The opening show of Gamm Theatre's 26th season is David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross". Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama exposes a dog-eat-dog world in which small-time real-estate brokers vie for the hot leads at a Chicago firm selling shoddy properties. With money, egos and jobs on the line, the cut-throat salesmen will stop at nothing to get their fair share of the American Dream. This gritty story of shifting values in the male-dominated workplace opened on Broadway on March 25, 1984 and was revived on Broadway in 2005. The play shows parts of two days in the lives of four desperate Chicago real estate agents prepared to engage in any number of unethical, illegal acts from lies and flattery to intimidation, and burglary to sell undesirable real estate to unwilling prospective buyers. The play draws partly on Mamet's experiences of life in a Chicago real estate office where he worked briefly in the late 1960's. The title of the play comes from the names of two of the developments being peddled by the salesmen, Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms. Fred Sullivan masterfully directs this show, infusing his cast with his insight into these characters, defining each one's different personality and giving them their moment to shine in their roles.
Fred keeps the show fast paced making it move seamlessly from scene to scene which wins them a well deserved standing ovation at the close of the show. Patrick Lynch designs a unit set for a Chinese restaurant in the first act and the office for the second. The men's suits are by Marilyn Salvatore.Sam Babbitt gives a tour de force performance as the down on his luck veteran salesman Shelly "The Machine" Levene who tries to convince the new office manager John Williamson to give him the A+ leads. Sam delivers a heartfelt performance in this role. The character talks of past events, citing the years they took place. The character has a triumphant entrance in Act 2, running rough shod over the others and Sam wins many laughs in this scene. A clever twist takes place near the end of the show where the audience finds out who committed the burglary. Tony Estrella sparkles as Ricky Roma and delivers a powerful performance. He delivers a powerhouse monologue as the charming character in Act 1. He plays on his clients weakness to obtain his goals. His dialogue in the second act crackles with electricity whether he is yelling at Williamson and the detective, trying to convince Lingk to stay with his investment and listening to Shelly's sales talk. Marc Dante Mancini plays the office manager whose butt they kiss to get the leads on sales and he pits them against each other to increase the sales. He delivers the goods with this character who wheels and deals to win his way. Tom Gleadow plays Dave Moss, a big mouth salesman with big dreams and schemes. He puts down several nationalities in his ranting. Chuck Reifler plays George Aaronow, an aging salesman with low self-esteem who lacks confidence and hope. Tom and Chuck have a dynamic comic scene together in Act 1 where Dave describes a hypothetical situation making George agree with him on it. Tom receives the biggest laugh in the show in the second act where he screams fuck you over and over as well as giving them the finger as he storms out of the office after being questioned by the cop. Kelby Akin plays Lingk, Roma's client who is easily manipulated and breaks down in tears in the second act. He usually plays strong characters like Mercutio in last years "Romeo and Juliet" so this role is a change of pace for him, showing his versatility as an actor. Richard Forbes plays a cop in the second act who interrogates all the salesman. So for an expertly directed and acted show be sure to catch "Glengarry Glen Ross" at Gamm Theatre.