Finally! A live theatre presentation. The last normal play review we wrote was March 12, 2020. Thank you to all the fans of live theatre and those who participate and make them happen.
Some of our grandchildren grew up attending the pantos (pantomimes) put on at CenterStage and we introduced our friends to the outstanding productions and wonderful sets along Dumas Bay in Federal Way, also.
The set was excellent thanks to scenic designer Burten Yuen, lighting designer Aaron Mohs-Hale, scenic artist Tori Dewar and the construction by Ted Gentry. Joining Peg and me was my cousin Lavinia Hart who taught directing and drama at Wayne State University in Detroit. We had told her about previous sets and how they prepared the stage for each play just right. This set was perfect for a trip back to the days of radio.
“The show centers around a group of people who we recognize in our own time as part of “the greatest generation.” They innovated, worked hard, and made many sacrifices, all during the global crisis of a World War. It seems easier than ever to identify with Clifton, William, Buzz, Sally, Cholly, Margie, Jackie, Judith, Fritz, and Toots (and not just because three of our cast members have served in the Armed Forces). They were simply trying to put on a good show in the midst of all – and we are too.” Deanna Martinez, Director of 1940’s Radio Christmas Carol
The costume designer, Renae Ragudo, was perfect in her selections. The costumes were dead on and contained and maintained the flavor of the 1940s. Sally, played by Jessie Selleck, looked perfect in her iconic “Rosie the Riveter” get up. Judith, played by Sonia Alexis, would have fit in any decade with her blouse and slacks, but her hairdo screamed WWII era. Cholly, played by Chap Wolff, was perfect in his white shirt and suspenders. Buzz, played by Tony L. Williams, in his gray cardigan, looked comfortable and apt.
The production was a mixture of shtick, singing, commercials . . . “LSMFT, Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco” and lots of humor. All that was missing was spit-takes, and they came so close . . . Erika Kern had a nice voice and came across nicely as Margie. Chap Wolff has a nice voice and used it well for a slight religious take. Fritz, played by Scott Mattsen, as a radio detective guest star, did a great fake ad lib when Scrooge wandered off the path.
As Clifton, the announcer and radio director of mayhem, Brad Cerenzia, did really well holding and centering the wild abandon of his crew, and delivering the sobering news about the war.
Deanna Martinez did a nice juggle of both directing and holding onto the edge required for this production for over nine months as deadlines shifted and changed via COVID restrictions. Addison Daniels was ideal at both playing the piano and leading the singers. Brad Cerenzia has entertained us before with the pantos, and did a fantastic job as Max in “The Producers” at Lakewood Playhouse. I think Peg and I saw that production three nights in a row. Dale Bowers did an excellent job in the role of William St. Clair playing the part of Scrooge as well as his parts in eight previous pantos. Jared McKell did really well with his shy Jackie and Tiny Tim. It was nice seeing Jessie Selleck out of her panto roles. Also, it was good to see Tony L. Williams outside of Lakewood Playhouse. He was just one of three who have performed at Lakewood Playhouse. We love seeing and recognizing different actors at different theatres. It’s what makes theatres fun from Olympia to North Seattle and beyond.
Buy your tickets here – centerstagetheatre.com/tickets-2/
The next production (August 27 – September 19) will be “The Importance of Being Earnest.”CenterStage has a grant from King County for video cameras to screen performances to those who are hesitant about visiting venues of groups of people. Thank you, King County
For updates on screening production visit here – centerstagetheatre.com/virtual-performances/