: Gail Cafardi, Katherine Dillaber
  • Opening Night Party: Larry Gray
  • Assisted by: John and Rebecca Johnson
  • Opening Night Party Piano Player: Howard Jaffe
  • Rigging: Russell Wyland

Disclaimer: Little Theatre of Alexandria provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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