How to Marry a Divorced Man
Winter Park Playhouse
Book and Lyric by Bryan D. Leys
Music by Clare Cooper
Directed by Roy Alan
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Orchestration by Ned Wilkinson
Starring Christine Brandt and Zach Nadolski
Winter Park, FL
Lonely Layla Diamond (Brandt) wants a boyfriend, so she turns to her dotty mother (Lourelene Snedeker) whose stuck in a soap opera career so long she can’t tell reality from fiction. Mom’s advice: “Marry a divorced man.” Layla jumps right on that advice and picks up the impressively tall Bo (Nadolski). Bo is easy going and still dealing with his ex Glenda (Sonia Roman). Layla gets nosey, as people will, and she goes exploring on the punk side of town where she meets Glenda but lies about who she is. Layla tries to help Glenda by convincing the building landmarks guy Whitman (Todd Allen Long) that Joey Ramone threw up there one night and thus they shouldn’t demo her building. Then she volunteers to pick up Glenda’s horney teenage son Kevin (Brian Brammer) who immediately hits on her. Soon Layla’s woven a web of deceit even Miss Marple’s couldn’t unwind. Her relationship with Bo falls apart; and it looks like he might just be using Layla as temporary girlfriend of convenience.
Overall, the cast tackled this new script with energy and flair. Nadolski came across as nice but sleazy and by act two it’s clear he’s taking advantage of a lonely Layla. Brandt’s search in to Bo’s previous relation feels natural up until she starts hanging out with Roman’s Glenda. There’s reconnoitering the enemy, and then there’s treason. Mr. Long makes a fine bureaucrat even if his love scenes seem…process oriented. And the best acting and meanest character comes from Kevin; son Kevin (Brian Brammer). He’s 16 and horny enough to make out with mud, and he acts as an amplification of his father’s worst traits.
The cast is solid, the set suitably spare, and the music just rock and roll enough to not scare off a more Broadway oriented demographic. Will Bo go back to Glenda or stay with Layla? Will Kevin calm down or get through life on permanent double secret probation? Will Whitman find love among the file cabinets? All good questions, and perhaps subject to some tweaking as this promising new musical gets some final polish. But its brand new, fun and ready to make tracks. And it takes a good look where the punks ended up in their late middle age.