Someone Clipped the Wings of these Angels

It’s a story of the reel world and the real world.  Successful author, Stine, is trying to translate his hit novel into a screenplay while traversing the politics of Hollywood and attempting to save a marriage failing due to his philandering.  His creation and alter-ego, hard-boiled detective Stone, is trying to solve the mystery of a missing heiress while being re-edited into a shadow of his original self.  This is City of Angels by Larry Gelbart with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by David Zippel currently playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Gelbart’s script is actually a very bold experiment as it tries to tell two stories simultaneously.  I think Gelbart somewhat fails in this aspect as his fictional tale of Stone gets the bulk of the focus which makes the real world story of Stine feel like filler.  However, the mystery is quite interesting and is peppered with just the right amount of comedy when the characters rewind and redo scenes as Stine edits them.

Cy Coleman’s score is a good fit for the film noir story with a nice mix of standards, jazz, and blues.  With that being said, the musical is somewhat weakened by the fact that there is no real standout song.

Director Jeff Horger did a fairly good job with the direction of the piece.  I found the staging to be on target with smooth scene changes.  But I also thought his direction suffered a bit from poor pacing in Act I and a rather mixed bag of performances from his cast.

I give a big thumbs up to the ensemble players for always remaining in the thick of the action.  They always stayed involved with appropriate bits of business that added a nice bit of atmosphere to the show.  Special notice goes out to Patrick Kilcoyne who was quite amusing as the spiritual healer, Dr. Mandril and Aubrey Fleming who was a delightful surprise in the dual roles of the missing heiress, Mallory Kingsley, and as Avril Raines, an actress willing to do whatever it took to boost her role.

Isaac Reilly needed a little bit of time to get going, but once he did, his interpretation of Stone was right on the money.  Once he fixed his projection problem, Reilly’s Stone was the perfect hard-boiled detective with his cynicism, wit, and doggedness.  Reilly’s singing had a rather impressive range as he has a natural baritone speaking voice, but could go tenor with the notes when required.  Reilly especially impressed with “The Tennis Song” and his argument with his alter-ego, Stine, in “You’re Nothing Without Me”.

John E. Jones needs to take the energy he puts into his singing and transfer it to his acting.  I thought his portrayal of Stine was bland and colorless, but he finally showed some life at the very end of the play.  There’s a lot to Stine.  He’s a talented writer, but not built for Hollywood as he deals with the constant butchering of his screenplay by a hack producer/director.  He’s a bit of a repressed milquetoast who caves in easily, can’t seem to help himself from sleeping around, and created Stone as the man he wished he could be.  There’s definitely a lot of material for character work.  Jones’ singing made up for his acting as he’s got a good, strong tenor voice which was highlighted by “You’re Nothing Without Me”.

Steve Krambeck stole this show from the rest of the cast with a stunning performance as Buddy Fiddler and his fictional counterpart, Irwin S. Irving.  Krambeck’s energy was absolutely incredible and he was overflowing with a disgusting, slimy charm.  As Fiddler, Krambeck constantly alters Stine’s script reducing it from art to garbage.  He callously cheats on his wife, gleefully steals writing credit, and is pretty obsessed with exerting total control over his films.  Krambeck could also give most of this cast lessons in volume and projection as his vocal control was of excellent quality.

Samantha Quintana was superb in the dual roles of Donna & Oolie.  Ms Quintana brought all of the necessary ingredients to Oolie, the secretary to detective Stone.  She was brassy, a wisecracker, intelligent, capable, and loyal.  Ms Quintana also has a wonderful alto voice that shone in “What You Don’t Know About Women” and “You Can Always Count on Me”.

Angela Jenson-Frey did remarkable work in the challenging dual roles of Gabbi Stine and Bobbi Edwards.  Unlike the other characters whose fictional counterparts were fairly similar to their real selves, Ms Jenson-Frey’s two characters were the complete opposite of each other.  As Gabbi, Stine’s wife, Ms Jenson-Frey displayed great love and loyalty to Stine in spite of his infidelities.  As Bobbi Edwards, a lounge singer, Ms Jenson-Frey embodied Stine’s guilt at his cheating as she is the one who repeatedly cheats on Stone and readily takes advantage of his love when he covers up a criminal act of hers.  Ms Jenson-Frey has a beautiful alto capable of all styles of singing from a great blues performance in “With Every Breath I Take” and an amusing ripping apart of Stine’s so-called apology in “It Needs Work”.

Jodi Vaccaro  does a fine job in the dual roles of Alaura Kingsley/Carla Haywood.  As Kingsley, Ms Vaccaro was the mysterious client who hires Stone to find her stepdaughter and one never understands her true motives until the denouement.  But Ms Vaccaro has one of the great moments of the night as Carla, the actress wife of Buddy Fiddler.  After rattling off the denouement speech smooth as silk as Aluara, she gets to do it again as Carla playing Alaura and her overwrought, stilted line delivery had me grinning from ear to ear.

The evening’s production was plagued with a lot of issues.  With few exceptions, the cast was way too quiet, relying on the microphones to do their projecting instead of allowing it to augment their projection. This was especially noticeable in some of the songs where the orchestra was louder than the singers.  The pace was terribly slow and cues were incredibly pausey, though that noticeably improved in Act II.  Articulation needed a lot of work as some of the performers were nearly unintelligible.  The choreography seemed off.  The fights need to be smoother and quicker as they looked rehearsed.  There was also some weak acting in some of the minor roles.

Jim Boggess and his orchestra brought their A game once again.  Jim Othuse’s lighting was of tremendous quality as it weaved from the bright colors of the real world to the monochromatic colors of the reel world.  Georgiann Regan’s costumes were perfect period pieces.

I’ll be very interested in seeing how audiences take to this show as it isn’t your typical musical.  Not only are there no standout songs, but the songs only pop up once in a while making me wonder if this story wouldn’t have worked better as a straight play.  As it was, my thumb is squarely in the middle, but a clean-up of the problems I noted would push it up a bit.

City of Angels plays at the Omaha Community Playhouse until April 3.  Showtimes are Wed-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students on Wednesday and $40 for adults and $25 for students Thurs-Sun.  Contact the Box Office at 402-553-0800 or visit their website at www.omahaplayhouse.com.  This show has some rough language and adult situations and is not recommended for children. The Omaha Playhouse is located at 6915 Cass Street in Omaha, NE.

“City of Angels” Opens at OCP on March 4

City of Angels

Book by:  Larry Gelbart

Music by:  Cy Coleman

Lyrics by:  David Zippel

Director:  Jeff Horger

Dates:  March 4 – April 3, 2016
Location:  Omaha Community Playhouse (6915 Cass St) in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Summary
Sexy, sizzling and smart, City of Angels is a film noir-style musical that pays homage to glamorous 1940s Hollywood. Winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, this clever show has two plots running simultaneously (the real world and the “reel” world) as a man writes a screenplay that mirrors his own life. Intrigue, mystery and incredible music make City of Angels a must-see production.

Contains adult themes.

Curtain Times:
7:30pm – Wednesday – Saturday
2pm – Sunday

Ticket Prices:
Wednesday: $30 for adults, $20 for students
Thursday-Sunday: $40 for adults, $25 for students

Twilight (half-priced) tickets will be sold each performance day beginning at noon, cash or check only at the Box Office window. Seating is subject to availability. Mention you are a TAG member for a $10 discount; membership card must be shown when picking up your ticket.

Box Office:
(402) 553-0800

Cast

STINE – John Jones
STONE – Isaac Reilly
BUDDY FIDLER/IRWIN S. IRVING – Steve Krambeck
ALAURA/CARLA – Jodi Vaccaro
GABBY/BOBBI – Angela Jenson Frey
OOLIE/DONNA – Samantha Quintana
MUñOZ/PANCHO – Shomari Huggins
MALLORY/AVRIL – Aubrey Fleming
JIMMY POWERS – John Ryan
ANGEL CITY QUARTET – Melissa King, Kathy McKain, Joey Galda, Sean Johnson
DR. MANDRIL/BIG SIX – Patrick Kilcoyne
PETER/SONNY – Matt Karasek
LUTHER/WERNER – Kent Stork
MARGIE – Eastin Yates
PASCO – Michael Castillo
DEL DACOSTA – David Leitch
BOOTSIE – Elizabeth Liebermann
DIXIE – JaChaun Laravie
TRIXIE – Megan Ingram
JERRY – Noah Jeffrey
BERNADETTE – Emma Johnson

Auditions for “City of Angels” at Omaha Community Playhouse

CITY OF ANGELS
Production Dates: March 4-April 3, 2016
Performs in: Hawks Mainstage Theatre
Director: Jeff Horger
Synopsis: Sexy, sizzling and smart, City of Angels is a film noir-style musical that pays homage to glamorous 1940s Hollywood. Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, this clever show has two plots running simultaneously as a man writes a screen play that mirrors his life. Stunning staging separates the real world and “reel” world. Intrigue, mystery and incredible music make City of Angels a must-see production.

Audition Dates: Monday, December 14 at 7:00 PM and Tuesday, December 15 at 7:00 PM

Location:  Omaha Community Playhouse (6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE)

Production Notes: CITY OF ANGELS is two shows in one, with the interweaving of two plots, one dealing with the writing of a screenplay in the legendary Hollywood of the 1940’s; the other, the enactment of that screenplay. The movie scenes appear in shades of black and white, and the real life scenes are in color. Although some actors will play multiple roles in the typical fashion of a large ensemble musical, there are certain pairs of characters that are reflections of each other in the two worlds and the roles were specifically designed to be played by the same performer. This show contains mild language and stylized violence. Although there is no nudity in the show, there are several lustful characters who appear in various states of undress.

Please note:  Although there will be singers in the ensemble, none of these roles require singing and may be played by non-singing actors. However, everyone must sing at the auditions.

Character Descriptions:

The following roles are singing roles:

STINE (Mid 20s to mid 40s) A novelist who is hired to adapt his own book into a screenplay. It pays a lot more, but it might not be worth all his trouble. He is a bad husband who loves his wife.

STONE (Late 20s to mid 40s) The main character in the screenplay. An ex-cop and current private investigator with a rough past and an even rougher present. He attracts trouble…and
a constant barrage of beautiful and dangerous women.

ANGEL CITY FOUR (Ages 18+) The “greek chorus” of the show; a soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone who exist in both worlds and help navigate the audience through the stories. Lots of 4 part harmony. The most difficult singing in the show.

BUDDY FIDDLER/IRWIN S. IRVING (Mid 30s to mid 60s)
– A sleazy and perverted movie producer who you can’t help but almost like. / The sleazy and perverted movie producer Stine creates as a character for his screenplay.

GABBY/BOBBI (Mid 20s to mid 40s) Stine’s wife. She is a supportive spouse whose life would be easier if she didn’t love her husband. She forgives him for cheating more quickly than she
forgives him for sacrificing his artistic integrity. / Stone’s ex-lover. She blames herself for what happened between them. Regardless of who’s to blame, she has been suffering the
consequences ever since.

DONNA/OOLIE (early 20s to late 30s) Buddy’s intelligent but weary assistant. She puts up with Buddy’s antics because it’s a good job, but the less than glamorous side of Hollywood has taken a toll on her. She often finds herself operating in survival mode, making poor choices if they bring her pleasure in the moment. / Stone’s loyal assistant. It’s a thankless job, but until she finds Mr. Right, somebody’s gotta do it.

CARLA/ALAURA (Late 20s to mid 40s) Buddy’s combative and manipulative wife, who didn’t have time for acting classes because they slowed down her rise to Hollywood stardom. / A
femme fatale if ever there was one. She seduces men with just a look, and keeps secrets from everyone.

AVRIL/MALLORY (Late teens to late 20s) A starlet on the rise. She’ll do what and who it takes to make it onto the silver screen. / Alaura’s step-daughter who likes to cause trouble and makes
questionable life choices.

PANCHO/MUNOZ (Late 20s to mid 50s) A Hollywood actor famous for playing Latino roles (not necessarily well) who is good friends with Buddy Fiddler. / L.A. police officer and ex-partner of Stone. He has an axe to grind with Stone and would love nothing more than to see him executed, as long as it’s legal.

JIMMY POWERS (Early 20s to late 50s) Popular singer of the 1940s. He exists in the real world, although he is recording a few hits for the soundtrack of the film. Occasionally sings with the Angel City Four.

The following roles are ensemble roles:

PETER (Late teens to early 30s) Alaura’s step-son. There is something “off” about him.

WERNER/LUTHER (Early 40s to late 60s) An actor and friend of Buddy who will be playing Luther in the movie. / The rich husband of Alaura and father of Mallory and Peter who is confined to an iron lung for life support.

DR. MANDRIL (Early 20s to late 50s) Luther’s personal physician and astrologist.

ADDITIONAL ROLES – thugs, party guests, police officers, office workers, morgue workers, studio workers, sex workers

All members of the ensemble will play multiple roles. There are roles available for actors of any gender and race. There are 2 roles that could be played by either male or female actors ages 13+. All other roles will be played by actors ages 18+.

What to Bring:
• Please come prepared with 16 bars of music prepared to sing. An accompanist will be provided.

• There will be a dance audition, please come dressed ready to move. No boots, sandals, flip-flops, slick shoes, etc.

• You will be asked to fill out an audition form, please have all necessary contact information and personal schedules handy in order to complete the form.

• A recent photo if you have one available. Please note, photos will not be returned.

Treasure Island Auditions at Omaha Playhouse

Treasure Island Auditions at Omaha Community Playhouse

Auditions: Sept. 8 and 9 at 7 p.m at Omaha Playhouse (6915 Cass St in Omaha, NE)
Staged Reading for Alternative Programming Series
Reading date: Feb. 8, 2015
Director: Vince Carlson Brown

CASTING NOTE: Most of the actors will play multiple characters. Although some of the characters are gender specific, actors of all genders will be considered for most of the roles, including Jim Hawkins.

Characters

Jim Hawkins – A young boy who loves Shakespeare and yearns for adventure.

Mrs. Hawkins – Jim’s mother. She runs an inn with only the help of her son. She is a strong woman who doesn’t let her hard life get her down.

Dr. Livesy – A friend of Jim and Mrs. Hawkins. He is a gentleman, a scholar, protective of Jim, and distrustful of strangers.

Billy Bones – An old sailor who arrives at the Hawkins’ inn. He is past his prime, but still troublesome to have around.

Blind Pew – An evil pirate who brings death and destruction with him wherever he goes. He may be blind, but he is extremely dangerous.

Squire Trelawney – A good friend of Dr. Livesy who has an almost child-like glee. He is wealthy and like Jim, yearns for adventure.

Captain Smollet – A rough and ready sea captain. He is honest and trustworthy, but not afraid to pick up a sword when it becomes necessary.

Tom Morgan – Captain Smollet’s first mate. Young and naïve.

Long John Silver – A blood-thirsty cutthroat that takes a liking to Jim, prompting him to try and balance his lust for gold and his protective nature toward his new mentee. The original anti-hero.

Ben Gunn – An ex-pirate who has been marooned on an island for years. A little crazy, and ready for revenge.

Pirates – There are several other pirates who appear throughout the story. They include CAPTAIN FLINT, JOB O’BRIEN, BLACK DOG, JEMMY RATHBONE, JOSIAH BLAND, ANNE BONNY, JUSTICE DEATH, ISRAEL HANDS, CALICO JACK, GEORGE MERRY, EZEKIAL HAZARD, TOM MORGAN, CUT PURSE

*Please note, the rehearsal period and performance of Treasure Island conflicts with the rehearsal period for Caroline, or Change and City of Angels.