Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shakespeare takes Hippodrome at Gainesville by Storm

Sara Morsey as Prospera          photo provided
                                        A review by guest columnist Don Simson

From the opening, on the unique set on the thrust stage, to the final bow, the Tempest is a first class production. The set is most versatile with a mountain of books that act as an elevated stage to a hidden cave makes the most use of the limited stage area. The downstage has a raised platform to feature the prominent players during their soliloquies. The storm effects are punctuated by lightening and with three rain areas over collecting ponds on the stage floor perimeter.

Action starts with Prospera (Sara Morsey) lamenting. She has been disposed from her Duchy and banished along with her daughter Miranda (Erika Winterrowd) to a remote island.  Prospera spends the next 12 years learning how to control the weather. When her usurpers venture nearby, she creates a tempest that runs their ship aground.  The King of Naples (Robert Cope) and his entourage are stranded and seek help.  His son Ferdinand (Brett Mack) meets and falls in love with Miranda.  Revenge, comedy, and romance follow.
Shakespeare plays usually have multiple plots and The Tempest is no exception with three..  Artistic Director Lauren Caldwell has taken some poetic license with The Bard by changing the genders of Prosperous and Antonio.  For Shakespearean novices it would be wise to preview the plot on  

Casting is outstanding as demonstrated by Morsey who does an amazing portrayal.  Winterrowd, sporting a long list of credits, shines and Michael Littig as the chief sprite is delightful.

Laughs come from Caliban (Ryan George), Trinculo (Kenneth Smoak) and Stephano (Logan Wolfe) al a the Marx Brothers.

Iambic pentameter might pose another hurdle for those not familiar with the language of Shakespeare.  But for true fans of the Bard, this show is a treat.

Revived "Boeing Boeing" Reaches New Heights at Bay Street in Eustis

The Boeing 707 jet airliner changed the face of transportation in the early 1960’s making international travel affordable and efficient. The ‘World Airline Guide’ was its bible listing all transcontinental flights and becomes an integral element in the life of American-living-in-Paris Bernard (Rick Paulin) in the comedy-farce “Boeing Boeing” presented by the Bay Street Players of Eustis.

Bernard has it all figured out.  By using the Guide he is able to juggle romances with three stewardesses flying all over the globe.  Flight attendants TWA Gloria (Bre Lewis), Lufthansa Gretchen (Kami Spaulding), and Alitalia Gabriella (Lauren Morgan) each think they are the sole love of Bernard.  The setup for the farce is too obvious to mention.

Observing the escapades are housekeeper Berthe (Liz Curtis) and old friend Robert (Paul Casteneda) who is visiting Bernard.  Robert is shy but quickly grabs onto Bernard’s scheme and tries a few aerobatics of his own.

But fasten your seat belts and bring your seat backs to an upright position when flights are delayed, schedules changed and the frenetic farce begins.

Veteran on and behind the stage at Bay Street, Paulin makes a very credible philanderer.  As the na├»ve Robert, Castaneda easily pilots his character’s transition.   On stage chatter between the two is excellent.

The three stewardesses are perfect picks for their parts.  Slim and pretty, their authentic uniforms with OMG short skirts keep your attention focused as they taxi across the stage.  All are first time main stage players at Bay Street.  And they can act, too.

Award winning actress Liz Curtis gets plenty of laughs as Berthe delivering snappy wise-cracks.

“Boeing Boeing” opened in Paris in 1964.  It ran for 19 years.  In London the show ran for a record 2,000 showings.  On Broadway it lasted 23 days.  The movie starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis did well, but the 2008 re-write took off on Broadway won the Tony for Best Revival taking the show to higher altitudes.  The big difference is in the physicality of the revival.  That dynamic element is well handled by co-Directors James Meadows and Brendon Rogers and is best demonstrated in scenes between Gretchen and Berthe and a reprise with Gretchen and Robert that will have you roaring.  Also you will not be able to ignore the shtick of handling giant photographs of the stewardesses to match the character on stage.

For a non-stop flight of laughs with no bad language, this show is first class and worth much more than the current price of admission.  It receives a solid Must-See rating.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Villager Takes Principal Role in Camelot at Ocala Civic

Villager Rich Behrendt has on the role of Pelinore in the “Camelot,” the story of King Arthur’s Round table which opens May 15 at the Ocala Civic Theatre.  Get your tickets now as OCT’s musicals usually sell out.

Saturday, April 19, 2014



            Sands Theatre, Deland
            Apr 4 – 27


            Ocala Civic Theatre
            May 15 – June 6


            May 16 – June 8

Moonlight Players
Jan 13 - Jan 29