By Lynn Geyer
The Seven Deadly Sins, The Musical is a pleasant surprise. One doesn’t usually link these harbingers of evil with a clever tune, the June Taylor dancers and a glib-talking game show host dressed in a set of tails with a glittering blouse.
Pierce College Theatre’s Fred Metzger did an Orson Welles in this production; he wrote the book and music, directed it, did the music direction and designed the set and lights.
This is quite a task for any one person. However, with a good cast, help from choreographer Amity Howell-Sloboda and costume designer Joanne Kirley, Metzger pulled it off.
Our hero Bob is an Everyman who is selected by a game show producer to save all the people in the world — or at least the audience — from going to Hell. This task for Bob could prove to be insurmountable if it weren’t for his good heart and strong will.
The Announcer explains to Bob that in order for him (and us) to go to Heaven, he must reject the Seven Deadly Sins. That is Gluttony, Wrath, Envy, Pride, Sloth, Greed and Lust.
When Bob screws up on one of them, he is offered help in the form of an old high school friend, Mary, who it turns out has always had a crush on Bob and is willing to go the nether regions in his place.
In the lively first act, Bob wins! The audience can go for its 10-minute break with a clear conscience — until the Announcer drops the other cloven-hoof. In the second act, Bob must defeat the New Seven Deadly Sins: Pollution, Clone, Poverty, Human Experimentation, Excessive Wealth, Drugs and Social Injustice.
Will Bob win his way to Heaven? Will he rescue Mary (and all of us) from the depths of damnation? Will we all live (or die) happily ever after?
I feel a cliff-hanger coming on!
Metzger has cast the show from Pierce students and faculty, most of whom prove to be rather talented and one of the director’s better casts.
Corban Sonnenam plays Bob and Brittany Crabtree is Mary. Both are fledgling thespians who show a workable talent which promises to grow as they do. Crabtree has rather a good singing voice and Sonnenam’s is passable, especially in this role.
Most of the “Sins” have duel roles, old and new. Michael Lee is Gluttony, Pollution and Poverty 3; Jaquie Leon is Wrath, Poverty 1 and a Clone; Angelia Royal is Envy and Excessive Wealth; Jemima McGee is Pride, Drugs and half of the Human Experimentation — Vicky Palmer is the other half; Chelsy Harris is Sloth, the other Clone and Poverty 4; Demetrick Louis is Greed and Poverty 2; Christina Brewer is Lust and The Announcer. All the above also comprise the Deadly Sin Singers.
The whole gang of “Sins” do good work both with acting and singing. There are a couple of stand-out performances. Royal is a very desirable Envy. Louis is a hoot as Greed in Elvis garb; he sounds like a cross between Eddy “Rochester” Anderson and Louis Armstrong.
The strongest member of the cast is Brewer as The Announcer. She started off a bit too fast in speech, but slowed it down some as the show progressed and she captures the essence of the game show host glibness. Brewer also has one of the better singing voices in the production.
Finally, there are the Deadly Sin Dancers. They are Dennis Esmeralda, Stephen Kimachia, Nucy Onuuha-James, Danie Woo, Sunjoy Hendricks, Deacostia Law and Gioia Peron. These light-of-foot seven glide about the stage to accompany the Sins’ songs putting their words into action.
They are all quite agile and have good moves. Law is a petite charmer. Esmeralda’s dancing prowess stands out; he is very strong in Wrath’s street fight segment.
Howell-Sloboda’s chorography gives the production just the right amount of eye-candy to make it well rounded. She takes her performers from Classic Ballet through Modern and gives us a terrific street fight scene. Kirley’s costumes are imaginative. They each exemplify the character of the Sin perfectly.
Metzger’s set is a good reproduction of a gaudy TV game show resplendent with a Hollywood Bowl arch and chrome and brass fittings.
Although some of Metzger’s lyrics are repetitive — the choruses are sung too many times — the verses are catchy and many are memorable; all the tunes are quite good.
The one somewhat annoying thing about the songs is that the lead time between the music’s start and the singer’s words is just too long. The actors seem embarrassed at making the audience wait the eight to 12 bars before they can start to sing; this needs to be tightened up.
Seven Deadly Sins, The Musical continues at Pierce College in their new theatre Studio 320 in the Cascade Building on the Fort Steilacoom campus at 9401 Farwest Drive in Lakewood November 14, 20 and 21. For more information or to make reservations, call the box office at (253) 964-6710.
Come see the world premier of Fred Metzger’s new play, Seven Deadly Sins, The Musical! It would be a sin to miss it.