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Coley Grundman

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The Hot Mikado at the Masquers

The original Mikado was written by Gilbert and Sullivan, opening in 1885 in London. The show is nominally set in Japan where Gilbert and Sullivan could take jabs at the Victorian English. The Hot Mikado was adapted by David H. Bell and Rob Bowman and set into the 1940s; it was performed first in 1986 in Washington, DC. This Masquers production is directed by Ellen Brooks, with music direction by David Howitt.

The Apple Tree at the Masquers

Feeling at loose ends? Don’t know what to have for dinner? The Apple Tree might solve your itch—it’s three, seemingly unconnected plays in one. Continuity occurs because the same actors play throughout, time travels from long ago to the present, and the stories are about love and innocence. The publicity flyers for the show differ, stating that these plays are about getting what you want and discovering what you really wanted afterward. You’ll have to decide who's right.

Music and lyrics of The Apple Tree were written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The first play was based on the writings of Mark Twain, the second a short story by Frank R. Stockton and the third a story by Jules Feiffer. In the Masquers performances, Robert Love directs, with music direction by Pat King. Music is ably performed by Pat herself, Ted Bigornia, Jo Lusk, Jim Ware and Barbara Kohler. The show plays until May 1.

The first play is The Diary of Adam and Eve, a sweet comedy, especially for those with a Judeo-Christian background—particularly since it answers so many questions. (Photos by Jerry Telfer).

Kitchen Witches at the Masquers

Part of the job of a work of art is to startle the viewer, to jostle her/his expectations in some way—often, but not necessarily, unpleasantly—to do something new and fresh. Many people who write reviews, or those who burble about a performance just seen, convey their impressions of the work by detailing what happened, not how it made them feel—in other words, they diminish the power of the storyline to surprise the viewer. In my view, every creater should get her/his moment in the sun. For this reason before I see a new work, I usually shun speculation and limit myself to the first sentence and last paragraph of reviews and publicity announcements.

In spite of these habits it’s almost impossible to bring a truly open-minded perspective, so I had expectations for Kitchen Witches—what do you expect from a comedy whose playbill illustrates a chef wearing her mixing bowl with contents as a hat? Camp jokes?

Kitchen Witches, written by Caroline Smith and directed by Robert Taylor, concerns two friends who aren’t, anymore. These historically rancorous celebrity chefs (should that be chèves?) must work a televised show together.

Little Mary Sunshine at the Masquers

Little Mary Sunshine looks like a tribute to musical entertainment from the past, starting with a pretty damsel lighting the gas footlights which illuminate the stage. This was a time before television, perhaps even before radio, when men were men, ladies were girls, good and bad were easily distinguished, and virtue always triumphed—a time when the hero went off to save the world (or at least Colorado) leaving the heroine behind. Problems arose, trouble ensued, but it all came right in the end.

I’m not absolutely certain of author Rick Besoyan’s intent, but I can tell you the outcome when the wise old hands of Director Robert Love and his crew were done with it.

She Loves Me at the Masquers

It’s a toss–up. If you can be bothered to go out for the evening and see the play, write to me and tell me your opinion. Here’s mine: Jacqueline Andersen, Coley Grundman, Alex Shafer, and Peter Budinger are tied for my Actor Most Enjoying Him/HerSelf Award, all for different reasons.

Dear World at the Masquers

I don’t know very much about theatre (but I know what I like). Okay, I only said that to annoy, even if both phrases are true. Pity I wasn’t given the script of Dear World, directed by Pat Nelson, or I could quote more preposterous aphorisms dropped mercilessly from the mouths of the gentry, Lady Constance (played by Theo Collins), Lady Gabrielle (played by Irene Scully) and Aurelia, the Countess of Chaillot (played by Ann Homrighausen). Some of the quips are quite funny.

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown at the Masquers

Unlike Kyle Johnson (who plays Charlie Brown), I have always thought of Charlie Brown as a rather pathetic character. Yet (much to my surprise), I felt warmly towards Charlie early in the show.