Review Roundup: DANGEROUS BEAUTY
Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theatre of California, and Tony-nominated director Sheryl Kaller (Broadway's Next Fall and Off-Broadway's Adrift in Macao) present DANGEROUS BEAUTY, starring Jenny Powers (Broadway's Grease as Rizzo and Little Women as Meg) as Veronica Franco. The world premiere musical features book and verse by Jeannine Dominy (Warner Bros' Dangerous Beauty and Fox's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir), lyrics by Amanda McBroom(Pasadena Playhouse's Heartbeats and "The Rose"/Bette Midler) and music by Michele Brourman (TV's The Land Before Time andUniversal Studios' The Little Engine that Could) and will be presented in association with Susan Dietz and Tara Smith. The production opens on February 13, 2011, at Pasadena Playhouse (39 South El Molino Avenue).
DANGEROUS BEAUTY, based on a true story, tells the tumultuous tale of Veronica Franco, a celebrated courtesan/poet of 16th century Venice. Forced to become a courtesan when her family fortune is lost, preventing her from marrying the man she loves, Veronica ultimately embraces the courtesan life because it affords her extraordinary education and access. It is not long before she is the most influential woman in the cultural and political life of her beloved city. As Veronica's star rises, however, Venice is ravaged by war, plague, and the Inquisition. When Veronica finds herself on trial for witchcraft, she realizes that only her personal integrity can save her. DANGEROUS BEAUTY is adapted from the New Regency screenplay The Honest Courtesan written byJeannine Dominy, released as the film Dangerous Beauty and inspired by the scholarly book The Honest Courtesan by USC Professor Margaret Rosenthal.For additional information visitwww.PasadenaPlayhouse.org
Don Grigware, BWW: The cast and creative team of this production are astounding. Brourman's and McBroom's music is gorgeous, direction by Sheryl Kaller top notch and the acting divine. Jenny Powers as Veronica is amazing at every turn; she remains a tower of strength and sings beautifully. Her final scenes are exhilarating. Snyder as Marco Venier is at once seductive, honest, sincere and riveting and an equally magnificent singer.
Megan McGinnis as Marco's disillusioned married sister Beatrice is sweet and lovely; Robins cunning yet forthright as Veronica's mother; Michael Rupert gentle as Marco's uncle/poet Domenico; Wood appropriately envious yet sympathetic as Marco's wife Guilia. Bryce Ryness as Marco's cousin Maffio, the bitterly unhappy bard offers a tour-de-force performance as the despiccable, pitiless soul, who out of emptiness joins the ranks of the Inquisition.
Charles McNulty, LA Times: Splashy commercial musicals tend to do well at the box office, even mediocre ones with challenging source material and erratic artistic control. But is this really the path that Pasadena Playhouse believes will rejuvenate its standing? Broadway doesn’t need any more suppliers of second-rate goods, but the region could use a dignified venue for authentic, homegrown work.