The ensemble cast of Lucky Stiff, Lakewood Playhouse’s current production include (from far left) Lucas Blum, Kae Blum, Eliot Weiner, George McClure, Leischen Moore, Carol Richmond and (in red) Heather Malroy. (Photo by Dean Lapin).
By Lynn Geyer
The current production at the Lakewood Playhouse is “Lucky Stiff,” written by the same pair who gave us the magical “Seussical,” Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. However, unlike “Seussical,” I can almost promise you won’t leave the theatre humming this show’s songs.
This time, the talented duo gives us a romp akin to the film “Weekend at Bernie’s,” mixed with an operatic flavor. That is, the songs really tell us most of the story of what’s going on in this delightful musical. Don’t misunderstand, this is not high-brow ‚Äî in fact, we’re talking real comical farce here.
The story revolves around Harry, a young, lonely man who is told he is in line to inherit six million dollars from his uncle but only if he follows the deceased’s last request; if not, all goes to a home for orphaned dogs.
Sounds reasonable ‚Äî until our hero finds out the request: the deceased Uncle Anthony wants to be taken in his wheelchair to Monte Carlo for a week’s vacation! From there the hilarity moves to insanity, which includes Harry meeting Annabel, the director of the home for dogs and a bevy of ensemble characters not to mention Rita, the woman who was the cause of Uncle Anthony’s demise and her optometrist brother Vinnie.
This comedy of much ado about errors is played out in the round on a demanding set resembling a gambling casino with giant playing cards for doors and to cover the accompanist in the loft above the stage. The floor is like a poker table and the various dice cubes strewn about the set double as chairs.
The very talented Micheal O’Hara is the director of this so funny show; he designed the set as well. Quite a job!
Debra Leach is the musical director, Heather Malroy is the choreographer and Frances Rankos did the wonderful costumes. Scott Brown designed the lights, including a marvelous nightmare sequence. Elizabeth Richmond is Stage Manager, ably assisted by Beth Meberg and Ginny McClure.
The cast of this hilarious hodgepodge is comprised of some of the finest vocalists in the Puget Sound area.
Vince Wingerter is Harry, our hero, and Leischen Moore is Annabel. These two truly make beautiful music together. Brother and sister, Rita and Vinnie are played by Kae Blum and her real-life husband, Lucas Blum. They are wonderfully funny as their klutzy characters but their singing is for real!
Kody Bringman, Heather Malroy, Sharry O’Hare, Carol Richmond, Chris Serface and Eliot Weiner makeup the balance of the cast by playing half a dozen parts each! They are all terrific, traipsing about the stage in different costumes and persona at the drop of a laugh.
Malroy stands out as a sexy chanteuse. Weiner is extra-special as Luigi. Serface is great as the solicitor who starts the whole caper, the casino’s emcee/lounge singer and a nun, to mention just a few.
Oh, yes, I almost forgot! George McClure plays the body of Uncle Tony! He seems to lack emotion and his singing voice is awfully faint, but remember, he’s been dead at least a couple of weeks! McClure does an amazing job of doing absolutely nothing!
“Lucky Stiff” continues at the Lakewood Playhouse in the northeast section of the Lakewood Towne Center, behind the Pierce Transit Depot through October 5 Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 and Sunday matinees at 2 with a special Pay-What-You-Can night set for Thursday, September 11.
For more reservations or more information, call (253) 588-0042 or go online to www.lakewoodplayhouse.com. The Playhouse is also celebrating the installation of its new air conditioning and heating system.
“Lucky Stiff” is probably the best musical you’ve never heard of with the best music and lyrics you’ll forget almost immediately after leaving the theatre. However, it’s a stunning production you’ll remember always!