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BWW Reviews: AFT's Smart and Saucy THE BACHELORS Sparkles at DCA

American Folklore Theatre (AFT) moves indoors to Fish Creek's Door Community Auditorium when producing the 2014's fall season, The Bachelors. Another inspired musical romp by the writing team of the late AFT co-founder Fred Alley (book and lyrics) and James Kaplan (composer), the plot expounds on how "true love" rarely dies, merely becomes reincarnated over 100 years.

With several updates and revisions since The Bachelors' debut in 2001, Director Jeffrey Herbst and Co-Choreographers Herbst and Pam Kriger, revisit these two 35 plus age old roommates, Stew and John, when they begin their friendship in Victorian England. Sworn to the their death to "Be a Bachelor," the clever opening number regales the pursuits of remaining without a wife, a condition a man believes he "would be better dead than falsely married."

When Stew discovers his father betrothed him to Lady Kate, he swears he will never marry her. Until his roommate John declares his love for Kate, to which Stew immediately announces he will go through with the arranged marriage, distressing John. Enter the beautiful young Lady Kate who pleads with John for his undying commitment to her, to run anyway, marry her and deny his inheritance and social position. When John refuses, convinced by Stew's arguments to remain 'a bachelor." Victorian Kate throws herself into the Thames River swearing her own revenge on Stew and John over several lifetimes.

In classy changes of costumes and sets to the 21st century, Stew and John now live unfulfilled as two "modern bachelors," in Madison, Wisconsin, a rather depressing state of affairs for each of them in their quest for women and food in their refrigerator. When the reincarnated Kate enters their "man cave" apartment delivering a midnight pizza, the fun of these bachelors foraging for love and food,, mainly bad tuna fish salad, ensues with delightful frenzy.

Chad Ludberger, Doug Mancheski and the gorgeous Corrie Beula-Kovacs create this highly accomplished Bachelor trio. Ludberger's John mourns his meal choices in "Bad Tuna Fish," and then discovers as Kate says, "How sexy to teach a man to use utensils, a food tool lesson can be a life changing experience" in the heartfelt melody "Chopsticks." Mancheski mourns the loss of his friend John to the saucy Kate, wishing for his own "Noodle Cookie," a song that relates the silliness of newly romancing couples nicknaming each other "boodle-do."

Beula-Kovacs can be devastating in her mini skirt or slim leather pants whenever on stage, or when singing to Stew, "A Bad, Bad Boy." Other charming songs showcasing the trio's comic talents and comely voices resonate in a duet titled "Bachelor Heaven," "Three's A Crowd," and "Dream Ballet," numbers to make an audience smile for the entire month ahead. Kaplan's memorable music matches to the trio's choreographic gymnastics on stage when conducted by Musical Director and Keyboardist Chuck Larkin.

Spice up a Door County fall with this smart and sexy AFT musical from Alley and Kaplan, returning after a too-long hiatus. AFT ups the entertainment ante for younger or old adults at the DCA, a sparkling and scintillating evening where two bachelors and one revengeful woman rediscover that love' is worth the wait while Kate sings, "I've Been A Fool for Love." Patrons might reminisce the unabashed truth that dining and food, when learning to use chopsticks, combined with love make the world go round, in England, Madison or Door County. Afterwards, audiences will anticipate summer 2015, when after 25 years, AFT transforms to Northern Sky Theater and the next half century of musical memories they plan for Door County and around the country.

American Folklore Theatre presetns The Bachelors at Fish Creek's Door Community Auditorium (3926 Highway 42) through October 18. For tickets or information, please call 920.854.6117 or www.folkloretheatre.com


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From This Author Peggy Sue Dunigan