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Southern Florida by John Lariviere


Real Men Sing Show Tunes ... and play with puppets


Nick Santa Maria, Stephen G. Anthony and Paul Louis
Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre presents the world premiere musical Real Men Sing Show Tunes ... and play with puppets with book, music and lyrics by Paul Louis and Nick Santa Maria.

This three-man musical revue pays homage to all things male. Unlike popular female equivalents like Menopause the Musical, the show features all original melodies and lyrics. The light-hearted musical romp makes clever use of puppetry to fill out the cast of characters. As in Avenue Q, the puppets are not always G-rated, so be prepared of a bit of adult humor. With that said, it is somewhat of a relief that the content of the storyline steers away from some cliché topics like erectile dysfunction and Viagra.

The premise of the story is when one of our male characters visits a therapist in search of a panacea for his male angst. The puppet-wielding therapist gives him a self-help book outlining 12 steps toward reaching better male emotional health and fulfillment. Each of the 12 points is brought to life in moments of song. Along the way some amusing stereotypes are brought to life in a way that may ring true for many.

There are the "how-tos" of men's public bathroom behavior ("Look Straight Ahead"), conversing with the guys ("Guy Talk"), and wooing a woman ("Listen"). The most humorous moments are part of the recurring "Men Are Just Happier People," in which a choir-robe clad cast member stands at a bema, while reading observations from "The Book of More Men" (a Broadway reference no one could miss). The biggest laughs in the show stem from the song "That's My Boy," in which a father reminiscently examines the contents of his grown son's toy box, with some serious surprises inside.

Though there were a couple of technical issues on the night attended (a curtain pinned beneath a set piece loudly ripped as it was opened, and a doorway was placed backwards on stage), the actors seemed to handle it rather smoothly. They all have an awareness of the audience that allows them to gear reaction to bits, and hold for laughs (or milk them) without breaking pacing. Though all three men are pretty evenly matched, Nick Santa Maria is the most polished with his comic timing and agile facial expressions. In the end the show comes to a pleasant conclusion to its 12 step journey with the song "The Last Step." Despite the opening and closing numbers being a bit lacking in punch and memorability, Real Men Sing Show Tunes ... and play with puppets is enjoyable form start to finish; and with all the musical revues written for women, it seems one for men is overdue

Real Men Sing Show Tunes ... and play with puppets will be appearing through August 12, 2012, 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:
Stephen G. Anthony*
Paul Louis*
Nick Santa Maria*

Crew:
Director: David Arisco
Musical Director: Manny Schvartzman
Scenic Design: Gene Seyffer
Lighting Design: Patrick Tennent
Sound Design: Alexander Herrin
Costume Design: Ellis Tillman
Puppet Design: Paul Louis
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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