THE ORGY IS NOT THE CATCH, WHAT WILL STEAL YOUR BREATH IS THE SIZZLING CAST AND OVERALL PRODUCTION - WILD PARTY IS A HIGHLIGHT OF THE 2016 SPRING THEATRE SEASON.
I was late to the party at Victoria Stage for THE WILD PARTY, but you can’t be late, this thrilling sexy production has one more weekend in the SF Mission. Ray of Light Theatre brings the debauchery to the Victoria Theatre until only Saturday, June 12.
Based on a 1928 poem by New Yorker editor, John Moncure March, Andrew Lippa’s sexy powerful musical is a wild party that spins out of control. Director Jenn BeVard brings a talented sizzling cast to the Victoria stage and makes this Ray of Light Theatre’s hottest production I have seen. THE WILD PARTY was first staged at Off Broadway’s Manhattan Theatre Club in 2000. Writer composer Andrew Lippa’s book, words and music are deep and blue, and of course bring on some “Cabaret”, “Chicago,”and “Three Penny Opera” memories, but this is much more.
Jason Hoover, artistic director for Ray of Light, says “The Wild Party is a show we should have done years ago, as the script and score bring the type of raw and passionate storytelling we have become known for, to the stage,- The Wild Party (is) the evening before the start of the Great Depression will bring us into the world of the late 1920’s, an era with ideals of living life on the edge, which couldn’t be more contemporary”
I really want to keep this short, so that you can read this, be inspired, close my blog and get on line to order the remaining sets for this weekends closing shows. But I need to mention this amazing cast and creative team. Director BeVard pulls out all her creative powers to keep this party at 100%. Her 14 member brilliant cast has an energy that brings the dark side of this story all its power.
Burrs, the clown, played so well by Paul Grant Hovannes sings a powerful “Out of the Blue” with his dear Queenie played by the awe-inspiring Jocelyn Pickett. Their dark romance is highlighted in the song “Let Me Down”. Pickett as Queenie has a beautiful voice and brings it full force for “Raise the Roof” one of the show stopping moments, and “Who Is This Man?” Hovannes is keen at recreating Lippa’s work and brings that dark madness to this frightening clown. Alexandra Feifers as dizzy Kate is a guest at the party who falls for the clown, Burrs. Feifers sings “Look at me Now” with a charming voice and great intensity as she keeps that smile with the coco she has in her bra (if she wears one). In the second act Feifers continues to bring it with her impressive “The Life of the Party” as she opens act II.
RaMond Thomas is fully-realized as Black, the perfect guest, who shares the iconic bathtub with Queenie. Thomas and Pickett sing “Of All The Luck” and it captures the tone of BeVard’s direction and David Aaron Brown’s 10 member on stage band. Brown's music direction is exceptional. The Orchestra is designed into Erik LaDue’s eye catching set of velvet drapes, ramps and a vintage bar full of aging bottles and history.
Madeline True is played by Kathryn Fox Hart she has an exceptional solo with “An Old-Fashioned Love Story,”. Powerhouse and local favorite Daniel Barrington Rubio and Lizzie O’Hara have the best timing as the giant boxer and his twink girlfriend. They are the perfect match in the show stopping number “Two of a Kind.” Rubio is always a marvelous addition to any cast he works with, a true Bay Area favorite as the lovable big guy hero boxer.
Zachariah Mohammed and James Mayagoitia are the adorable umbrella spinning guests and shine in the dance numbers. With choreography by Alex Rodriguez, the show is at full throttle with provocative unexpected dance orgies. Rodriquez avoids the easy turn to Fossie, and brings his own jazz class to this production; it is sexy, hot and infectious. Malakani Severson as Jackie has a beautiful hot solo dance that sets up the madness of the orgy. The cast strips to mostly nothing and Joe D’Emilio’s haunting lighting is the 15th member of this cast, his explosive eerie mood is highlighted by chandeliers and buckets of backlight and down stage spots. As the orgy ends and the casts sleeps and rests on stage as the blood starts to pour.
The fantastic company also includes the awesome Lizzy Moss as Nadine, the sexy tall Roy Eikleberry as guest Sam. Ayelet Firstenberg will steal your heart as Dolores, and kicks Rodriguez’s dance moves to perfection. Guest, Max, is the shy but ferocious Jason Rehklau. The sometimes skimpy costumes by Sibilla Carini and Melissa Wortman have that dark black satin look, and the vintage full costumes are rich with texture. Queenie is mostly in off white, yet her frock turns as she is seduced by the story, her look transforms to heartless lingerie. The men are also dapper in their "lived in" Tux and earth tone vests.
Hovannes and Pickett sing “Make Me Happy” in the darker moments of the closing act, and both shock the old Victoria to the back of the theatre. The fight scenes mix with Rodriguez’s brilliance, include Joshua Marx fight choreography that bring the musical to a different mode, but one that is not expected. Marx is a pro at bringing his actors more than fancy ballet and tumbling moves. The WILD PARTY audiences approve each night of this run with an instant standing O. Ray of Light Theatre is to be commended for highlighting an already stunning season with this erotic excellent production. Hurry down to the Victoria in SF Missions District to see the final performances. It is easy to score a ticket and well worth it.
Ray of Light Theatre
THE WILD PARTY
Book Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Based on poem by Joseph Moncure March
Directed by Jenn BeVard, Music Director David Aaron Brown
Choreographer Alex Rodriguez
Closes June 11th 2016
2961 16th Street SF Ca
2 hours and 15 minutes
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RayofLightTheatre/?fref=ts
Photo’s by Nick Otto