PANZI & PHILOMENA MEET FRANKENSTEIN: A MADCAP MUSICAL MELANGE OF MANIC MONSTERS
Reviewer's note: Time constraints and the complexity of the show made it impossible to credit all as they should be in this short time so for now just a few comments and the few pictures I managed due to the inability to shoot during performance and the water taxi shut down preventing me from attending dress rehearsal. A more detailed review to follow. Jeannie
In celebration of his 10th anniversary creating the Arts Project's final show of the summer Sal Piro, with the aid of he merry madcap monsters, has exceeded himself. It was by the far the funniest, tightest, most innovative and creative production. Typically, Sal drew upon movies for inspiration: Mel Brook's Young Frankenstien and the classic Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein. The result was hilariously clever but, as Sal generously said, "I wrote the skeleton of the show but each cast member tweaked his and her parts with their own schtick so credit goes to all... for instance Peter Terchiano at first was concerned that he only had a few lines but he milked his Frankenstein part to the point that he progressed far beyond being a sight gag and expertly made up for it stealing scene s from his life partner, good natured Craig Tessler". Panzi, in her role as a crazed Chinese food deliverer, was to spit out 3 dumplings. But as she said "3 is not funny, 6 is funny" so she cut the 3 marshmallow s in half (she couldn't hold more in her mouth) and spit out 6 to the increased convulsive laughter of the house (and cast). The ever innovative Toni Bondi made the most of what might have been just an ordinary song by outrageously playing up his inability to find the right key (a familiar Grove phenomenon) which brought the house down. No one can mug like Panzi (In the lunatic "Some Enchanted Evening" number where she and the monster "connect") or Philomena giving beauty tips "I only use clear lip gloss and a little light powder" and Panzi and Phil charading the order to "Kill Philomena" or their UN update on the classic "Who's on First". Or Terchiano learning how to speak in "The Rain in Spain" and suddenly breaking into a soft shoe trio "Puttin' On The Ritz". I could (and will at a later date) go on and on. In fact, the overwhelming comments of the cast at the post performance party was how much fun they had at rehearsals!.As for the killer song "I'm Not Getting Married Today" when I asked Panzi how long it took to learn it she said "Years!"
The twins Susan & Ruth later told me they were so handsome in their finale tuxes that a lot of guys were coming onto them!
Long before I met the man I noticed his name on various programs because I was amazed at his work Jeffrey Wallach's seemingly endless creativity - that he probably had a ball is evident especially in such characters from SallyAnn who was egolessly happy to be totally unrecognizable as a ghoul/ghost to Tim Webster who went uncharacteristically sexy/glam,to the extremely lovable monster Peter Terchiano, who delighted in his disguise (so intense in dressing room, putting on make up he was the only one who would not pose for picture). Perhaps the most ingeniously clever was Panzi's wedding dress, a frazzled black creation with gold jagged edges and a black veil reflecting her apprehensive state of mind at marrying the monster.
How marvelous was it to watch Peter B & Philomena trip the light fantastic (making it look light and fantastic without tripping) in the Castle Walk dance scene. Bret Oerman, task master choreographer, tortures his cast into greatness.
How nice to see Pat & Joyce in a love song. How great was the job of newcomer music director Jack Aaronson iwith such a very difficult score.
Hail to the Queen, Coco Love, the requisite show opener
As the show was being dedicated to the memory of the beloved Maggie Mc Corkle a mirror eerily broke downstairs in the dressing room and this treasured wall signing was revealed: Maggie, Blithe Spirit, 1986
The delightful, demonic duo in a demure moment of deshabille: Philomena & Panzi
Bella as the bitchy gypsy: Do we trust her predictions?
The handsome groom, Peter B. the ladies are fighting over!
His jealous fiancee, Barbara Hirsch
Who let this skeleton and ghoul out of the closet? Lee Sharmat and SHarri Rase
the handsome wedding singer, George Brescia
Mad scientist, father of the bride-to-be and Frankenstien, Craig Tessler
Jeanne Skinner, Sal's lucky charm, as Martha does her favorite thing - makeup
It worked! The most glamorous ghoul
Sally Ann Piacento getting help in her ghostly disguise
Is that Denise Harbin , the most frightening vampire?
Who else but the irresistible Toni Bond,. the wedding crier in a happy moment
Bruce Michael Gelbert in his favorite gear - will he really sing and dance Tits 'n Ass?
Ah, Sweet Tim Webster, all glammed up
Where's our director?
Sal getting his well deserved bouquet at show's finale! Good Job! And his great cast