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Review: CITY OF ANGELS, Theatre Raleigh

A beautiful opening for the newly renovated theater 

Review: CITY OF ANGELS, Theatre Raleigh

You could still smell the new paint in the newly refurbished theater during the opening night of Theatre Raleigh's CITY OF ANGELS. It's fitting that director and choreographer Lauren Kennedy Brady was fulfilling a dream of bringing this production to life while also debuting the company's new theater. Theatre Raleigh is one of the best local theaters and it's exciting to see them in such a wonderful space.

CITY OF ANGELS, with a book by Larry Gelbart, tells two stories at once: a writer adapting his novel into a screenplay and the story of a detective that he has written. Many of the roles are double cast, often in ways that reflect the relationships between the characters. Stine (Adam Halpin) is dealing with studio interReview: CITY OF ANGELS, Theatre Raleigh ferance in the form of Buddy (Happy Mahaney). Mahaney is hilarious as the quirky, arrogant Buddy and his almost manic energy contrasts well with Halpin's dulcet-toned and endearing Stine.

In addition to his work troubles, Stine is struggling in his marriage to Gabby (Amber Nicole Guest) and to keep his eye from wandering to Buddy's secretary, Donna (Megan McGinnis). Meanwhile, in the black and white world of Stine's novel turned film, relationship drama abounds. The detective Stone (Adam Monley) has been hired by the sultry Alura (Juliana Valente) to find her incapacitated husband's missing daughter. Sparks fly between the stoic detective and the femme fatale, despite his secretary Oolie's (McGinnis) neverending loyalty to him.

Review: CITY OF ANGELS, Theatre Raleigh The musical pays homage to film noir movies of the 1940s, from its heavy use of voiceover to its playful innuendos to its character tropes. The period setting is further highlighted with Kahei Shum McRae's gorgeous costumes. Chris Bernier's scenic design is fairly elaborate and ambitious for this space and cleverly divides the world of the writer from that of the story. However, the projections are often more distracting than useful.

CITY OF ANGELS has music by Cy Coleman with lyrics by David Zippel. While some of the songs are not particularly memorable, there are a handful of standouts. McGinnis delights with both her lovely vocals and comedic talents in "You Can Always Count on Me," sung by both of her characters together. The duet between Gabby and Oolie, "What You Don't Know About Women," is similarly charming. The men's duet between Stine and Stone, "You're Nothing Without Me," is another highlight while Halpin's vocals shine in "Funny."

Review: CITY OF ANGELS, Theatre Raleigh From its fantastic cast to the live band to the design, it's clear that the whole team have poured their heart into CITY OF ANGELS. It offers comedy and laughs in addition to great vocal performances, plus the chance to see theater power couple McGinnis and Halpin together onstage. The refurbished Theatre Raleigh home is one of the most exciting places to see theatre in the Triangle and CITY OF ANGELS demonstrates why.

CITY OF ANGELS is at Theatre Raleigh through August 14. You can find more information and buy tickets here.

Regional Awards


From This Author - Nicole Ackman

Nicole Ackman returned to her native Raleigh, North Carolina after living in London and New York City. She studied communications and history at Elon University and earned her Master’s in Art... (read more about this author)


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