BWW Review: Art-In-Relation Ups Its Production Ante with THE WILD PARTY
Art-In-Relation (A.I.R.) is an innovative production company focusing on breathing new life into lesser-known plays and musical theater. I have seen their productions at other locations throughout the city, but unfortunately the facilities and cast talent in past productions has been less than stellar. So I am very pleased to announce A.I.R. has upped its production ante with their latest production staged at the Dorie Theater in the Complex on Theater Row in Hollywood: Andrew Lippa's musical THE WILD PARTY, based on the poem by Joseph Moncure.
Producer Jonas Sills is most passionate about intimate theater and is to be commended for the move to the heart of "Theater Row" and upgrading his casting to create an atmosphere which will appeal to a wider and more knowledgeable theatre audience.
The show's director Quentin Garzon, who also stars as the lead character Burrs, has put together a top notch cast of incredible singers who know how sell a song with their heart and soul while thoroughly embodying characters who know how to support each other onstage. It's an amazing transformation from past A.I.R. productions.
THE WILD PARTY is a passionate 1920's era musical with lush score, great harmonies, and innovative choreography in such a small space by Steven Nielsen and Alison Miller. Costuming by Melissa Pritchett reminded me of the showy scenes from "Cabaret" in which the Kit Kat Girls wiggle their assets in the barest of lingerie or strut their stuff in elegantly beaded short dresses. And let me tell you - all the women wear them well.
The musical is basically a wild tale of an even wilder night of partying in which Burrs (Garzon) and his girlfriend Queenie (Kristin Miller) switch partners to enrage each other's jealousy, with Queenie hoping the outcome will bring Burrs to his senses about their relationship. But when she spies a handsome playboy in the crowd, all bets are off as to which man will win her heart for the night... or even longer.
The party is also a way for available singles to check out many possibilities, switching partners with the evening being fueled by illegal booze and drugs. (I guess some things never change!) In the process, we are treated to beautiful solos and duets, lively ensemble dance numbers, and the tantalizing "How Did We Come to This?" finale.
Along with Garzon and Miller, the cast features the talents of Brittany Rodin (Kate who pursues Burrs), Jacob Hoff (Black, the handsome playboy), Renee Cohen (Madeline True, the luscious lesbian in the performance I attended, u/s for Ali Miller), Kristin Towers-Rowles (Mae, the petite blonde bombshell), and Jacob Moore (Eddie, Mae's protector/lover). Ensemble members who each portray partygoers include Everjohn Feliciano, John McGavin, Jamie Pierce, Melody Ricketts, Cory Robison, Jenessa Sahagun, Emilia Sotelo, and William Venturini. It's a cast of triple threats who raise the production values to incredible heights, making THE WILD PARTY a show you should not miss. But maybe leave the kids at home for this one!
THE WILD PARTY plays through October 2nd in the Dorie Theater at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA. Performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 8:00, Saturday and Sunday at 2:00. For information and tickets please go to www.artinrelation.com
A.I.R. will follow this production with FRANKENSTEIN: A NEW MUSICAL from October 7th - October 30th in The Flight theater at The Complex. Having produced "Frankenstein" as their inaugural production, Art-In-Relation co-producer Ray Buffer was intrigued with the possibility of bringing the production to the heart of Hollywood. "Re-envisioning the musical in a smaller, more intimate space allows us to create nuances in the performance that were not possible in a large space. This production will aim for visceral relationship between audience and storytellers, where the audience feels they are part of the mindscape," Buffer stated.
Sounds like a perfect Halloween season celebration to me!
Photos courtesy of Arts-in-Relation
Director Quentin Garzon stars as Burrs, host of the Wild Party
Quentin Garzon keeps the party rocking non-stop.
Kristin Miller and Quentin Garzon portray Queenie and Burrs.