BWW Review: THE STAR SPANGLED GIRL at Stage Coach Theater
Even if you are a fan of Neil Simon plays, you still may not have heard of THE STAR SPANGLED GIRL. Simon's plays usually have imperfect, unheroic characters, living in New York, finding themselves in or out of love, ending in tragedy, or making it just at the last second. All are full of witty one liners, wisecracks and moments an audience member can relate to.
STAR SPANGLED GIRL follows suit (though it is one of only 2 plays of Simon that take place out of New York City). This little-known Simon play is the story of two bachelors struggling to keep their magazine "Fallout" afloat. Andy, played by Don VanPraag, is the publisher and businessman, and Norman, played by Cameron McCown, writes all of the articles. Their lives are interrupted when Sophie Rauschmeyer, played by Emily Grover, moves into the upstairs apartment. It's love at first sight (or smell as it is in the play) for Norman, but the feelings are not mutual. Because of Norman's obsession,and his lack of work since Sophie arrived, Andy hires her to keep Norman happy so he will continue writing. In turn, Sophie falls for Andy which threatens to ruin the magazine and the friendship between the boys.
As is normal in Simon's more popular plays, most of the scenes are typical two-character ones. Andy and Norman have several arguments and dialogue reminiscent of Oscar and Felix from the Odd Couple. Though, this is not Simon's best work. Even the playwright himself said it "was the only play I ever wrote where I did not have a clear visual image of the characters in my mind as I sat down at the typewriter." It shows. However, it is still funny.
McCown as Norman is fantastic as the awkward nerd next door whose one liners and manic actions to win the girl bring out the belly laughs. VanPraag has the voice/voices and presence of a strong leading man, but enough quirk to make him right for the mischief Andy finds himself in. Also, Grover carries Sophie with strength and charm. These three actors are the reason to see this show.
The 1960's set is bright and beautiful, and the creative team lead by director, Shelby Bay did a wonderful job of setting and theme. Be sure to take a trip to Stage Coach Theater this July to check out THE STAR SPANGLED GIRL.
Get Tickets at www.eventbrite.com/org/2762190930