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Spoof Of ’30s Musicals, Dames At Sea, Lands At The Wick

Lindsay Bethea as Ruby, the chorus girl turned Broadway star in one day, leads the cast in The Wick Theatre’s Dames At Sea

Lindsay Bethea as Ruby, the chorus girl turned Broadway star in one day, leads the cast in The Wick Theatre’s Dames At Sea

By Bill Hirschman, FloridaTheaterOnStage.com, Special to EyesOnNews.com, May 12, 2015 – We were tough last week on the national tour of Anything Goes. If those folks want to know what we were hoping to see, they should take the day off and drop in on what The Wick Theatre is doing with Dames At Sea with a fifth of the resources.

Both musicals – and the On the 20th Century revival we just saw in New York — gently poke fun at the quaint conventions of 1930s stage musicals and movie musicals. The elbows in the ribs are a little sharper in Dames at Sea, but the theme remains of singing tap dancers throwing themselves into the ludicrous fantasies that allowed Depression Era audiences to forget their troubles, come on get happy.

But where Anything Goes was lackluster, this edition of Dames at Sea is a grin-inducing hoot in which the energetic cast’s ebullience is infectious. Seeing three such shows in ten days sort of wears you out for lampooning pastiche, but these performers under Michael Ursua’s staging, Caryl Fantel’s musical direction and Angela Morando-Taylor’s choreography carried along our weary spirits.

The whimsy with book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller and music by Jim Wise is a parody of those iconic fusty Busby Berkeley extravaganzas in which an understudy steps into a role on Broadway and becomes a star (also the plot of The Wick’s 42nd Street). This peppy dopey confection began off-off-Broadway in 1966 and then off-Broadway in 1968, both starring a soon-to-be-famous Bernadette Peters. Part of the humor in the cornball script and in Ursua’s staging stems from “recreating” these mega-musicals by imaginatively deploying six actors, a four-piece band and two sets.

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