Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Musical
by Jeffrey Lane Music & Lyrics by David Yazbek
Directed by Michelle Denise Perez
Reviewed by Wayne Erreca (10-4-14)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels takes place in an exotic French Riviera Casino where suave, middle-aged con-man Lawrence Jameson (Kerr Anderson) seduces wealthy women from their most endearing possession, which isnít carnally, but financially, taking them for every single dime, and nickel. Chaperoning Lawrence is his faithful bodyguard, Andre (Christopher Linsell), who confidentially gives him warning of a notorious thief known only as The Jackal that might be in their vicinity. While Lawrence sits reading a newspaper in a diner car of a passenger train, he notices an odd looking young man, absurdly attired, sit at a table with a woman. Lawrence discovers, he too, is a swindler, and once the woman happily wanders off, never realizing sheís a dollar shorter, he joins in conversation with petty thief, Freddy Benson (Dave Dennison). Lawrence invites his new friend to his mansion and Freddy thinks this may be the beginning of a bright and advantageous relationship with his new mentor in crime. Soon, Lawrence is accosted by gun-toting Jolene Oakes (Lauren Snowday), who he previously swindled, insisting they move to Oklahoma, and get married. Desperate for a way out of this dilemma, Lawrence turns to Freddy with a sly plan that will redeem him from his horrible fate. There is more to this dazzling story, but I wonít spoil it for you.
Director Michelle Denise Perez has a talented group of performers and Music Director Joe Rice has an excellent orchestra currently playing at the Old Town Playhouse. This hilarious and sassy musical is loosely based from the original 1964 motion picture Bedtime Story, starring David Niven as Lawrence and Marlon Brando as Freddy. It was in 1988, screenwriter Dale Launerís film adaptation Dirty Rotten Scoundrels showcased Michael Caine as Lawrence, and Steve Martin as Freddy. It was in 2004, in my hometown of San Diego, California, where Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (musical) by Jeffrey Lane & David Yazbek premiered, and eventually found its way to Broadway for a successful 626 performance run. It garnished nineteen Tony Award nominations and received one Tony Award for actor Norbert Leo Butz (Outstanding Actor in a Musical).
Dave Dennison (Freddy) and the Ensemble thrilled and rocked the audience with their blazing hot singing and dancing Great Big Stuff. Kerr Anderson (Lawrence) is a class act and smoothly shines while singing Dirty Rotten Number. The Playhouse came alive when determined Lauren Snowday (Jolene) and Ensemble snapped her fingers and twirled her guns performing Oklahoma. Jenn Archibald (Muriel) and Christopher Linsell (Andre) have the most beautiful chemistry when singing Like Zis/Like Zat. They are a delight to watch, emoting sincere emotions that reach the farthest seat in the mezzanine. Micha Bancroft (Christine) and the Ensemble are wonderfully strong and articulate in singing Here I Am.
The Ensemble is an important aspect to any successful musical. These talented performers worked wonderfully together and are a great asset to the main principalís success. They are: Matt Archibald, Sally Beemon, Allixandra Geiger, Debbie Hershey, Eleanor Hill, Meaghan Jameson, Harold Kranick, Toby Lucius, Matt Marek, Meg Parker, Austin Wolfgram, and Elise Zagore.
The Designers help to create the visual and audio atmosphere. Many hours of thought and sweat were invested by: Ed Blackburn (Set Design), Bill Fishburn (Light Design), Gary Bolton (Sound Design), Kathy Verstraete (Costume Design), Alexandra Billette (Hair/Make-up), and Amanda Germaine & Minda Nyquist (Choreographers). A special thanks to Producer Larry Hains, who is usually in the background, but is responsible for every screw, paint brush, and actor.
This is also a very special production, for Director Michelle Denise Perez has returned to the boards, once again, creating musical theatre magic!
Dirty Rotten Scroundrels will tickle you, but never rob you, and entertain you, but never bore you. Give Lawrence and Freddy a chance for theyíll give more than take and youíre guaranteed your wallets, rings, necklaces, and purses will find themselves safely at home, with a bushel full of fun memories to boot.