Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Legends"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2003 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Granite Theatre's current production is the 1987 comedy, "Legends" which starred Carol Channing and Mary Martin in its original run. Eager-beaver producer Martin Klemmer wants film legends Sylvia Glenn and Leatrice Monsee to star in his latest script, "Star Wars:The Play". The only problem is that they hate each other so he tries to trick them into doing the show by promising them Paul Newman as their leading man. Will Klemmer get these two divas to perform in his show? The answer is waiting for you at the Granite Theatre where director, Ruth Kalatucka and her talented cast shows you what really happens.

Ruth does topnotch work in her direction and blocking of her cast. The cat fight and the stripping sections are hilarious as is the tongue twisting lines in the second act. The costumes by Colleen Hicks are gorgeous and David Jepson's pay telephone set and the glamourous Park Avenue apartment set lend the needed touches to this comedy. Stage manager Tai Scavetta keeps things running smoothly backstage with quick set changes and the lighting and sound is executed perfectly by Morgan bon Draoi. The cast is lead by Frank Pendola as the crazed manic producer who delivers most of his lines in phone conversations. They are rapid fire lines in his huge monologues with Paul Newman, other producers and the 2 divas. The second act lines are a hoot when he juggles three phone conversations at the same time as well as his onstage lines which will leave you in stiches. Frank does an excellent job in this role as a producer who will do anything to get his own way.

The bitchy diva, Sylvia Glenn is played with verve by Jean DeGrooth. She borrows a friend's apartment to impress Klemmer and her archrival, Leatrice. She commands the maid to do her bidding and redecorates the place to make it look like her own. Jean does a great job as this bitter old broad and reminds you of Elaine Strich. The cat fight is a hoot as is the brownie eating segment in the second act. Candice Stein plays Leatrice Monsee, the goody two shoes diva who can show her bitchy side when she needs to. She enters the scene in a blue sequined outfit with a white fur piece and you find out what these two broads are hiding from each other in a comical way. Candice does a wonderful job as this conniving woman and both she and Jean deliver their plentiful dialogue beautifully, giving the audience many laughs along the way. The southern maid, Aretha is played by Wanda Reed who gives her a backbone to stand up to these two old broads. She gives a sassy and humorous edge to the character and her one liners are hysterical.

Chris Mahn's high energy appearance as Boom-Boom Johnson lights up the first act. He plays a Puerto Rican Chippendales dancer who mistakenly shows up for a bachelorette party which has been cancelled. The interactions between Chris and the three ladies brings about gales of laughter to this funny situation.The final member of the cast is John Cillino who plays the policeman. He shows up to file a report after the two divas destroy the apartment after their catfight. John returns to the stage after a 12 year hiatus and does a funny bit as a not too bright cop who wants the legends autographs but is still going to file his report on their fight. So for a look at the funny side of two famous actress' hopeful return to show biz, be sure to catch "Legends" at the Granite Theatre.

"Legends" (19 September - 12 October)
1(401) 596-2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide