note: entire contents copyright 2011 by Cindy Sue
What’s a Don to do? With one daughter with a “Marilyn” complex who wants to sing in musicals, one daughter who is in love with the head of a rival gang, one son who only wants to write poetry and another who is pitching the idea of telephone solicitations. In addition, his wife is tired of wearing black and wants to go to Disney World. The Don takes charge. He arranges a marriage for his older daughter and nixes all the other ideas. Then Don is murdered. Who done it?
“Death of a Don” a comedic murder mystery playing at the Newport Playhouse until May 6th is a mad romp with the Giovani family that will keep you entertained from start to finish. Sandy Cerel directs this stellar cast with a light touch and a penchant for excellent comic timing. Stage Manager Jonathan Keene keeps the show running smoothly throughout. During one blackout in particular the audience joyfully claps along to the music. The stage is nicely decorated and has a secret feature that is revealed during the performance.
Tony Annicone as “Don” is wonderful to watch. He and wife Corrita played by accomplished comedienne Sandra Nicastro have some hilarious bits throughout the show. It’s fun to see these two experienced actors play off one another. After the death of Don, Sandra excels as the Mob Mama who puts the pieces together to solve the crime. Kevin Flynn makes his debut on the Newport Playhouse stage as “Baby.” He has been featured in several cabarets before this. All I will give away is that his first entrance brings the house down. Andrew Katzman is another new face and portrays younger son Roberto. Two of his funniest moments are the reading of the birthday poem he has spent all night writing for his father and his reaction to his father’s death. The role of Valaria (the girlfried) was played by Camille Terilli the night I reviewed the show. Jane McCarron shares the role with her. This classic “ditzy broad” has many sight gags and humorous moments and Camille handles them all beautifully. Older son Gino was played by Ed Carusi—he is the mobster’s mobster, only with a college degree and a business plan. Fred Davison shares this role with Ed. Ed plays the role as suitably menacing but…not the brightest bulb in the family. His “encounter” with handcuffs in the second act was hysterical.
Jessica Grossman returns to the stage as Connie, the older daughter who yearns to be in charge of the organization. She was last seen on stage as Barbara in “Social Security”. Jessica deftly handles the role as she moves from passion to anger to authority with ease. Love interest Rocky “Studs” Malone is played by Kevin Killavey. He gives his all in the part and is handsome to boot! Neophyte Stephen Peterson is remarkable in appearance, as well as acting skill in the part of one-eyed Joe Provolone.
For a complete evening of delicious dining and excellent entertainment whether on the main stage or the cabaret stage, let me make you an offer you shouldn’t refuse….get to the Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant to see “Death of a Don” before it closes on May 6th. There is plenty of free parking and the playhouse is handicap accessible.