Book by Neil Simon
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Directed by Julie Gagne
Choreographed by Eric Yow
Musical Direction by Tim Haines
Starring Carly Skubick
Valencia College Theatre, Orlando FL
A working girl can’t ever get a break; not even on the Broadway stage. Charity Hope Valentine (Skubick) dances for money and has the worst taste in men. Her boyfriends rape her, rip her off, and rarely stick around for a second cigarette. But occasionally opportunity knocks; one night famous Italian film director Vittorio Vidal (Demi Castro) picks her up only to make her sleep in the closet when his regular girlfriend arrives unexpectedly. She gets good advice from fellow dancers Nickie (Taylor Duford) and Helena (Kisheera Victrum) but it’s no use. Even neurotic Oscar (Vincent LaVigna) can’t put up with her niceness and for a big, brassy musical, there’s a surprisingly down ending. It’s so downcast we don’t even get a blowout closing number.
Despite the down ending this is a story of endless hope in the face of bad odds. Ms. Skubick is not only bubbly and good looking; she’s an ace dancer and powerful voice. From the soft “You Should See yourself” to the stunning “If My Friends Could See Me Now” her vocal were amazing, and in duet with the nebbish Oscar their duet “I’m the Bravest Individual” cooked a powerful chemistry. Eric Yow’s choreography showcased what this cast can do; the wordless charm number “Rich Man’s Frug” was a long extended dance piece that got everyone on stage doing something or other including prizefighting, and it worked wonderfully. There was even a cool rotating stage with three faces; the backstage crew soundlessly reset each scene while the other face was in use. Here’s a show that uses every stagecraft trick successfully, seamlessly and never once giving you the idea “Oh, they’re just showing off.” And as to the ending, it’s a common complaint about this show and what I recommend as “I Love to Cry At Weddings” wraps up, close you eyes and put your fingers in your ears until the bows. Or watch it play out; how could Neil Simon be wrong?
For more information on Valencia College Theater please visit valenciacollege.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/schedule.cfm/”>”>valenciacollege.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/schedule.cfm/”> valenciacollege.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/schedule.cfm/