Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Based on a 1988 film written by Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning bearing the same name, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels begins whimsically with an overture that allows Danny Durr's choreography to shine as a slow smile glides across your face. While taking in the dancers and the live orchestra above the stage center, the stage transforms into a casino by the French Riviera that is frequented by the wealthy. Unfortunately, Damien Matherson's set design isn't quite opulent enough to match the clientele and the furniture is too sparse. Some of the furniture is also too drab and shabby for the rich people that use them.
It is also at the inception that the brief but noticeable sound problems emerge. When the ensemble thins out and the dialogue begins, Rushnay Henry's sound design is not as clear or as distinct as it should be. Microphones seem to go in and out, and it's hard to hear the conversations during the opening sequences. There are also some issues with projection. Vocals should easily fill the performance space at the new Lauderhill Performing Arts Center (LPAC), Stage Door Theatre's new home, but they don't. Thankfully, as the show continues, the sound problems improve.
Hobnobbing among the rich are con man Lawrence Jameson (Michael Cartwright) and his wingman and bodyguard of sorts, Andre Thibault (Michael Kreutz). As they discuss the women that Lawrence hoodwinks out of their money in the number "Give Them What They Want," we meet Muriel, a captivating member of his harem, played by Aaron Bower. Muriel thinks that Lawrence is a prince, when he's everything but. He's become so good at playing women that when he meets small-time con man Freddy Benson (Matt Kurzyniec) on the train, Freddy asks Lawrence to take him on as an apprentice. Freddy wants to live as lavishly as Lawrence does, but the tables are turned when Lawrence needs Freddy to help him out of a jam with Jolene Oakes (Laura Titus), a woman who demands Lawrence to marry her. Hijinks ensue when the playing field between Lawrence and Freddy evens out into a competition for Christine Colgate's (Sabrina Lynn Gore) affections and cash. Dubbed "The American Soap Queen," Christine is naïve and clumsy, and the dirty rotten scoundrels will stop at next to nothing to outdo one another. However, their shared conquest proves to be more challenging and wily than they expect.
The book for the 2004 musical is by Jeffrey Lane and the music and lyrics are by David Yazbeck. Lasting 2.5 hours with one intermission, this two-act show is well paced, well executed, and chock-full of a lot of humorous and outrageous moments that will keep you chuckling and shaking your head in disbelief. Under Clayton Phillips' direction, the set changes and the flurry of activity onstage run smoothly and quickly. Although lead actors Cartwright, Kurzyniec and Gore are given plenty of opportunity to display their comedic chops, the rest of the cast and ensemble are also highlighted to great effect. It never feels like anyone is in the background because the spotlight is constantly being rotated figuratively by Phillips and Durr and literally by Berlinda Duvet and Ranicka Walter. Showcasing the talents of every dancer and singer, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels appears to be an actor's dream while being a theatre patron's delight. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of great things to come for Stage Door at the LPAC.
Stage Door Theatre's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, through November 4, 2018, at Lauderhill Performing Arts Center, 3800 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill FL. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm and Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. For tickets and information please call 954-344-7765 or visit www.stagedoorfl.org.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Band: