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It’s a cowboy musical comedy! Cape Rep Theatre in Brewster will open its indoor season (and the company’s 37th year) with the regional premiere of Ethan Lipton’s off-Broadway hit “Tumacho,” which producers promise offers singing cacti, and a good guys vs. bad guys plot in a “dusty, forsaken frontier town.”
Citizens are looking for someone to rescue them from the terrors of Big Bill Yardley, but is it good news that a “fiend of legend” comes to town?
Director Maura Hanlon and musical director Nick Nudler direct a cast that includes Holly Erin McCarthy, Ari Lew, Jared Hagan, Ian Ryan, Jess Andra, Robert Tucker, Daniel Fontneau, Victoria Tucci and Nudler himself. The show opens Wednesday, May 18 and runs at 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through June 12 at the theater, 3299 Main St., Brewster.
Tickets: $35 (with May 20 as Pay-What-You-Can-Night, group rates and student rush) Reservations and information: 508-896-1888 or www.caperep.org.
Church starts theater project with ‘Joseph’ musical
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is expanding its music program under director Joe Dudzinski with a community theater project with the Music Studio, starting this weekend with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday at the church, 241 Wianno Ave., Osterville. Max Teplansky plays Joseph, Bridget Williams is the narrator and a cast of more than 20 is featured.
Tickets are $30 and $15, and may be purchased by calling the church at 508-428-3561 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays or through Venmo at Joseph_Dudzinski_1 or calling him at 508-332-8702. Information: www.stpeterscape-cod.org.
‘St. Francis’ opens in Cotuit
Cotuit Center for the Arts postponed the opening date for the area premiere of “St. Francis,” by star Miranda Jonté to May 12, so this is the first weekend for the play about a veterinarian who now runs a dog rescue in California and is about to be forced out.
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. May 12-14, 19-22 and 26-27, plus 2 p.m. May 15, 22 and 29 in the Morton and Vivian Sigel Black Box Theater at the center, 4404 Route 28. Tickets and information: https://artsonthecape.org/explore/st-francis.
“Into the Woods”
By Barbara Clark
Written by: Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and James Lapine (book); directed by Donna Wresinski with musical direction by Pam Wannie; performed by Eventide Theatre Company
What it’s about: This musical fantasy focuses on some of the fairy tales that involve the classic search for happily-ever-after, a theme that evolves instead into the cautionary “Be careful what you wish for.” The depth and wit of Sondheim’s extraordinary musical legacy are perfectly captured here, combining the adventures of iconic characters from the Brothers Grimm as they journey into the woods on their personal quests, only to learn that their choices have dark consequences, and some cannot be undone.
See it or not: Wresinski’s stunning, high-energy production has captured Cape Cod’s top performing talents under one roof in a marvelous ensemble, as characters set out to fulfill a wish, break a curse or secure riches. Every single performer on the stage is a stand-out, with the lead roles played by Steve Ross (narrator, Mysterious Man) , Madison Mayer (Cinderella) Jake Venet (Jack), Anthony Teixeira (the Baker), Holly Hansen (The Baker’s Wife), Rebecca Riley (Little Red Ridinghood) Sara Bleything (The Witch), Hope O’Conor (Rapunzel) and Beau Jackett and Alex Valentine as the princes.
Highlights: Sets (by designer and technical director Guy Trudeau) and costumes (by Brian Simons and Cindy Parker) earn top star billing alongside the performers. Exceptional lighting and special effects stand out for their flawless and precise delivery, inventiveness and just plain beauty. Greg Hamm designed the lighting, executed by Vickie Marchant, with Toby Wilson and Jackett behind the sound design.
Interesting fact: The original 1987 Broadway production earned Tony Awards for best original score and outstanding lyrics. Unlike many shows in which musical numbers provide diversion and simple entertainment, here the song lyrics blend with spoken lines to form the actual narrative, as characters tell their stories of fidelity, revenge, love and quest.
Worth noting: The show begins and ends with “I wish,” but wishes fulfilled come with unexpected twists. Cinderella just wants to attend the ball, but her prince may turn out to be a bit less than charming. Jack sets out to sell the family cow and ends up with a handful of beans. The childless baker and his wife want a family, but must tangle with a gnarly witch with an agenda of her own.
One more thing: As characters come to see the unhappy consequences of their individual pursuits, they’re inspired to come together to save each other and their community. The musical effectively delivers the lesson that “no one is alone,” and collective action may in fact be the magic ticket out of the woods.
If you go: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 22 at the Gertrude Lawrence Stage at Dennis Union Church, 713 Main St., Dennis. $35; 508-233-2148; www.eventidearts.org.
“Sandy Toes & Salty Kisses”
By Barbara Clark
Written by: Michael Parker and Susan Parker; directed by Marti Baker; presented by Barnstable Comedy Club
What it’s about: You name it, it happens, as confusion triumphs in this classic farce that unfolds at the Lovers’ Landing Beach Hotel on the Gulf Coast. Room mix-ups, mistaken identities and illegal shenanigans interrupt the pre-nuptial planning under way, as Uncle Bubba assumes the identity of hotel wedding planner Madame Coco, and plans go awry in every corner of the seaside venue.
See it or not: Witty dialogue and an appealing script grease the action, and an ensemble cast of new and familiar faces conveys the sense that they’re having a fine time onstage. The possibly not-too-bright receptionist, Candy (Meg Sullivan), effectively links up much of the action and offers some of the show’s best lines.
Highlights: Tom Pucci provides a high note as longtime hotel employee Wilberforce “Uncle Bubba” Brown, as he is forced to step into the persona of Madame Coco, who has unexpectedly eloped, leaving the hotel high and dry. His “Madame” comes complete with shoulder-length wig, shimmery dressing gown and aggressive bosom. Pucci is also glib and funny as the perpetrator of the hotel’s more iffy “side” activities, his favorite line being “I was gonna tell you eventually….”
Fun fact: The Barnstable Comedy Club is celebrating its 100th season of providing drama and comedy for Cape Cod audiences, and performances egan in the 1920s out of the rented Village Hall. The theater group purchased the building in 1961, and it has remained the Club’s home.
Worth noting: Hyannis native Stephen Lattimer steps on stage for the first time in “Sandy Toes,” in the role of the photo-snapping Douglas Dupont. Lattimer worked behind the scenes in the West Coast drama scene for years, with performing as his long-range goal.
One more thing: Jaunty nautical décor enhances a bright, pleasing stage set, giving an appropriate seaside flavor to this comic romp.
If you go: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays through May 22 at Barnstable Comedy Club, 3171 Route 6A, Barnstable Village. $25, $23 seniors & students. 508-362-6333, www.barnstablecomedyclub.org.
By Barbara Clark
Written by: Wendy Lement, directed by Nina Schuessler, presented by Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich Junior Theatre
What it’s about: “Red Swans” is the true story about an enduring friendship, cemented by the power of art, fostered in an extraordinary time. Two young Jewish women, Lisa and Katja, meet as students at a Berlin art school during World War II, where they’re recruited to a local resistance network. Determined to fight Nazi aggressors, they help to hide escaping Jews and undertake dangerous assignments as couriers of crucial information across Germany’s borders. Surviving the war, they remain lifelong friends, an ocean apart, continuing to create the art that helped them survive the horrors they witnessed.
See it or not: “Red Swans” highlights real-life acts of bravery, often by women, that frequently go unrecorded in accounts of war. It’s also timely, coming at a moment when war atrocities are again in the headlines, coupled with examples of standout sacrifice and conscience.
Highlights: Lement’s world-premiere play never loses sight of its central theme: the capacity of art to sustain and heal, releasing, in turn, a “reason to stay alive” that enlists the two young women despite life-threatening odds. Brittany Rolfs and Leanne McLaughlin are remarkable as the young Lisa Egler and Katja Caselles, who hold hands as they honor their friendship, Lisa declaring: “Without you, without our art, I wouldn’t have survived.”
Interesting fact: Director Nina Schuessler (just-retired company artistic director) is Egler’s real-life daughter. Egler spent much of her later life with her family on Cape Cod, where she continued to create art, sculpture and poetry, much of it growing out of her wartime experiences. Some of that art is projected as a backdrop in the production.
Worth noting: “Red Swans” notably celebrates the joyful side of friendship, as Lisa and Katja somehow remain ebullient and determined in the face of unrelenting danger.
One more thing: Some of the play’s most personal moments are the result of a journal rediscovered by Schuessler in 2020, in which she had recorded memories of that critical time that her mother had shared piecemeal over years.
If you go: 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays through May 15 at Cape Cod Theatre Company, 105 Division St., West Harwich. $27 adults, $25 seniors, $15 youth. 508-432-2002, capecodtheatrecompany.org
“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”
By Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll
Written by: Linda Woolverton, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice; presented by Falmouth Theatre Guild
What it’s about: Belle, who is considered odd by provincial townsfolk because of her love of books and fantasy tales, sets off on her own adventure when she searches for her missing father and is captured and held prisoner by the Beast. He is really a young prince, who is, along with the people in his castle, trapped under the spell of an enchantress, with the curse only broken if he learns to love and be loved in return.
See it or not: Don’t miss this: Director Joan McKenzie-Baird and her actors and crew have made this updated fairy tale come to musical life in an utterly charming, effervescent and joy-filled production for all ages.
Highlights: McKenzie-Baird has perfectly cast top performers, starting with a wow of a return to Cape Cod stages by Meghan Richardson as brave, smart and empathetic Belle. And the talent runs deep, leading with Paul Richardson as an endearing but also sometimes fearsome Beast; Bobby Price as boorishly comical but dangerous bully Gaston; Keirnon McDermott as his hugely entertaining sidekick Le Fou; and Michael Duarte as Belle’s loving and quirky father.
The castle servants are a wonderful, warm and comical team with John Weltman shining as worldly, sentimental candlestick Lumiere (who leads a rousing “Be our Guest” showstopper); Randy Doyle hilarious as the ever-anxious clock Cogsworth; Laura Garner sweet as ever-hopeful teapot Mrs. Potts (offering a lovely title song); plus Jack Baumrind as innocent boy teacup Chip, Jenn Perrault as flirtatious duster Babette, and Rachael Kenneally as proud and helpful wardrobe Mme. de la Grande Bouche. The acting strength extends into the ensemble, including Kevin Kenneally’s creepy asylum keeper Mr. D’Arque, and the three Silly Girls fawning over Gaston’s muscles: Cheri Prescott, Lori Welch Lawson and Victoria Santos.
Worth noting: The stage’s fantasy transformation is impressive, with technical director/set designer Brett Baird’s multiple ambitious and detailed sets looking like pages out of a book thanks to scenic artist Cris Reverdy. Liz Moakley’s costume design is also outstanding, with Belle’s signature yellow gown deservedly eliciting a loud gasp from a little girl sitting in front of me.
Fun facts: The personal relationships off stage include married couples as Belle and the Beast, and as the wardrobe and asylum keeper, plus Weltman being the uncle of young Jack. Ensemble member Tasha Whited brings a Disney connection, having performed at Walt Disney World Resort with Mickey and Minnie Mouse “in a former life.”
One more thing: If you only know the 1991 animated movie, the Broadway stage version has multiple new songs to enjoy, the best of which is “If I Can’t Love Her” that’s the Beast’s Act 1 closer. Paul Richardson nails it, singing in a castle turret that dramatically revolves, one of the multiple moving set pieces.
If you go: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays April 29-May 15 at Highfield Theatre, 58 Highfield Drive, Falmouth. Tickets and information: https://falmouththeatreguild.org/.
Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @KathiSDCCT.