BWW Review: Bay Street's THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO
The Bay Street Theatre's dazzling 25th season continues with a wonderful production of Alfred Uhry's enthralling Tony winning play The Last Night Of Ballyhoo. This thrilling show, running through July 24th, truly has something for everybody. It has laughter, drama, it is cerebral, and enlightens you.
The story takes place in a posh German-Jewish community in Atlanta, Georgia, in December of 1939 as the excitement in the town is absolutely electric. This is first due to the world premiere of a little movie called Gone With The Wind and, second, Adolph Freitag's family - his widowed sister Boo, widowed sister-in-law Reba, and nieces Lala and Sunny - are getting ready for Ballyhoo, a lavish ball sponsored by their country club.
Under the superb direction of Will Pomerantz, Bay Street's Associate Artistic Director, the ensemble cast is truly outstanding.
Adolph is superbly portrayed by John Hickok (Broadway: Aida, Parade, et. al.). He owns a company called the Dixie Bedding Company and is a kind business man. Adolph loves both his nieces, but is more of a father figure to college student Sunny, portrayed by Amanda Kristin Nichols. Sunny's mother Reba is ideally portrayed by Dori Legg providing most of the laughs. Sunny and her cousin, Lala, portrayed by Erin Neufer are a bit at odds with one another. It is like sisters, really; Lala thinks Sunny always tries to steal her thunder. Lala's mother, Boo Levy, portrayed by Ellen Harvey (Broadway: How To Succeed In Business..., et. al.), is very strict, but cares about Lala and wants to make sure she has an opportunity to become something in society. Lala ends up going to Ballyhoo with Peachy Weil, from a well-to-do family, portrayed by Daniel Abeles. Things certainly change, however, when Adolph introduces his new employee Joe Farkas, portrayed by Ari Brand (Broadway: The Neil Simon Plays). Joe is a Brooklyn born and bred man of Eastern-European Jewish decent so this, shall we say, complicates things. Initially Lala is smitten over him, but he ends up liking Sunny.
Mr. Pomerantz's creative team is absolutely top-notch as well. Alexander Dodge's excellent set includes a grand stair case, large couch & chair set, and lavish dining area that make up the classy living room. Mr. Dodge also offers a major surprise that I really don't want to spoil, but it is jaw-dropping for the intimate Long Island venue. This is enhanced beautifully by Mike Billing's stunning lighting and Lindsay Davis' divine costumes that features a Scarlett O'Hara inspired dress for the GWTW-obsessed Lala.
And so, The Last Night Of Ballyhoo is indeed another hit for the Bay Street Theatre. The immersive experience of a beautifully intimate venue, a stellar cast, and a clever story make this a thrilling night of theatre.
The Last Night Of Ballyhoo is presented by the Bay Street Theatre of Sag Harbor, Long Island, through July 24th.
Starring Daniel Abeles as Peachy Weil, Ari Brand as Joe Farkas, Ellen Harvey as Boo Levy, John Hickok as Adolph Freitag, Dori Legg as Reba Freitag, Erin Neufer as Lala Levy, and Amanda Kristin Nichols as Sunny Freitag
By Alfred Uhry, Directed by Directed by Will Pomerantz, Set Design by Alexander Dodge, Lighting Design by Mike Billings, Costume Design by Lindsay W. Davis, Sounds Design by Jane Shaw, Props by Andrew Diaz, Hair & Wig Design by Meg Murphy, Stage Management by Kat West, Casting by Stewart/Whitley.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.
Photo by Lenny Stucker/ LennyStucker.com; The cast of The Last Night Of Ballyhoo