Divorce! The Musical!
By Conrad Angel Corral (03-11-2009)
Playwright Erin Kamler, under the wonderful direction of Rick Sparks, presents a thoroughly entertaining theatrical production that proves that small musical theatre does in fact thrive in Los Angeles.
The time is now, and the lovely redhead Penny (Lowe Taylor) and debonair Rich (Rick Segall) are getting married. While their love is strong and fresh “Till Death Do Us Part,” this is theatre and soon they find themselves in “Therapy” because the workaholic Rich wants a stay-at-home wife and kids, while Penny wants to pursue her acting career, which doesn’t include children. With Divorce comes cutthroat lawyers (the hilarious Gabrielle Wagner and Leslie Stevens) and Rich’s buddy Don Hughes (Gregory Franklin) who also doubles as the very entertaining Mediator Game Show Host.
Managing to keep an otherwise down storyline uplifting, Kamler’s book, lyrics and music happily whisk the audience through the tragic yet funny trials and tribulations of an unraveling relationship. Under the direction of Rick Sparks (They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? ), outstanding musical numbers (both in lyrics and presentation) include Till Death Do Us Part, Therapy, Out There, Rebound Sex, Parent’s Basement, Che-Ching and Mediation”. While the Hudson stage may be small, set designer Danny Cistone’s multi-level presentation and moving environment fill the stage with visual excitement.
The two leads, Segall and Taylor, are highly qualified singer/performers who grab you from the opening number and keep you interested and entertained throughout. However, the ensemble cast of Wagner, Stevens and Franklin provide all the fun. Wagner and Stevens are appealing character actors whose voices may not be strong, but know how to present a number and fill it with energy, excitement, and comic timing. Equally, Franklin stays in the background for most of the production until he hits the Game Show Hosting gig and his contributions revealed for all to enjoy.
Costumes by Denitsa Bliznakova fit comfortably into the 2009 period and lighting by Jeremy Pivnick keeps the small stage aglow.
Never has Divorce looked so good!