Photos & text by Jeannie
writer/director Denise Harbin put the book back into “book musical” with a joke
laden script which had many opportunities to show off the large diverse cast,
showcased by Grove proven choreographer Brett Oberman, and the talented and
creative Dan Daly as music director.
revolves around a dress rehearsal at the belvedere School for girls which
houses future stars such as Marilyn Monroe, and Judy Garland (before their
names were changed – about which you will discover) . The headmistress
Miss M’Arm and her ditzy sidekick Tutti try to keep a lid on things. The
merriment begins when Homecoming Queen Sprawl is robbed of the crown jewels and Lazar brothers agency of detectives is brought in, while gossip columnists Luella and
Hedda are vying for the scoop.
great throwaway lines: “the family
jewels finally showed up, they were just tucked away too far”, “Amnesia was
supposed to leave school last year..she just forgot”, “There are no Panzi’s in this show,
don’t get any Roses either …they’re so old” (“so true” murmured the crowd)
“To err is
human but it feels divine” “If these boobs were real my nipples would be hard”
as Belvedere School mistress (Girls Only) Miss Mamie Arm – “Welcome
casting agents and anyone who wants to be in pictures to the ALL girls Belvedere
school (where all the girls are boys and the forbidden boys are girls and…) to
our dress rehearsal
M’Arm confides in her sidekick Tutti (Tony Bondi looking uncharacteristically
conservative) that there ‘s been a jewel theft
celebrity schoolgirls, Veronica Lake (Robin Kradles), Ann Miller ( Clara
Bogetti welcome to the Grove stage) as Amnesha Biryani (Angela
Mercy), Frances Gumm (Bob Verbrugge),
and Eric Coyne frolic around Miss
M’Arm in “Mr. Sandman”,
Queen Sprawl does a turn with “Judy”
learning the crown jewels were stolen Urban Sprawl did just that – and we
were afraid she’d turn classy!!!
- here’s Hollywood gossip
columnist Hedda Hopper, “an oasis of respectability and virtue in the midst of
Sodom & Gomorrah”
as one – a handsome group, well dressed and chapeau-ed
DETECTIVES: John Philip, Fran Reinhardt, Sally Ann Piacentino,
Denise Harbin Bruce-Michael Gelbert
Oh1 La la! Je suis tres francais, non? Lynne Tunderman “Speaking French”
ascending Grove star Bob Verbrugge went where most singers dare not go
– to the sacred “Over the Rainbow” which she delivered with enough
sincerity to earn the crois de guerre with Toto (we’re definitely not on
Broadway) talking about how Judy Garland got her name (something about being Jewish)
and a gay flag from the wings as a reminder of where we are
Bella & stage neophyte Mella brought the house
down in their first joint appearance (the new Shapiros?)
with “Sisters” (of course)
Birthday Mr. President coo-ed by MM who nearly chose Manson as her second name
Kradles and Sally Ann ‘s zany version of the great show biz take-off song
Every Show” from Spamalot
Coyne as Babe Ruth’s niece Susan (get it, Freedners)
– A boy playing a girl playing a Boy Named Sue!!! When he has a son he’ll
call him Bella, Charity or even Panzi. What can I say!
calling Yoo-ooo-ooo, an “Indian Love Song” Grove
style – always marvelous
choreographer Bret O’s extravaganzas, Jai Ho, with willing disciple Angel Mercy
Indian foreign exchange student, and a great looking chorus
READY FOR ACT II
Mercy looks great as a brunette
girlish, Coco – and after seducing the president?!
BACK TO THE SHOW…………
Carmen Miranda (didn’t I just see you at the Invasion) much better than as the
Jane, willing “victims” who put the hokey in “ Hokey Pokey”
Tutti, get back into character so we can continue the plot – looking for
jewels stolen from Belvedere Homecoming Queen Sprawl
notes n this number so words fail me – but great costume
Demi Tasse chews the scenery in Sunset Blvd. as ultra glam
silent screen star Gloria Swanson mimicking her moves, eyes, lips. Nobody does
In a WW
to new dancing sensation Andrew Resto in "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,"
the “Andrews (nee Freedner) Sisters in “Oh Johnny” and “Beat Me Daddy”
Can You Lose," Bruce Michael & John, a poignant Sondheim song about
Denise just changed all the she's and her's to he's and him's for our
purposes. The lyrics are:
What can you lose?
Only the blues
Why keep concealing everything you're feeling?
Say it to him, what can you lose?
Maybe it shows
He's had clues, which he chose to ignore
Maybe though he knows
And just wants to go on as before
As a friend, nothing more
So he closes the door
Well, if he does
Those are the dues
Once the words are spoken
Something may be broken
Still, you love him
(both:)What can you lose?
But what if he goes?
At least now, you have part of him
(both:)What if he had to choose?
(Bruce-Michael:) Leave it alone
(John:) Hold it all in
(both:) Better a bone
Don't even begin
With so much to win
There's too much to lose
intro revealing that the tango was so risqué when it first appeared that only
men would dance it – what have we here? Lee & Clara
Sherri whispering “Sway With Me” is working both ends; Louella………
– an ambition that others have tried and failed…………
brisk frisk the detectives and the schoolgirls paired off, naturally;
Two of my faves
Cohen, in what would have been the Jeanne Skinner in the role. Is he the thief?
A moment of tribute to Jeanne as detectives doffed their hats and the
schoolgirls bowed their heads
Queens especially of Philomena’s status will not be denied so here was a mini
wardrobe extravaganza in her song "Back in Business
To the sumptuous!!! It certainly works
on Detective Denise
gets better and better also – which one thinks these things up? Giddyap Dale & Roy!
curtain calls (they came fast and my camera couldn’t keep up)
Timothea switched from the dowdy Queen Mother to the fashionista Louella Parsons
With a plume, er, aplomb
six smashing detectives only Sherri
Michael are “caught” on “film” for their curtain calls
Wendy before the show in that get up and didn’t even recognize her – Wowl who knew how glam she could be!
In or out
of focus Coco was the best damn Marilyn since…Marilyn
Lovely Lola – by the time I focused the camera on her as the stunning
Jackie O she was gone (take my word – can’t tell from these pictures)
Twins, Susan and Ruth
adorable couple seems to just get cuter with every show
Tony Bondi gave up her spectacular Carmen Miranda outfit to go dutifully back
into character as the faithful beautiful (?) but dumb sidekick
the very glam Philomena would mot think of taking her bow in that frumpy suit
character writer/director Denise Harbin flashes some “stuff”!
deserved hand for the huge cast!
thanks choreographer Bret Oberman whose deft hand was apparent in so many
Lee Sharmat and Lynne helped schlep scenery on and off. And
tech crew Matt Baney, Alison Brackman,
Mike Romanelli, and Wendy Lewis kept everyone audible
A hand for Arthur who stood in for the part written for the newly
Dan Dan the Music Man tackled a huge task with many drag queens
singing for the first time – still manages to look delicious
though not in the show, couldn’t resist a costume and wig………..
hard with only one weekend t the playhouse but we did it!