Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Pageant"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2003 by Tony Annicone

"Pageant"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Mill River Dinner Theater's current show is the musical, "Pageant". It is a farcical spoof of the Miss America pageant called Miss Glamouresse where there are six wacky beauty queens pitted against each other. The contestants compete against each other while singing, dancing and camping it up in evening gowns and bathing suits. There is a hilarious talent contest as well as the spokesmodel event to hawk their sponsor's products. Throw in a smarmy emcee who sings and lusts after the girls and picks audience members as the judges to pick the winner of the contest. Producer, Marcia PetitBon, director, Chuck PetitBon and musical director, David D'Amico have a surefire hit with this splendid show and its seven multitalented high energy performers.

Choreographer Dana Damiani shows the six contestants how to walk and dance in high heels which is a little more difficult when the beauty contestants are men dressed as women. This clever twist in the show is wonderful as are her dance numbers which include a tap dance and a rollerskater. Chuck and David cast the best performers for these roles and they all do a wonderful job in their roles. (David also plays the many musical selections on the piano and the synthisizer.) Stage manager, Heather Carey and her stage crew keep things moving constantly. Chuck also cooks the delicious dinner before the show which consists of five different choices including tender roast beef in brown gravy, baked schrod and roast stuffed breast of chicken. The meal includes a salad with house dressing, freshly baked rolls and an icecream with melted hot fudge for dessert as well as coffee or tea.

Ken Koury plays Frankie Cavalier the emcee perfectly. He oozes charm and personality as he interacts with the audience. Ken croons the tunes tongue in cheek and at one point dresses up as an Elvis look alike. The six contestants are all dynamite performers. To describe everything that happens to them would give away too much of the plot, so I will give a tiny peek at their talents. Gary Jacques plays Miss Bible Belt, a statuesque brunette. He tries to sell the audience face spackle to cover thier facial flaws and he sings a Gospel song called "Bankin' on Jesus" beautifully. Miss Deep South is Jim Nispel, a tall blond who tries to sell a powder puff and vac. His talent is singing with two puppets which is an absolute hoot. Rob Reale as Miss Texas does a fantastic tap dance to "The Yellow Rose of Texas" while decked out in a red, white and blue outfit and tries to sell edible lipstick which come in 27 nutrious flavors including roast beef red and poached salamon pink. Luke Riskalla who I last reviewed in "A Few Good Men", plays Miss Great Plains who's favorite color is beige and for his talent he recites a humorous poem about the land while wearing a Carmen Miranda type hat with various vegetables on it. (He is a tall broad shouldered man who looks like hysterical as a woman.) Mark Smith does a funny job as Karma, the dumb Miss West Coast who belives in reincarnation and does a birth through death performance as her talent which has to be seen to be believed. And last though not least is Scott Schleicher who plays Consueala, the uneducated Miss Industrial Northeast. She tries to sell hair rollers that are heated by the sun and can also cook food, too. Scott is hilarious in a blond wig with black hair on his chest and legs and his talent is roller skating while playing a keyboard. So for a fantastic night of dinnertainment be sure to catch "Pageant", the beauty contest which is like no other and it will be sure to leave you laughing all night long. Tell them Tony sent you.

"Pageant" ( 21 June - 27 July)
MILL RIVER DINNER THEATER
499 High Street, CENTRAL FALLS, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 721-0909

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