Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Dames At Sea
Dames At Sea presents the familiar story of a young girl who travels to the city to make it big in show business. In this version, it is the 1930s and the young girl's name is Ruby. Ruby has only just arrived in New York when she gets cast in a Broadway show. This is a big morning for Ruby because she also finds her true love in the form of a handsome young sailor from her hometown. His name is Dick and he is not just a sailor. Dick is a songwriter and is also trying to break into show business. With a new job and a handsome boyfriend in tow, it would seem that life is perfect for Ruby. However, all does not run smoothly for our youthful heroine, as she has to defend against the ire of the haughty star of the show and deal with a number of theatrical mishaps.
The book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller are definitely tongue-in-cheek. The music by Jim Wise is engaging and fun. Ilona Kessell's choreography captures the spirit of the piece perfectly and director Dallett Norris brings it all together in a package so lively that audience members will be tapping their feet and bouncing in their chairs.
The cast of Dames At Sea seems to have limitless energy. Meghan Touey, most recently seen in Bat Boy: The Musical at Studio Theatre, is very good as Ruby. Her 1930s coif and kewpie doll voice completely define the character and her dance skills are outstanding. Sol Baird, who plays Ruby's boyfriend Dick, is wonderfully naïve and he also proves to be a skilled singer and dancer.
As Ruby's good friend Joan, Sherri L. Edelen once again proves that the Washington area is very fortunate to count her among its local actors. The Helen Hayes Award winner is charming as the worldly showgirl and belts with the best of them. As her boyfriend Lucky, Brad Bradley is a joy to watch. He performs with a glint in his eye and a slightly devilish grin that makes one feel torn between wanting to take him home to meet mom and checking to make sure your pocket hasn't been picked.
Rounding out the cast are Deborah Tranelli as the Broadway diva Mona Kent and Jack Kyrieleison as Hennesey and The Captain. Ms. Tranelli plays the temperamental actress with gusto and Mr. Kyrieleison fits into each character he portrays incredibly well. Mr. Kyrieleison's performance has a 1930s sensibility and is reminiscent of those wonderful character actors that were seen so frequently in the old black and white movies of that time.
The scenic design by James Fouchard has an art deco flavor that fits the time period. As a whole, the set is a bit campy but appropriate for the show. Additionally, Jonathan Blandin enhances the scene with his expert lighting design. The costumes by Dean Brown are a vibrant and fun way to complete the picture.
Dames At Sea is a lighthearted piece that is sure to put a smile on anyone's face. Follow the fleet to Olney Theatre Center and be prepared for pure entertainment. Dames At Sea runs through March 30th.
The Olney Theatre Center
Cast List (in order of appearance)
Mona Kent: Deborah Tranelli