Dames At Sea is a tribute in style and sound to the musicals of the 1930s. It is the classic story of Broadway baby Ruby who, arriving in New York with her suitcase in one hand and her heart in the other, is filled with dreams of making it big on the Great White Way. She meets a savvy fellow hoofer named Joan and a pretentious and demanding star named Mona Kent. Of course, she also meets a dashing sailor named Dick and his spry shipmate Lucky, who is Joan's boyfriend.
Ruby is hired to be in a show with Joan and Mona, then finds the theatre is to be closed down that very night. But the show must go on! After Mona discovers an old flame is the captain of the ship on which Dick and Lucky are serving, they decide to put on the show on the ship. And when Mona the star is taken sick, Ruby takes her place - but not before we hear classic lines like "Kid, you're going out there a chorus girl, but you're coming back a STAR!". And come back a star she does, with Dick at her side, and a bridal bouquet in her hands.
This nostalgic send up, with book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, and music by Jim Wise, is still appealing when done with the right innocence. The script at times consists of a few sentences to string together musical numbers, and the characters are charmingly and intentionally cliche, but the musical features memorable numbers such as "Choo-Choo Honeymoon," "Raining In My Heart," and "Good Times Are Here To Stay." The original commercial production opened at the Bouwerie Lane Theatre and then moved to the Theatre de Lys (now the Lucille Lortel); it ran for 575 performance and helped launch Bernadette Peters (as Ruby) to stardom.
The Broward Stage Door's small stage seems cramped for the first act as the action takes place in front of a backdrop hiding act two's ship set. Once the ship is in place it is delightful to see. Amelia Morgan-Rothschild as Ruby is sweet, and Kate Danielowski as Joan is sassy. Claire Copeland is a spitfire as Mona Kent, and this production really belongs to her.
The men are vocally outweighed by the women. Chris Burns as Dick is heartfelt but wan. His voice is pleasant but very small. And Tyler Fish as Lucky has nice comedic ability and is quite the hoofer, but clearly is not a singer.
Audience favorites "The Beguine" and "Star Tar" are particularly well staged and danced. Fun melodies, energetic tap dancing, and fond memories of simpler times come to a close at the end of the show with all three of our couples in wedding attire singing "Let's Have A Simple Wedding."
Dames At Sea is scheduled to appear at the Broward Stage Door Theatre through February 5, 2006. The theater is located at 8036 W. Sample Rd in Coral Springs, Florida. The Stage Door Theatre is a not-for-profit professional theatre company hiring local and non-local nonunion actors and actresses. Some shows seen at the Broward Stage Door Theatres in conjunction with outside production companies are currently employing both nonunion and Equity members. Their two stages in Coral Springs as well as their 26th Street Theatre location in Ft. Lauderdale are open year round. For tickets and information, you may call 954-344-7765.