Romantic Comedy, a light-hearted story of ill-timed love

Romantic Comedy, a light-hearted story of ill-timed love

By Edith McCauley

By Edith McCauley

Theater Critic

David Gingerich as Jason Alexander, a successful playwright, faces some radical changes. It is his wedding day, and his long-time collaborator has left. Enter Phoebe Craddock, played by Betsy Muraski. A school teacher from Vermont with play in hand, she dreams of working with Jason. The inevitable happens, and we see a relationship develop into emotional complications more intense than the longest marriage. Gingerich and Muraski are outstanding choices for their roles. Playing off each other, their comedic timing keeps the audience constantly laughing.

joan e. kole directs, and she has brought together many of her associates in the theater community. From Pec Playhouse, Rosemary Million, most recently seen as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, displays another talent to design the sophisticated set. Classic furniture and an Oriental rug represent the possessions of a successful writer. Sliding doors center the action, and only a few glitches marred their operation. Jan Bacino, costume designer, gleaned from NAT’s wardrobe appropriate garb for the actors. Leo Janowitz, played by Jamie Button, a loud journalist with a wild Afro, wears a bright plaid suit that had to be worn by Steve Vrtol sometime in its history. Kristi Lee Peterson as the ditsy blonde actress, Kate Mallory, appears in a retro Gucci double knit, straight from the ’70s. Every piece exemplifies its time.

Judy Shields, as Blanche Dailey, Jason’s agent, is the sophisticated woman of the world. Returning to the stage after a 15-year hiatus, she performs as if she had never left. Completing the cast is Charla Mason as Allison St. James, Jason’s frustrated wife. Mason, seen at NAT in The Wizard of Oz and Room Service this season, was a familiar face at the Clock Tower Dinner Theatre. Since its closing, several of the personnel have found a home at NAT. Jim Ratloff is house manager and currently appears as Montague in Romeo and Juliet. Kristi Peterson starred as Sugar; Kathy and Jerry Stevens, also from the Clock Tower, starred last year in the Christmas cabaret show, and Dorothy Paige-Turner was seen in Side by Side. It is commendable that so much of our local talent appears here on a regular basis.

kole’s vision for Romantic Comedy succeeds on every level. She has combined a talented group of actors, well rehearsed and enjoying their work, with technicians who are proficient. The musical background included the Beatles of the ’60s and progressed to the ’80s, each song suitable for the time of the scene on stage. Details show the professionalism. Playing through March 24, Romantic Comedy is a production of New American Theater’s Town Players.

For tickets, call NAT’s box office at (815) 964-6282.

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