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Southern Florida by John Lariviere


See Jane Run!

Also see John's review of Masked

See Jane Run
Irene Adjan, Maribeth Graham and Jeni Hacker
Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre presents the world premiere of See Jane Run!. This sassy new musical is co-written by local award-winning actress Maribeth Graham and noted musical theatre composer Dana P. Rowe. The previous work of Dana P. Rowe includes Zombie Prom, The Fix and the stage adaptation of John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick. Rowe and lyricist John Dempsey received Olivier Award nominations for their work on both The Fix and The Witches of Eastwick. Rowe also composed the score for the musical The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde which was a featured production at the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival.

See Jane Run takes a bold look at the 21st century woman through a series of revealing songs and scenes. Not your mother's Dick and Jane, our contemporary Jane is everywoman as she tries to decide what makes her run, whom she's running from, and where she's running to. The musical wisely sidesteps all of the women's issues tackled by shows such as Menopause the Musical and Motherhood the Musical, bringing audiences something new and fresh. Little time is spent lamenting age, menopause, divorce, discrimination, etc.—it is simply a look at the journey of mature women as just people.

An entertaining pre-show detail features a slide show of pictures of famous American Janes, from the historic Calamity Jane to the buxom Jayne Mansfield to the fictional Jane Banks from Mary Poppins. The set design for this production is uncomplicated in design, but not without complications in execution. On the night attended there were a few problems with turntables not rotating correctly, and a set piece caught exiting through a center stage pair of doors causing a door to spring back on the actress trying to free it. A keener eye to detail should have rendered a set as compelling and sleek and as our Jane deserves.

Some of the songs and scenes are better written than others. A few songs, such as "That's Why I Can't Call You" and "It All Comes Down" (rivetingly sung by Jeni Hacker), linger long after the last note is played. The opening piece, "Periodically," is regrettably tedious, however, and some of the lyrics in other songs sound like callow, greeting card sentiments. A brief scene entitled "I drink" stands nicely on its own, while others need a back-story or a bit more character explanation such as the bag lady scene "Ladylike Me." There are some recurring scenes—various women writing letters to other women, one woman on a series of dates stretching over several years, and all three women delivering one liners to an unseen listener—that are welcome components that help smooth transitions. The musical as a whole needs some work as it is currently a bit too hit and miss.

The three actresses—Maribeth Graham, Irene Adjan and Jeni Hacker—are well teamed. Graham is a quirky, bubbly comedienne with an infectious grin that is hard not to return. Adjan provides a Jane that is more dry in her humor and practical in her nature. Hacker brings heart and vulnerability to her Jane. Undeniable, they have a nice sound and blend on group numbers, and balance each other as singers as well as actresses throughout the show. This "chick flick" show may not be for everyone, but provides a few chuckles along the way, and features a talented cast accompanied by a live three-piece band led by composer Dana Rowe on keyboards.

See Jane Run! will be appearing through August 14th at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables. Actors' Playhouse is the nonprofit resident theatre company and managing agent of the historic Miracle Theatre on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. Actors' Playhouse, which has brought home 66 regional Carbonell Awards for artistic excellence, is a Florida Presenting Cultural Organization and one of 22 major cultural institutions in Miami-Dade County. In addition to its Mainstage season, Actors' Playhouse offers a year-round season of Musical Theatre for Young Audiences, a National Children's Theatre Festival, a Theatre Conservatory and Summer Camp Program, as well as educational arts outreach programs for underserved youth, and has initiated a "Young Talent Big Dreams" contest for children in partnership with The Children's Trust. Actors' Playhouse is located at 280 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Florida. Performances are usually Wednesday - Saturday at 8:00 PM, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM. Information and tickets may be obtained by contacting the theater at their box office at 305-444-9293, or online at www.actorsplayhouse.org .

Cast:
Woman #1: Maribeth Graham*
Woman #2: Irene Adjan*
Woman #3: Jeni Hacker*

Crew:
Director: David Arisco
Musical Director: Dana P. Rowe
Scenic Design: Gene Seyffer
Lighting Design: Patrick Tennent
Sound Design: Alexander Herrin
Costume Design: Ellis Tillman
Stage Manager: Carl Waisanen*

*Designates a member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


Photo: Alberto Romeu


See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere



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