Monday, July 14, 2014

F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company Presents "City of Angels" - A Very Satisfying Production

"City of Angels" is a gem of a musical that is seldom produced.  Thankfully, F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company has decided to end its 2013-2014 season with a very satisfying production of this beautifully written piece.  For those who are not familiar with "City of Angels" here is a quick overview of the set-up:

"A seductive and stylish homage to artistic integrity and Hollywood film noir screenwriters of the 1940’s CITY OF ANGELS’ irresistible story presents the beleaguered “real world” of STINE, a 1940’s novelist hired to adapt his acclaimed novel, CITY OF ANGELS, into a screenplay for one of Hollywood’s most successful and dynamic movie moguls.  During the course of this daunting assignment, STINE’s wife announces that she has had enough of his womanizing, the mogul refuses to stop meddling in the artistic process while the film’s characters, inhabiting his “reel world”, stage a full-throttled revolt.  The mogul assigns himself a lucrative co-writing credit, STINE quits on the sound stage the first day of principal photography while a “genius” re-write by his main character, STONE, saves his life and the day"

(L. To R.)  Katie Preisig and Jared Troilo star in
CITY OF ANGELS at the Arsenal Center for the Arts
(321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA)
where it will play through Saturday, July 19.

Photography by Matt Phillipps

The most pleasing aspect of the F.U.D.G.E. production of this musical is the execution of the memorable songs and production numbers.  The music was written in 1940's style by Cy Coleman with the brilliant lyrics of David Zippel.  I own the cast album, and never tire of the clever banter of the characters as they sing to one another in clever double entendre.

Joey DeMita directs an energetic and musically sophisticated cast.  Steven Bergman's musical direction perfectly captures the style and ethos of the period.  James Petty has designed a very clever and versatile set that changes - sometimes in mid-action - from Stone's sparse office to the lush Kingsley mansion.


STONE - Jared Troilo*
STINE - Kyle W. Carlson
ALAURA/CARLA - Katie Preisig
OOLIE/DONNA - AnneMarie Alvarez
BOBBI/GABBY - Lori L'Italien
MALLORY/AVRIL - Molly Gervis
ANGEL CITY 4 - Agatha Babbitt, Shawn Gelzleichter,
Amy Oldenquist, Ryan Solero
BUDDY FIDLER - Dan Goldstone
LT MUNOZ - Ben Gold
LUTHER KINGSLEY - Timothy Maguire

*denotes member of Actors' Equity Association

By far the most memorable aspect of this production is the near flawless execution of the clever music and lyrics.  I will mention a few of the musical highlights.

"Double Talk" with Buddy and Stine sets the tone for the troubled relationship that will persist between the screen writer and the director.  Both Kyle W. Carlson as Stine and Dan Goldstone as Buddy do a good job of establishing their characters through this song.

"What You Don't Know About Women" is a highlight of this production.  Lori L'Italien as Gabby and AnneMarie Alvarez as Oolie berate Stine/Stone for being clueless in their interactions with the women in their lives.

In the torch song, "With Every Breath I Take," Ms. L'Italien in the role of lounge singer, Bobbi, reaches down to a smoky and cavernous part of her soul and vocal register to produce this dark number.

In "The Tennis Song" Stone and Alaura face off against each other swapping provocative verbal shots that represent some of Zippel's most clever lyrics.  Jared Troilo and Katie Preisig are at the top of their game in this number and serve aces!

Molly Gervis as the missing rich girl, Mallory, offers up a very provocative rendition of the rousing "Lost and Found."

"All You Have To Do Is Wait" is a clever pseudo-Latin number sung with over the top ethnic panache by the very talented Ben Gold as the vengeful Lt. Munoz.

"You're Nothing Without Me" not only closes Act I but it stops the show.  This duet and standoff between Stine and his creation Stone is a tour de force perfectly executed by Mr. Carlson and Mr. Troilo.  The close harmonies are so perfectly matched that I got chills listening to this number.  Bravo!

Opening Act II is the hauntingly beautiful "Stay With Me" with Rich Hoen as Jimmy Powers backed up by Angel City 4 - Agatha Babbitt, Amy Oldenquist, Ryan Solero and Shawn Gelzleichter.  The song emulates a 1940's era radio broadcast, and is beautifully done.

Finally, Ms. Alvarez's rendition of "You Can Always Count on Me" is a classic "other woman" rant.

As you can see, I very much enjoyed this show.  I think you will too, so head to Watertwon this week.  The show closes this Saturday night.



Thursday, July 17 at 8:00pm
Friday, July 18 at 8:00pm
Saturday, July 19 at 8:00pm

$26 Adults
$21 Students/Seniors 

INFORMATION:  617-945-0773

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