Review: Put On Your LITTLE BLACK DRESS and Be Ready to Party, Hoot and Holler at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
From Coco Chanel's 1926 Ford dress, Audrey's Breakfast at Tiffany's, Lady Di's revenge dress to Liz Hurley's jaw dropping, safety-pinned Versace, the little black dress' silhouette has changed over the years. And given how often and in so many difference circumstances a LITTLE BLACK DRESS can be worn, most likely there are many important life-changing moments during which the memory of wearing it at that time opened up the capacity for limitless personal reinvention.
No doubt every woman, and probably a few men, have a little black dress in their closet just waiting for the next moment when the right wrap, jacket or string of white pearls to adorn it will create another life-long remembrance. That LBD is the inspiration behind LITTLE BLACK DRESS The Musical, a world premiere production featuring an original script and score from the hilarious women of Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody including writer Danielle Trzcinski, writer/music by Natalie Tenenbaum (Tony-nominated Mean Girls Broadway), writer Amanda Barker (Sirius XM's Canada Laughs), and writer/director Christopher Bond (DISENCHANTED, Evil Dead The Musical!).
Beside that LBD in your closet, I know how the entire Fifty Shades phenomenon opening up a world of sexual exploitation for women everywhere, making the outrageous seem common place when it comes to sexual encounters. Certainly the LBD you own has been along with you on a first date, job interview, or perhaps several sexual conquests since the power of the dress as it hugs your curves and makes you feel like Wonder Woman can inspire you to be even more than you think you are!
Such is the story line in LITTLE BLACK DRESS, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City through December 15. In it, we follow the heartfelt and utterly comical story of Dee (Trzcinski) and her best friend Mandy (Jennette Cronk) experiencing life through their little black dresses, including realizing their own mothers' LBD most likely led to their conceptions, as well as their first job interview, first date, first awkward sexual experience, second awkward sexual experience and more! Using hilarious improv, catchy songs, and a story that will ring true with women everywhere, LITTLE BLACK DRESS will continue to make audiences across the globe laugh, cry, and party!
Along with the talented Trzcinski and Cronk, the touring cast includes Jenna Cormey who was in the recent National Touring production FRIENDS! The Musical Parody at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. These three women play more characters and wear more LBDs than I could count, with each scene a standout on its own with enough off-color humor to inspire the audience's hooting and hollering! But he prepared - several will be called upon to participate, with the cast using their spectacular improv skills to make your story part of the play. This, of course, guarantees every performance will be unique and utterly personal for many who attend.
But just like Fifty Shades, there has to be a hot man to inspire us to reach for the stars, so to speak, and LITTLE BLACK DRESS features the perfect sexy guy in the form of Clint Hromsco who changes costumes continuously and often disrobes onstage to the delight of the audience. Sure, his policeman stripper provided the necessary and so-expected half-naked eye candy, but it was his stepping out in several LBD variations that stole the comical cake!
With so many variations on display during the show, I would love to know where Costume Designer Gwyneth Barton found all the different types of dresses which worked so well on all the body shapes of the cast as I really would love her advice on where to find the perfect LBD for my own curves and closet. Kudos to director Christopher Bond for keeping the action moving along at a steady pace and for allowing the utmost in personal expression to feel perfectly normal throughout the show, both on stage and in the audience.
The only advice I have to make the show even better is to drop the severe speech impediment used early in the show by one of the characters as it made her words difficult to understand and ruined some of the humor in the scene. And honestly, since it was put on and not her real speech pattern, ultimately, I found it rather demeaning and out of place given the humorous nature of the musical. Choose something else to denote that character, please.
LITTLE BLACK DRESS is a fearlessly funny girls' night out musical and the perfect show for every bachelorette party, birthday, anniversary, reunion or date night. And though not required, please feel free to wear your own LBD and pose for photos with the cast after the show, which is also a must-see for any man looking to decode the mystery of every woman's secret weapon - the LBD. With hilarious show-stopping musical numbers, "Magic Mike" influenced dancing, and loads of improvised audience mayhem makes for one wild and unforgettable evening!
To give you a taste of what to expect, here are a few of the songs you will hear: "The Power of the Dress," "He Must Really Like Me," "I Knew It," "Whatever You Want," "A Night You'll Never Forget," "Tequila to my Lime," and "Call Your Girls" which celebrates the many moments in which we girls need to stick together whether in a LBD or not. So grab a few of your besties and get to the Kirk Douglas Theatre this week to celebrate your feminine wiles and be sure to wear that LITTLE BLACK DRESS hiding in the back of your closet!
LITTLE BLACK DRESS The Musical is a guest production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 through December 15 on Tuesday - Friday at 8:00 pm; Saturday at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm; and Sunday at 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm. Tickets start at $25 and are available online at LittleBlackDressTheMusical.com or KirkDouglasTheatre.org; and by phone at 213-628-2772. Group tickets can be purchased by calling 213-972-7231 or by email at Groups1@CTGLA.org.
For more information about future tour dates of LITTLE BLACK DRESS, visit LittleBlackDressTheMusical.com or the show's page on Facebook where you can see photos of the many audience members who were selected to participate in each of the shows.The run time is 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission. Patrons should be advised that the production has adult themes and strong language, and is recommended for ages 19+.
There is FREE three-hour covered parking at Culver City City Hall (enter on Duquesne Ave.) with validation, which can be processed in the Douglas lobby - patrons should bring their parking ticket to the theatre. The parking rate is $1 for each 30 minutes thereafter.
Production photos by Rebecca McNicholas