BWW Review: CALENDAR GIRLS at Connecticut Cabaret Theatre
On Saturday, June 29, I had the pleasure of seeing another first-rate production at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin, CT, CALENDAR GIRLS. Based on a true story, this comedy is written by Tim Firth. As director, Kris McMurray continues to bring out the best in this stellar cast that includes many familiar faces within Connecticut Cabaret Theatre.
The set depicts the inside of a room, with an exit in the center. All the entrances and exits come through the center doors. For the first time to my recollection, at Connecticut Cabaret Theatre, a curtain is drawn at one point during the production. This provides more time for some cast members to make some of the many costume changes that this show requires.
The stage chemistry between Karen Gagliardi and Barbara Horan picks up right where it left off when they starred together in The Cemetery Club. In CALENDAR GIRLS, they play the roles of friends Chris and Annie, respectively. Chris is a very open and free-spirited character while Annie is slightly more reserved. The dynamics between the two characters plays out very well. When cancer takes the life of Annie's husband John, who is excellently portrayed by Russell Fish, the story takes a turn. To raise money, Chris and Annie, with four of their friends, decide to pose suggestively for pictures to be placed into a calendar.
Carleigh Cappetta-Schultz, Tracey Brown, Bonnie Sprague, and Jen Nadeau brilliantly play the other four friends Celia, Ruth, Jessie, and Cora, respectively. Celia is the most confident to be posing for the calendar, while Ruth, Jessie, and Cora have their reservations, Ruth even initially refusing.
The six lead actresses are convincing in their reactions to each other and how they all remain in character, while on stage, regardless of who is delivering the lines at any given moment. It is clear that the entire cast is having a great time up on stage, sending positive energy that flows throughout the audience.
James J. Moran steals the scene when he arrives as Lawrence, the young photographer who is uncomfortable, yet excited to be the one who gets to take the pictures of these six middle-aged women who are braless, yet covered by various items during the photo shoot. The actresses tastefully pull this off without any wardrobe malfunctions, with James J. Moran as Lawrence providing priceless reactions during this scene.
The calendars turn out to be far more successful than any of them imagined the calendars would be. This leads to increased sales and opportunities, as well as increased revenue. After the six women have been branded as calendar models who like to remove their clothes for the pictures, however, it became expected of them in a later photo shoot, much to their chagrin.
Nancy Ferenc, Dave Wall, Abby Brooks, CJ Janis, and Linda Kelly also enhance the show with cameo appearances.
Will the women be willing to continue posing provocatively? What made Ruth change her mind about posing for the calendar? Why do Chris and Annie have sharp differences as to whether to partake in the next photo shoot? Will one of them convince the other to change her mind? Come to the show and find out!
I highly recommend CALENDAR GIRLS which is scheduled to continue to run at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin, CT, through August 3rd, 2019 on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 P.M., but with no performances on July 5 and July 6. For tickets, please call the box office at 860-829-1248.