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Broadway Blog - The Dome: You're The Top

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Below are BroadwayWorld.com's blogs from Thursday, February 26, 2009. Catch up below on anything that you might have missed from BroadwayWorld.com's bloggers!

The Dome: You're The Top
by Michael Dale - February 26, 2009

Whether the Prospect Theater Company is presenting a Dadaist piece about the birth of Dada or a kick-ass musical comedy about Tin Pan Alley tunesmiths putting on a show for the Soviet Union, the theatregoer's eye will inevitable be drawn to the elegantly simple dome that towers above their West End Theatre playing space inside The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul.  So for the company's ten year anniversary, their adventurous artistic director, Cara Reichel, conceived and curated a site-specific piece called The Dome, inspired by their home's architecture.

With nine writers creating the music, lyrics and spoken text and three directors mounting their particular pieces of this multi-media collage, the evening has a light, free-for-all quality that, while certainly entertaining is not quite as thought-provoking as the show's tag line, "What are you certain of, that you can't prove?"  And while the staging has its fun moments, The Dome turns out to be no more site specific than any number of productions you might see performed in a space not originally intended to be a theatre.

But that's not to say there isn't a lot to enjoy.  There's an amiable sense of youthful creativity permeating the proceedings, mixing abstract theatre with innocent fun.

Three main scenarios are played out in short scenes throughout the evening.  "Hypothesis" (written by Laura Marks, directed by Stefanie Sertich) involves the intellectual sexplay and debates over faith versus science (okay, the tag line is at least approached here) between the poet/philosopher Voltaire (Dino Antoniou) and scientist/mathematician Emilie du Chatelet (Dorothy Abrahams).  "Hey Baby" (music and lyrics by Marisa Michelson, book and lyrics by Rinne Groff, directed by May Adrales) focuses on an unmarried couple (John Gardner and Kathryn Holtkamp) expecting their first child and the hyper-anxiety felt by the dad-to-be.  While both stories are well-performed their initial charms tend to peter out.

"Break Time" (written and directed by David A. Miller), while perhaps the most predictable of the playlets, is nevertheless a nicely satisfying quirky romance between two of the theatre's janitors - the free-spirited Missy (Sarah Bowles) and the introverted Martin (Andrew Zimmerman) - which is mimicked by silent clowns Jesse Kearney and the adorably impish Kyle Williams.

There are no directing credits for the remaining pieces of the collage, which include four monologues by Norman Lasca, dealing with subjects such as a man's (Travis Allen) observations on Giant's Stadium and a girl's (Britt Lower) love for her favorite pair of shoes.  Along with a musical sequence that tests the space's acoustics and meditational projections by Richard Dibella seen above us, the material in The Dome often seems to have the potential to be intriguing, but more often than not lands in the vicinity of pleasant.

Perhaps one director with a solid vision would have turned The Dome into a thematically stronger theatrical work.  But then, that probably would have gone against the whole intention of the piece.

Photo of Andrew Zimmerman and Sarah Bowles by Gerry Goodstein



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