Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekend Update: Two Weddings and Avoiding a (Performing) Funeral in Guys and Dolls

People who know me understand that I generally expect things to turn into a disaster. And this weekend had the potential. Starting with opening night of Guys and Dolls and ending with a wedding on Long Island on Sunday late afternoon with potential traffic nightmares and predictions of bad weather through the weekend - and we had company Saturday for dinner as our friends came over to see the Sat night performance. So I was on edge, worried that, even though I play as minor a role in the show as possible, I would screw something up, especially in the numbers where I have to do some light dance steps in synch with others, especially the "Oldest Established Floating Crap Game" number early in the show where there are not that many guys I can hide behind.

But it all turned out exceptionally well. For the 2nd time in the past month, the second one of my wife's cousin's sons to get married - I wrote about the wedding of Jared and Margo in Turks and Caicos (Destination: Wedding in Turks and Caicos). We stayed an extra day and caught our last hour on the beach before leaving and ran into their photoshoot - right.

That (one month) old married couple were there last night for Steve and Katherine's wedding in Bayville - even though not my family they are also Scotts - Steve is the son of my wife's cousin Laurie and her husband Skip, a professional jazz drummer who played with his trio at the wedding. And note how this wedding was also on the beach. Here are a few pics. I find it fascinating that she is a divorce lawyer, leading to my endless and tasteless jokes at passover dinners.

As for the show, what a weekend. I actually hit my steps on the whole. And of course I had to miss the Sunday matinee due to the wedding, but I did go over before I left to give my replacement, Joe Hagopian -  one of the most popular and likeable young people I have met - some instruction on what he had to do. I stayed to tape the opening and Joe - who is 25 - looked so much better on stage than I do, I hope I still have my role.

Take back your mink - but not yet - Dolls with Nicely Nicely Johnson (Chazmond Peacock)
Seeing these young women dance is a major treat of the show.

Guys in Luck Be a Lady, lead by Sky (Danny Cruz) - see if you can find me
I'm writing something for The Wave - here is a draft.

Guys and Dolls played to sold out audiences for all 3 performances this past weekend. Everyone felt great about how things went, despite some of the usual snags. Due to the enormous talents vying for roles at the RTC there are two different casts for the four major roles and some other significant roles (meaning people should see the show twice - at least twice) makes this a special achievement.

It is hard to single out individual performances - something I can't judge from being backstage for most of the show. The powerful performance of 18 year old Caitlin Byrne as Miss Adelaide on Saturday night perked my ears up. Later people I knew who saw the show said Caitlin blew the place away.

Matthew Smilardi, one of my favorite actors at the RTC of all time, playing her boyfriend engaged for 14 years, Nathan Detroit, said her enormous energy fed his performance which in turn fed back to her. What a pleasure it was for the audience seeing these two RTC vets (Matt is in his early twenties and has been with the RTC since he was a teen) and Caitlin, who just finished her freshman year in college, comes out of the RTC Teen Theater Workshop. Oh what a voice - and Caitlin is also a devotee of Anita Ruderman's Hot Yoga classes on Beach 116th Street.

And here's the rub. On Friday night, the amazing duo of Nicole Mangano and John Panepinto played these same roles to perfection but for those who see both performances, with their own twist. Their voices don't take 2nd place to anyone. I'll get into the other dual cast leads, Sky (Danny Cruz/ Michael Whelan) and Sarah (Maria Edwards/Renee Steadman), played by 4 performers with exceptional voices, next time.

Matt and John as Nathan (the Frank Sinatra role in the movie) and Caitlin and Nicole as Adelaide carry immense responsibilities to make the play work and whichever cast you see you won't be disappointed. On the alternate days, they assume other roles as the drunk and as crapshooters - for veteran actors like them, like a day off.

We refer to the different casts as the Danny and Mike casts. Here are their performance dates:
Danny Cast: July 10, 12, 17, 19.
Mike Cast: July 11, 16, 18.
So if you saw one, come and see the other.

If I tried to talk about everyone who should be talked about in the cast and backstage, the Wave would have to give me the entire paper. I will try to follow up in the upcoming week with more on the awesome talent at RTC. For me, being in a play with Chazmond Peacock (Nicely Nicely), who I believed is a major talent who should be on Broadway since I first saw him in Oliver is such a special treat. He can do anything on stage, but just watch him do his stuff in "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" and try to tell me I'm not right.

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