Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

The Little Dog Laughed

Also see Kevin's preview of The Sorrows of Young Werther

The GableStage at the Biltmore Hotel presents the Southeastern premiere of Douglas Carter Beane's Tony-nominated play The Little Dog Laughed. This comic, fast-paced tale of securing stardom on screen, where coming out of the closet for an actor can still be career suicide, had New York audiences in stitches last season. The production at the GableStage is smart and funny from start to finish.

It would seem true that to film audiences, producers seem overly concerned that their male/female stars be straight, as is evidenced by the Bette Middler joke: "Did you hear they have a cure for homosexuality now? Yep, it's called a SAG (Screen Actors' Guild) card!" Mitchell is an actor who has made his Hollywood film career as "the guy next door." Though he has kept his liaisons with men under wraps until now, a newfound interest in a younger man named Alex seems to be more than casual. Though Alex meets Mitchell as an escort he has hired, his interest in Mitchell seems sincere.

Mitchell's high-powered agent Diane is in the midst of finagling a movie deal for Mitchell as his "breakthrough" role playing a gay man in a new film. Coming out of the closet would ruin the impact of the role, damage his career, and therefore Diane's success as well. There's also Alex's ex-girlfriend and room-mate Ellen to consider. How will Diane, whose job it is to make everyone happy including herself, create a fairy tale ending to all of this?

Pilar Uribe as Diane is quick and funny and dry. One would fear to be on the other end of a business dealing with her. She also looks smashing in every designer outfit provided by costumer Ellis Tillman. Uribe does drive the shrewish quality of the character a bit too much, however, and needs to take the pitch of her voice down a little so we don't feel she is yelling at us. Valerie Stanford as Ellen is quirky and simple. Her character is so amusingly different from Ellen, we wish for more interaction between them.

Todd Allen Durkin is good as Mitchell. The writing does not linger over great conflict of emotion for him in his sexuality, making him more pragmatic instead. He makes it believable that it is possible for a middle-aged man to have for the first time found emotional contact with another man, because he hasn't ever dealt with it. He also is without gay stereotypical behavior, so we believe he'd have no problem being straight on screen. Justin Sims is surprisingly strong as Alex. Portraying a seemingly straight young man dealing with his sexuality, while having a relationship with another man, and still coming off very straight is no easy task. He does it all while remaining likable.

Playwright Douglas Carter Beane is also the author of the plays As Bees In Honey Drown, Advice From A Caterpillar, White Lies, Devil May Care, The Country Club and Old Money. In addition to his Tony nomination for The Little Dog Laughed, he has been the recipient of an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk Best Play Nomination and the LA Times critics' Choice and Dramalogue Awards. Non-theatregoers may recognize his writing for film work in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.

The GableStage, formerly known as the Florida Shakespeare Theatre, is a professional theatre presenting classic and contemporary theatre year round. They are members of the Theatre League of South Florida, the Florida Cultural Alliance, the Theatre Communications Group, and the Dade Cultural Alliance. The GableStage hires local and non-local Equity and non-union actors and actresses, and is involved with the educational community in promoting educational theatre programs.

The Little Dog Laughed appeared at The GableStage from December 29, 2007 - February 3, 2008. The GableStage is located in the eastern section of the Biltmore Hotel, at 1200 Anastasia Avenue, in Coral Gables, FL. Valet parking is available, or free parking is available in the Biltmore parking area west of the hotel. For tickets and information you may reach them at 305-445-1119 or on line at

Diane: Pilar Uribe*
Mitchell: Todd Allen Durkin*
Alex: Justin Sims
Ellen: Valerie Stanford*

Director: Joseph Adler
Scenic Design: Lyle Baskin
Lighting Design: Jeff Quinn
Sound Design: Matt Corey
Costume Design: Ellis Tillman
Stage Manager
Michael John Carroll*

*Indicates a member of Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere

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