Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay


Dames at Sea
42nd Street Moon
Review by Patrick Thomas | Season Schedule

Also see Jeanie's reviews of Broadway Holiday Spectacular, Anne of Green Gables and Every Brilliant Thing


Lauren Meyer (center) with Chaz Feuerstine, Jeffrey
Scott Parsons, Melissa WolfKlain, and Keith Pinto

Photo by Ben Krantz Studio
Dames at Sea, currently running at the Gateway Theatre in a production by 42nd Street Moon, was written in 1966 and started life as a short sketch parodying musicals of the 1920s and '30s where a new girl comes to New York seeking stardom on Broadway, and—happily but implausibly—finds it. When an 18-year-old Bernadette Peters was cast in the role of Ruby, the star-struck ingénue, the show found some modest success Off-Broadway, and even made it to the Great White Way for a brief run in 2015 at the Helen Hayes Theatre.

Perhaps in 1966, the satire in Dames at Sea had more bite, it being a somewhat more innocent time. But in 2018, the humor lacks the edge it needs to succeed with an audience accustomed to more contemporary comedy. At least this audience.

Which is sad, because there are some excellent performers singing and dancing their hearts out on a lovely, boldly graphic set by Brian Watson. Lauren Meyer's Ruby is suitably naïve and hopeful, Ashley Cowl's turn as the super diva Mona Kent is appropriately self-absorbed, and Melissa WolfKlain does lovely work as Joan, the jaded-but-not-defeated chorus girl. The men (Chaz Feuerstine, Jeffery Scott Parsons, and Keith Pinto) do a fine supporting job, with strong voices that blend well as a chorus.

But as skilled and committed as the cast is, they can't overcome the shortcomings of the book and lyrics. Yes, the show is supposed to be overly earnest, even ridiculous, but it simply fails to draw a sharp enough contrast to the genre it is parodying.

A noble attempt that is sadly lost at sea.

Dames at Sea, through December 16, 2018, at the Gateway Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco CA. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:00pm, Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 6:00pm, with matinees Sundays at 3:00pm, and a Saturday matinee December 8 at 1:00pm. Tickets are $30 - $75, available at 42ndStreetMoon.org, or by calling 415-255-8207, Tuesdays - Fridays 11:00am to 5:00pm.


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