March 25 - 26, 2011 at 7 PM
March 27, 2011 at 2 PM
for more information contact Marla_Blasko@hcpss.org
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“Great Big Stuff” at Long Reach
With elegant dresses and crisp tuxedos drifting across the stage, who wouldn’t believe that Long Reach High School had transformed into the French Riviera? Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, performed on March 26 at 7pm, was delightful to watch with its enthusiastic characters and myriad of hoaxes and ruses.
The plot, or rather the ploy, of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, is full of twists and turns. Lawrence Jameson, experienced conman, with his accomplice Andre Thibault always have good fun scamming rich women into handing over their money. But competition arrives in the form of Freddy Benson, an American who doesn’t bag quite so much dough but nonetheless arouses Lawrence’s interest. Lawrence and Freddy soon strike a bet that whoever gets $50,000 out of Christine Colgate, “The American Soap Queen,” stays in town while the other must leave.
The show flowed very well from scene to scene. Despite a lengthy first act, the energy never stopped and the choreography was a pleasure to watch from corny country dancing to the more graceful ballroom tangos.
Caty Dwyer (Christine) was ever so sweet in act one with her innocent face and sincere, “Can’t you see you’re killing him?” towards the dancing couple offending Freddy. Delivering his humorous lines with comic timing, Cody McNeeley as Freddy kept the energy high whether rolling in a wheelchair across the stage or shifting his eyes from side to side in an effort to sing with Christine. Stephen Lopez (Lawrence) maintained his professional character throughout with refined movements and plentiful but coordinated hand gestures which never became repetitive during “Ruffhousin’ With Shüffhausen.” All three leads displayed great chemistry and flowed seamlessly from number to number.
Doug Putt as Andre and Alys Dutton as Muriel, one of the poor woman tricked by Lawrence, made an impressive team in “Like Zis Like Zat.” With Dutton’s confidence and Putt’s initial bashfulness the duo seemed perfect even when the moon wasn’t around. Callie Hodge (Jolene) was nothing if not obnoxious with her squeals at Lawrence. Her hilarious looks of disgust at Ruprecht only added to the comedy. The chorus was hard to hear throughout the show but soon picked up speed in act two. Their domino effect, all falling down in overalls during “Oklahoma,” was a wonderful conclusion to the number. They also provided a set piece as the bridge for Lawrence and Christine to dance and weave through in “The More We Dance” which worked effortlessly.
Despite glitchy microphones and spotlights, overall tech made smooth transitions from scene to scene. Using a light for the moon matched the floaty feel of the show and the hotel, though very tall, was used effectively with the curtains on the top floor and the door waiting to be slammed on the bottom. The costumes, handled by Ms. Vikki Raven, were stunning from the matching lavender bowties and dresses in one number to the vibrant red in the next.
Long Reach couldn’t help but “Give Them What They Want” with comedy surging throughout the production. The audience was not scammed in watching the charming numbers, the entertaining actors, and the handsome yet efficient set pieces. There were no winners or losers here, just a bunch of dirty rotten scoundrels.
Based off the film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the show focuses on Lawrence Jameson, a wise and experienced con-man who takes the young Freddy Benson under his wing. Freddy improves quickly and challenges Lawrence to a competition; whoever can first obtain $50,000 from the wealthy heiress, Christine Colgate, wins. But things get complicated when they realize they aren’t the only ones doing the scamming.
Although the overall energy seemed a bit low in the beginning, it grew as the show progressed. One thing that stood out was the choreography, which was tight, solid and full of energy. Though there may have been a few issues with projection in the songs, the dialogue was consistently audible throughout.
All of the leads had really good chemistry together, and Stephen Lopez (Lawrence) and Cody McNeely (Freddy) were no exception. Their scenes together were full of wonderful comedic timing, hilarious facial expressions, and never-ending energy. Lopez switched seamlessly from a British accent to a German one, and managed to use them at the correct times and keep them consistent every time he spoke. McNeely’s grandiose gestures and movements added to his bumbling and bold American character. The contrast of McNeely’s constant motion and Lopez’s more refined, upper class persona added great strength to their performance as a whole.
Another duo with undoubtedly charming chemistry was Doug Putt and Alys Dutton, Andrew Thibault and Muriel respectively. The two harmonized beautifull and played up to their budding romance in the duet “Like Zis Like Zat.” Their constant flirting and tender, passionate moments were adorable and they added the perfect amount of true love to the hectic and crazy plot. Jae Kim really stood out as the Porter in his solo “Love Sneaks In.” His clear and stunning voice was an unexpected and delightful treat.
The two story rotating set was amazingly complex. It featured a hotel balcony on one side and Lawrence and Andre’s place on the other side. The size of the set caused some problems for tech crew as they rolled it on and off, but despite the size they were able to keep shifts short and swift. The costumes were wonderfully coordinated and perfectly diverse, featuring anything from fancy evening gowns to full out country gear. The most fun costumes were in the song “Oklahoma” where the cast came out in matching checkered overalls and straw hats, bringing a lot of livelihood to the stage.
Long Reach High School put on a show that was anything but dirty and rotten. Their commitment to character and their wonderful acting skills kept the audience singing the songs long after they left.
Clean Nice Idols. . . Just Kidding.
Dirty jokes, putrid men, gullible women, con-artists, and $50,000 dollars. . . Sounds like nothing other than Long Reach’s production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels!
Based on the film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels the musical takes place at a Casino near the French Riviera, home to a wealthy con-artist Lawrence Jamenson (Stephen Lopez). He soon meets Freddy Benson (Cody McNeeley), an American con-artist, and together they get out of and back into sticky situations.
The leads had great chemistry and embodied their character, really making it their own. Lopez and McNeeley demonstrated “brotherly love” during “All About Ruprecht”. Lopez expressed his fiendish side during “Ruffhousin’ With Shuffhausen” while trying to appear knowledgeable and sincere. Andre and Muriel (Putt and Dutton) sang beautifully together during “Like Zis Like Zat” while expressing their feeling towards one another. Christine Colgate (Caty Dwyer) had everyone convinced with her sweet and innocent persona. Irish, German, English, French, Country; many accents were used within this show and each actor stayed consistent with their accent, even while singing.
The production had excellent choreography which helped move the story along and show off Long Reach’s talented dancers. The choreography was well rehearsed so the actors seemed to perform it effortlessly. During “All About Ruprecht” Lopez and McNeeley strongly conveyed their character motifs of trying to make Hodge’s character feel uncomfortable. “Like Zis Like Zat” and “The More We Dance” were two of the many numbers that included partner dances which flowed smoothly and gracefully. Although, when the ensemble was not dancing they seemed to get distracted by the audience and break character.
Iridescent ball gowns, tuxedos, cowboy hats, maid outfits, floral tourist clothes, and sailor uniforms. The costumes used captured the mood, conveyed background, and distinguished class. When Jolene (Callie Hodge) talked about her home town during “Oklahoma”, she dressed in a jean skirt with cowboy boots and the ensemble wore checkered overalls and cowboy hats.
The main set consisted of a white curtain and palm trees. Depending on the colored lights reflected on the curtain, the audience could infer a time of day. Lawrence’s house was wonderfully constructed with a door and stairs and the veranda which was used sufficiently. Consequentially the set piece was very big and hard to move so the piece could be seen when it was off stage.Congratulations to Long Reach’s cast and crew of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for putting on a performance full of good clean fun!
Sometimes, shows can make crimes seem fun, and what better way to have fun than two competing con artists impersonating a paraplegic and a doctor in order to swindle a supposed heiress out of fifty grand? At its heart, Long Reach High School’s production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a musically energetic funhouse with an engaging plot that twists till curtain’s close.
The titular scoundrels are Lawrence Jameson (Stephen Lopez) and Freddy Benson (Cody McNeeley), who take to scamming well-to-do women in the French Riviera. Jameson, with the help of French police chief Andre Thibault (Doug Putt), rules the game until the American Benson comes to infringe on his territory. When Jameson exposes Benson to what creative scams can buy, the young and eager con artist seeks to play with the big boys. However, Benson gets Jameson out of an unwanted marriage with Oklahoma native Jolene (Callie Hodge), and the fun begins. The criminals place a territorial wager on fifty-thousand dollars from Christine Colgate (Caty Dwyer) – the first one to get the money stays in France, while the other is condemned to scamming in less than ideal areas around the globe. Taking turn after unexpected turn, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a wild ride that an audience cannot help but enjoy.
Under the direction of Mrs. Marla Blasko, Lopez and McNeeley are juxtaposed in such a way that their characters are too lovable to be considered the crooks they are. Lopez’s Jameson, arrogantly urbane, and McNeeley’s Benson, eccentrically charming, have a chemistry that is hard to find and even harder to pull off. The lead actors embraced their roles and had the audience believing their schemes until the final bow. To involve the audience, and even the pit, further, McNeeley and Lopez took the liberty of breaking the fourth wall (the imaginary barrier between the stage and the audience) on several occasions. Putt provided additional comic relief with the help of the enjoyable Alys Dutton as wealthy victim Muriel. The ensemble moved the show along with well choreographed dance numbers that, while showy, were performed elegantly and in sync. While the majority of the musical numbers were ensemble numbers, the few that were solos or duets were strongly sung. The male leads harmonized well in “All About Ruprecht”, and McNeeley’s voice was complimented by Dwyer’s in their song “Love Is My Legs.” The pit, directed by Mr. Ed Myers, was overpowering at times, but the music was pleasing, and the songs were fun and easy to listen to.
The set was effectively designed, with a large rotating piece that was utilized well to double as a casino and a hotel room. The palm trees in the backdrop accented the setting, but the curtain could have been drawn over them for some of the indoor scenes. The curtain behind them billowed and worked with the light to create a nice sunset feel, only taking the audience further into the Riviera. The lighting helped the show with a small variety of colors and a realistic moon in the background during the night scenes.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has all the elements of a good show – it’s fun, it’s musical, and even the audience got recognition for its time well spent. The chemistry between characters was believable and crafty, and the technical aspects and the set augmented the feel that the French Riviera was only a few rows away. If good acting and great fun is a crime, the police force can add a life sentence to the Scoundrels’ time...if they ever get caught.
Con artists are great. We love them for their perfect ability to lie, and how they can so easily get away with it… Okay, maybe not ALL of them are great, but the ones at Long Reach certainly were, in their hilarious production of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"!
Lawrence Jameson (Stephen Lopez) is an experienced and talented con artist who charms women out of their money, along with the help of his so-called "bodyguard", Andre (Doug Putt). While in the French Riviera, Lawrence meets a younger, but vulgar, fellow con artist, named Freddy Benson (Cody McNeeley), but isn’t nearly as successful as him. Although the two appear to make a good pair in the world of swindling, Lawrence believes there isn't enough room in town for the two of them when Freddy claims that he's better than him when it comes to conning people out of their money. The two make a bet- the first one to get $50,000 out of a woman wins, while the loser leaves town. And thus, they pick their target- the likable, and friendly Christine Colgate (Caty Dwyer).
Although the production was good for the most part, it was not without a few flaws- the chorus could have been so much louder than they were- you could barely hear what they were saying. Some of the minor characters needed to be louder, and while the leads were naturally loud, the mics weren't projecting their voices loud enough, as one could easily miss important parts of dialogue. The lights weren't as good as they could have been as there were moments when some of the actors were acting in the complete dark parts of the stage.
Although the first act had a few problems, everything was redeemed with the hijinks of the second act, as comedic timings became better (Such as Lopez slamming the door in McNeeley's face as he's crawling on the ground "in pain" when he witnesses Lopez and Dwyer dancing), and the choreography was smoother as the story picked up.
The use of props was excellent- it all seemed natural as the scenes flowed nicely along. The set was simple, but charming, and the two-story platform was nicely built and used throughout the production.
But if there was anything that was completely outstanding, it was the chemistry between the leads. Lopez and McNeeley were wonderful together as the lying, swindling duo, while Putt and his onstage-love interest, Muriel (Alys Dutton) were adorable, and amusing.
The leads were wonderful- McNeeley's portrayal as the animated and sleazy Freddy was perfect, and Lopez's expressions were hilarious. Putt also did a great job at maintaining his French accent throughout the entire show, while still being understandable.
When it all comes down to it, Long Reach did a great job at producing Howard County's first high school production of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"- and this is definitely one worth seeing.
The stage is dark. Classical music plays as the silhouettes of eloquently dressed French women appear from the black. So begins the ballroom dancing piece to set the scene for Long Reach’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a musical comedy based off of the 1988 movie.
Set in the French Riviera, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels follows the story of two con men that, through a series of outrageous plans, pull a Robin Hood in stealing from the rich and giving to, well, themselves. Twists and turns were abundant throughout the show, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, anxious to see what scheme the characters had in store for them next.
Long Reach’s set featured only two pieces: a double story hotel with a balcony, and a hotel bedroom. The two storied piece was simple, yet effective in allowing easy transitions between scenes and side plots. Prop handling went smoothly, in particular the various fruits and candlesticks used by con man Freddy Benson (Cody McNeeley).
Stephen Lopez starred as experienced con man and charming French gentleman Lawrence Jameson, while Cody McNeeley played the younger, naughtier, con man apprentice dressed as a quirky tourist complete with sandals and socks. Both captured the audience with their facial expressions while amusing them with their comical language.
Doug Putt, acting as the in-and-out of the story Andre Thibault, provided comic relief in every situation with his witty remarks combined with an authentic French accent. The chemistry between Andre and romantic interest Muriel (Alys Dutton) had the audience sighing and hoping with crossed fingers for their spontaneous relationship to work out.
Jae Kim, as the porter, showed incredible enthusiasm in each ensemble number as well as sported pop-opera like vocals in his solo “Love Sneaks In.” Callie Hodge, donned in bright red cowboy boots and a frilly denim skirt played the wealthy, western, Jolene. Hodge galloped about the stage fully equipped with a red pistol and a stern Oklahoman accent for when situations got a bit too rowdy.
Beyond the aforementioned elegant dresses, ensemble members showed off a multitude of unique costumes including red checkered overalls in “Oklahoma,” white angel robes in Christine Colgate’s (Caty Dwyer) ballad, and maid outfits in every hotel scene.
When all was said and done, Long Reach’s production included original choreography, distinctively designed costumes, and a whole bunch of dirty, rotten, scoundrels.
A whirlwind of jewel-toned gowns, sharp suits, and vivacious dancing establishes the scene for the luxe of the French Riviera, the ideal setting for two cunning conmen in Long Reach High School’s production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Based upon the film of the same name written by Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro, and Paul Henning and starring Steve Martin and Michael Cain, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels made its Broadway Debut in January 2005, with music and lyrics by David Yazbek. It tells the story of two con artists, Lawrence Jones and Freddy Benson, as they prey upon wealthy tourists in the south of France. The plot is comical, detailing the hilarious circumstances that shape Jones and Benson’s pursuits, which are chockfull of twists and turns along the way.
Stephen Lopez and Cody McNeeley complemented each other wonderfully in their respective roles of Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson. Lopez played his role well, bringing suavity and an imperturbable demeanor to his character, always remaining cool, calm, and collected. In direct contrast, McNeeley played his character outlandishly, infusing humor into nearly every line and movement. In spite of his comically exaggerated actions, McNeeley’s strength as a dancer was evident through his infectious energy in jumping, leaping, and parading across the stage.
Alys Dutton and Doug Putt exhibited great chemistry as the characters Muriel and Andre Thibault. Dutton portrayed her character as the quintessential American tourist while Putt maintained a convincing French accent throughout the duration of the show, often making droll side comments. Christine Colgate demonstrated a range of ability as she allowed her character to transform from an innocent, wide-eyed young tourist to a conniving “conwoman,” one of the “dirty rotten scoundrels” herself.
The ensemble generated a colorful, rich vibe, particularly through their lively costumes, which ranged from elegant gowns to bucolic overalls. The student choreography was especially impressive, creating the ideal vacation atmosphere. This mood was highlighted by the set of the piece. Palm trees and a spotlight sun established a beachy, resort ambiance, while an impressive two-story building allowed characters to interact in multiple locations.
Set changes occurred quickly, allowing the show to move fluidly from scene to scene. While the microphones were a bit muffled at times, the actors projected well. The lively music of the pit band enhanced the piece’s many musical aspects.
Overall, Long Reach High School’s rendition of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels depicted the fast-paced glamour of con artistry hilariously. The unexpected twists and witty dialogue made for a captivating performance that was as entertaining as it was delightfully “dirty and rotten.”
Rambunctious and romantic, charming and cheeky, Long Reach High School put on an crowd-pleasing performance of David Yazbek’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, originally adapted from the novel by Jeffrey Lane.
The show opens in the French Riviera with the team of Lawrence, a smooth and experienced con-man and Andre, his quiet assistant, as they describe their occupation, which is tricking women out of their wealth. Lawrence soon meets the fairly uncouth Freddie and agrees to take him under his wing. When Lawrence discovers that he has accidentally charmed one of his victims, Jolene, a little too much and that she plans on marrying him, Freddie disguises himself as Ruprecht, Lawrence’s mentally challenged brother. The camaraderie doesn’t last; however, as Lawrence and Freddie soon become tired of each other and make a bet over who can swindle Christine, the American soap queen, out of $50,000. When Freddie and Lawrence both begin to don disguises to win Christine’s affection, hilarity and confusion ensue as the plot twists in this fast-paced production.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a fun, feel-good show, was truly anchored by the diverse characters displayed by the leads and supporting cast. Even some of the more hectic musical numbers, such as “Oklahoma”, seemed well-practiced and natural. Breaking of the fourth wall, or interaction with audience, was dispersed throughout in a funny and effective manner.
Lawrence Jameson, the sleek and sophisticated con-artist, was portrayed by Stephen Lopez who demonstrated his character’s elite status through his quiet refinement and only partially contained revulsion toward some of the less classy characters. He also successfully used various accents to match his chosen disguises and sang with a solid tone. The younger and less refined con artist, Freddy Benson, was played by Cody McNeeley, who gave an energetic and confidant performance. Not ever afraid to be ridiculous, McNeeley threw himself across the stage, belting out numbers such as, “Great Big Stuff.” Caty Dwyer, as Christine, the American soap queen, put on a quirky, but compelling performance. With her pleasant singing voice and impeccably clumsy deportment, Dwyer charmed both the other characters and the audience as she proclaimed, “I do that a lot.”
The show was notable for exceptional solos and strong performances by the supporting cast. Muriel, an unappreciated but sweet heiress, stood out for her beautiful singing voice as well as some very bold acting choices that contrasted with her usually quiet demeanor. Andre (Doug Putt) also emphasized the dynamism of his character as he surprised the audience and Muriel, in “Like Zis Like Zat” where he showed he was more than qualified to come out of the background and take the spotlight. Jolene (Callie Hodge), a stereotyped country gal from Oklahoma added another element of comedy as her loud laugh and broad movements acted as a foil to the refinement of her “paramour”, Lawrence. While the choreography and singing were excellent, the ensemble did experience some synchronizing and projection issues that were quickly resolved, and absent by the second act as the show really started to come into its own.
Thematic elements were used expertly to , “set the scene” for the show. The color scheme and costume design in the various musical numbers gave the ensemble an enhanced sense of cohesiveness with themselves and the leads. Lighting was also creatively employed to craft sunsets and a moon, applied at first to distinguish time of day and that eventually became a center-piece of the production.
Chockfull of fun facades and memorable moments, audiences are sure to get more than they bargained for at Long Reach High School’s joyous production of the hit Broadway show Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.