In Tacoma Little Theatre’s one hundredth year they celebrated by producing plays from various productions since TLT’s beginning. Laura was picked because there were very few mysteries over the years, and Laura was a very successful film noir feature in 1944.
Lt. Detective Mark McPherson (Rodman Bolek) needs to solve the murder of the captivating advertising executive, Laura Hunt. Was it the worldly newspaper columnist Waldo Lydecker, her temperamental fiancé, Shelby Carpenter, the loyal housekeeper Bessie Clary, building manager Mrs. Dorgan, or Mrs. Dorgan’s son Danny Dorgan and why was he wearing bowling shoes?
I felt like the “The Captain” in the film Mr. Roberts played by James Cagney. When someone throws his potted palm tree overboard, “Whoooooo did it? Whooooooooooooooooo did it?”
Or was she even dead? I got lost in the dialog.
The two major suspects are Waldo Lydecker (Left: Ben Stahl) and Shelby Carpenter (Right: Randon Welch). Friends and especially boy friends must be are hard to come by in film noir. Stahl got his BA in Theatre Arts from up north (Bellingham). He traveled around and finally settled in Tacoma. He expects to act more, direct, and write. I look forward to his efforts. He made the audience laugh (purposefully). Welch received his degree down south. This is his second show at TLT since leaving Hollywood.
Two lower echelon suspects were mother and son: Danny Dorgan (Left: Joel Thomas) and Mrs. Dorgan (Right: Robin McGee). Danny dresses like Carmine “The Big Ragu” Ragusa in Laverne & Shirley from the seventies, parodying the fifties, and now appearing in the forties. Joel appeared in two productions while attending Pacific Lutheran University. PLU has a very nice theatre arts program. Robin has appeared in three community productions. Most interestingly, she was a front woman for a blues band. Danny plays two records during the play and snaps his fingers to the beat: Benny Goodman and Jelly Roll Morton. Unfortunately I couldn’t really hear the music. Perhaps, Mrs. Dorgan could have augmented the record player. Actually, Robin was my favorite actor in the production. She didn’t have much to say, but her body language let you know she meant it.
In the end Detective McPherson and Laura-not Laura could be on their way as a twosome. Bolek has his BA in Theatre from Trinity University. He was in one of my favorite TLT productions, Picasso at the Lapin Agile. I look forward to seeing him in other local productions. Laura-not Laura (and only identified as The Girl) was played by Victoria Ashley. She has her B.F.A. from Southern Mississippi. Previously at TLT she appeared in Bell, Book, and Candle.
As you can see Tacoma Little Theatre is blessed with acting talent from all across the USA. Our home grown, local talent is not too shabby, either.
The set and scenic work once again was fantastic. The team of Jen York and Blake R. York design and build their sets. Last week I wrote about their work at Lakewood Playhouse. “The husband/wife team of Jennifer York (Director) and Blake R. York (Scenic Designer) gave us a very funny evening.” Michele Graves made some lovely costumes, most notably The Girl’s second act dress, the housekeeper Bessi Clary’s dress and Detective McPhereson’s suit. What a wonderful and theatrical community we live in.
Director Randy Clark (TLT Board member) and his wife Aya Hashiguchi own and manage Dukesbay Productions at the Merlino Arts Center. I was disappointed that I missed their last production Agnes of God. Randy has been acting and directing in the South Sound area for over forty years. What a great talent.
Laura runs through the 12th of May – get your tickets at: tix4.centerstageticketing.com/sites/tacomalittletheatre/showdates.php?s_id=237