Theatre Mirror Reviews-"The Philadelphia Story"

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entire contents copyright 2015 by Tony Annicone

"The Philadelphia Story"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Players third show of their 106th season is "The Philadelphia Story" by Philip Barry.The story is set in the late 1930's and is of a coal fortune heiress Tracy Lord who must choose from amongst three suitors. This socialite's wedding plans are complicated by the simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband and an attractive journalist. This timeless classic was made into the 1940 Hollywood film starring Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. She also starred in the original Broadway production. Tracy is headstrong and spoiled. She is divorced by Dexter Haven and is engaged to a successful young snob. Tracy becomes interested in Mike Connor, the reporter. Misunderstandings ensue and the question is will Tracy get married? If so who is the lucky guy? Director Vince Petronio casts this huge show successfully and elicits some topnotch performances from his talented cast.

The unit set of living room and outdoor patio is by Dan Clement and the lovely 1930's costumes are by Robin Robb Zola. Lauren Odenwalder commands the stage in the role of Tracy. She captures the essence of this madcap woman and enlivens the comic proceedings all night long. The argument scene with her father is impressive and the last scene of the show is splendid, too. Alex Duckworth plays Dexter excellently. His lines drip with sarcasm and wit. Alex's energetic portrayal is marvelous to behold with terrific timing of his punch lines. Will Dexter win Tracy back or not? However Alex captured Lauren's heart in real life and they will be getting married this June. Andrew Stigler is very funny as Mike. He captures the frantic actions of a man unused to being in the company of a rich, spoiled heiress and her loony family. His comic reactions are priceless.

Michael Zola plays George Kitteridge, the successful snob, Tracy is engaged to wonderfully. Katie Dancause plays Liz Imbrie, the feisty photographer sent to accompany Mike to do a story on fashionable Philadelphia. Her wisecracking character is fantastic and Liz is secretly in love with Mike. Other madcap roles include Phoebe Brown as younger sister, Dinah who dances around in a tutu, mispronounces innuendo and reveals what Tracy did during her drunken stupor, Grant Willis is a hoot as woman chasing Uncle Willie who loves to pinch Liz's behind, Tom Lavalle shines as Sandy, Tracy's brother who blackmails the editor of a magazine and Sandy Remington is a hoot as the butler who is reminiscent of Lurch from the Addams family. Rounding out the cast is Nancy Winokoor and Mark Lima as Tracy's parents, Richard Nardella as the watchman and minister and Laine Wagner as Elsie, the maid.So for a trip back to the carefree days of the 1930's, be sure to catch "The Philadelphia Story" at the Players. To become a member of this theatre club, be sure to call Bill Applegate. You will be glad you did.

"The Philadelphia Story" (30 January - 8 February)
@ Barker Playhouse, 400 Benefit Street, PROVIDENCE RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide