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Review - Goldilocks: Lousy Title, Fun Show


It's my firm belief that if composer Leroy Anderson, lyricist Joan Ford and bookwriter/lyricists Walter & Jean Kerr had named their brash and funny 1958 musical comedy about the love/hate relationship between a silent movie director and his reluctant star anything other than Goldilocks, it might not only have had a longer run than its five months on Broadway, but would have been a popular choice among regional and amateur theatres as well. With a good collection of snazzy tunes and well-crafted lyrics (most notably the semi-standard torcher, "I Never Know When To Say When") and a book loaded with guffaws and wise-cracks (originally quipped by stars Elaine Stritch and Don Ameche), Goldilocks is a solid example of a show that, if not exactly a musical theatre triumph, provided a fun night out for audiences in an era when affordable ticket prices meant that not every Broadway production had to be a huge event.

In presenting director Daniel Haley's pocket-sized mounting of Goldilocks on the tiny cabaret stage of The Duplex, the Opening Doors Theatre Company - who specializes in spirited revivals of underappreciated musicals, many of which have developed cult followings - closes its second season with exactly that; a fun night out. Jean McCormick and Billy Sharpe sharply trade verbal jabs and sing with gusto (no microphones) as the stage performer who's ready to quit show business and marry the wealthy and respectable man of her dreams and the arrogant silent flick director who has her contracted to do one final film. (He gives her the screen name "Goldilocks" because she doesn't want her name to be associated with the project.) Comic complications arise because the director has been regularly hoarding funds for "miscellaneous expenses" from his backer in order to one day finance his dream project, an ancient Egyptian epic. But when he gets word that financial support ends with the completion of his current 2-reeler, he dreams up ways to make the film longer and extend the time needed to shoot, thus delaying the star's marriage plans.

This production features four songs cut before the Broadway opening; a quick chorus number and three solos that beefed up the supporting roles originally essayed by Pat Stanley ("Tagalong Kid"), Margaret Hamilton ("My Last Spring") and Nathaniel Frey ("Little Girls Should Be Seen"). Though none of them are lost gems, they all receive fine deliveries from Jennifer Teska, Rachael Lee and Lee Chavellier. Teska puts in an adorable turn as the cutesy girl-next-door crushing on the director and Andrew McLeavey is very funny as the overly noble fiancé of the reluctant star. Ryan Hallett, Clare Chihambakwe and Rachel Louise Thomas make up the rest of the charming ensemble, led by music director/accompanist Jessica Stewart.

Goldilocks' brief run continues with 7pm performances tonight and tomorrow (September 13 &14) and then Opening Doors starts planning out its next season of rarely-seen Broadway revivals. With enjoyable productions of great titles like Bring Back Birdie, Whoop-Up and The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public already under their belts, musical theatre lovers are bound to be delighted with their choices.

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From This Author Kristin Salaky