By Madeline Marcelia Garvin
Since Phillip Colglazier took the helm of the Civic Theatre as the executive/artistic director, the community has been treated to outstanding theatrical performances. Many times I have attended productions such as: “Little Shop of Horrors,” “The Piano,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” “Dream Girls,” “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” and “A Raisin in the Sun” because of those who were on stage or because a former student was involved. But, this time, I attended “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” because I saw the advertisement in Frost Illustrated Newspaper.
Initially, I had planned to see the production on the first weekend it opened; however, I discovered some members of First Wayne United Methodist Church were attending Aug. 3, at 2 p.m. so I decided I’d go then and meet then. Though the musical is slightly bawdy, there were some truly gifted onstage performers; namely: Travis Grams, Renee Gonzales, Reuben Albaugh, and Stephanie Longbrake. They kept the show moving, and their timing was impeccable. Aside from this, their vocal renditions were amazing, especially, the renderings from Travis, Reuben and Stephanie.
For those familiar with the movie/musical, Lawrence and Andre played by Aaron Mann and Reuben Albaugh are the “dirty, rotten scoundrels,” or con artists taking women for their money and jewels by, as they would say, giving the women what they want. This game went on throughout the production, and became more interesting with the entrance of Freddy (Travis Grams), the unsophisticated con; but, it was he who drew the most laughter.
After reading the Cast “Who’s Who” in the Playbill, I expected Renee to do well because of her prior onstage experiences in NYC along with the fact that she majored in Musical Theatre at Ball State University; so when she belted out “Here I Am,” as one of the primary soloists and sang “Nothing is Too Wonderful to be True,” “Love is My Legs” and “Son of Great Big Stuff” with Travis Grams who played Freddy Benson, I was not at all surprised. But, it was Travis who took me aback with his amazing vocals.
True, Travis was hilarious in “All about Ruprect,” but, his true gifts shown through when he harmonized and soloed in “Nothing is Too Wonderful…,” “Love is My Legs,” “Son of Great Big Stuff,” “The Reckoning” and “Dirty Rotten.”
Yet, Reuben as Andre was another acting surprise, who had it on the ball and was not only a wonder to behold when he harmonized with Muriel in “Like Zis, Like Zat,” but, his dance steps were awe inspiring, because for a man of his girth, he was extremely light on his feet and a joy to watch. In the end, if one wants to rewrite the script, a new title could be “How to be Kept by a Woman of Means without being Caught.” Oops! I let the cat out of the bag! Those at the play should have heard the cat snarl.
Although I was experiencing a tremendous amount of pain in my back from having sat through such a lengthy production without my back support, I am very glad that I attended, for it brought guffaws-several guffaws by both the audience and me.
And, Carol A. Patterson, the former president of the Fort Wayne Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., who was also, in the audience Sunday, incidentally said, “I enjoyed the performance immensely, even though I wasn’t expecting a musical.” Carol then shared that her son, who has physical challenges, also enjoyed it, and he doesn’t attend too many cultural activities. All in all, it was a funny-filled afternoon.
Finally, for those who know me, I hate to laugh, for it makes my face hurt! But, Phillip, you made a good selection for those who can handle it.