Thursday, February 4, 2010

Always Alice in Delray Beach

"A... My Name Will Alway Be Alice" Revived at Delray Beach Playhouse

When you are in the moment it is difficult if not impossible to stand back and recognize the significance of what is going on around you.
When I first saw “A… My Name is Alice” I thought that’s a nice little show; a little daring too, with a distinct feminist air.
That was 25 years or so ago. Now comes “A… My Name Will Always Be Alice,” running through Feb. 14 at Delray Beach Playhouse. It is a landmark show, still fresh after all these years, based on the original and two sequels.
We attended the show at the behest of technical director Chip Latimer, a man not given to hyperbole. He told me it was an extraordinary show and had one of the strongest casts he had ever seen at DBPH.
Latimer was right. Most of the six-women cast are regulars at Lake Worth Playhouse and all boast impressive resumes and beautiful voices.
Since “Alice” is a musical revue written by a number of writers female and male, it has a variety of voices and perspectives.
The performers represent various types, starting with ingénue Lauren Paley, who is a junior at GSTAR School of the Arts.
Paley has the richest, loveliest voice in the cast, and it is not surprising she intends to pursue a career in musical theater.
Helen Buttery has been in a couple shows at DBPH and is an accomplished comedian, which nicely fits her droll role as angry poetess Marta Kauffman. Director Randolph DelLago informs me Kauffman went on to greater fame and fortune as creator of the hit series “Friends.”
A vocal coach with a Master’s Degree, Debbie Goldberg is also a very funny woman with a sultry vocal style befitting her blues spoof, “Honeypot.” Her sister Cindy Goldberg is a hoot in the nonsensical “French Song.”
It is amazing how many soon-to-be famous people are represented in the pastiche created by Joan Micklin Silver and Julianne Boyd.
David Zippel, who wrote the anthemic opener “All Girl Band,” went on to write lyrics for Cy Coleman in “City of Angels.”
“Wheels,” wistful, beautiful ballad sung by Kaitrin Lynch, and bittersweet “The Portrait,” sung by Marla Gideos, were written by Amanda McBroom, who later penned Bette Midler’s massive hit, “The Rose.”
The list goes on. This is a ground-breaking show wonderfully realized by the oldest community theater in South Florida. Even the stagehands have fun, with pirouettes and pseudo-balletic moves.
Best of all, you don’t have to be a woman or a feminist to enjoy this funny, melancholy, ironic, absurd and yes, sexy entertainment.
In its 63rd year, Delray Beach Playhouse is not just for grandparents anymore.
Tickets are $25 ($12 students). Call 561-272-1281, ext. 4.

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