Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stefanie Powers Gets "Looped" in Fort Lauderdale


A Finely-Tuned “Looped” at Parker Playhouse

By Skip Sheffield

Playwright Matthew Lombardo has evidently been amplifying and fine-tuning his play “Looped,” continuing through March 3 at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.
A beaming Lombardo was on hand in the lobby opening night. I had met him in the play’s initial run in 2008, when it played at the Cuillo Center in West Palm Beach. I also met the star, Valerie Harper, who originated the role and played the larger-than-life stage and screen actress Tallulah Bankhead.
Due to health issues, Harper was unable to reprise her role for a second shot at Broadway.
Harper’s good friend Stephanie Powers was tapped to take over as Tallulah. Take over she most definitely has.
“Looped” is funnier and more affecting the second time around. Though Harper poured her heart and soul into the role of a once-major star in decline, Powers may be better suited for the role. Physically she looks more like a stage and movie star, and in reality she is probably better-known and more popular than Valerie Harper.
Whatever the reason, Powers in short order has nailed the role. Her timing is impeccable, and though she stumbled a few times verbally, her confidence and sense of entitlement were unwavering.
“Looped” is inspired by an actual looping or re-dubbing session for Bankhead’s last film, “Die! Die! My Darling.” It was a potboiler British horror film, with Bankhead as a religious zealot and Stephanie Powers- yes that Stephanie Powers- as a young woman who becomes her target for vengeance.
What should have been a 10-minute exercise in the summer of 1965 turned into a daylong endurance test for film editor Danny Miller (Brian Hutchison) and a sound technician known only as Steve (Matthew Longo).
Bankhead sets the mood by being three hours late before making her very theatrical entrance in a mink coat and dark glasses. Bankhead procrastinates and mocks the two men, making unreasonable demands, which they meekly fulfill. A major demand is for booze, as Bankhead cheerfully proclaims she is an alcoholic, and coke-head too.
Bankhead is boastful of her sexuality and promiscuity with either sex.
You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to know Bankhead’s outrageous personae is a mask for inner pain. Businesslike Danny has his inner turmoil as well, which is explored in detail in Act Two by Brian Hutchison, who originated the role. It is this soul-searching that elevates “Looped” above mere clever one-liner comedy.
“Looped” didn’t do very well in its initial 2010 run on Broadway, closing after only 52 performances. My hunch is that the time is right for this finely-tuned revival. Catch it while you can.
Tickets are $28-$66.50. Call 954-462-0222.

Yoonie Han Recital at Steinway Piano Gallery

If you missed Yoonie Han’s performance at the Feb. 24 concert with Boca Raton Symphonia, you have one more chance to experience this brilliant young Korean pianist.
Piano Lovers present Han in a performance of Liszt at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 2 at Steinway Piano gallery. Tickets are $20 advance and $30 at the door.
Also at Steinway Gallery, pianist Sofiya Uryvayeva plays at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 3, presented by Brandeis University. Tickets are $20 members and $25 guests.
At 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7 there will be a free recital of FAU piano students.
Call 561-982-8887.

Chicago” at Boca Raton Theatre Guild

Boca Raton Theatre Guild presents the musical “Chicago” March 1-17 at the Willow Theatre of Sugar Sand Park.
Avi Hoffman starts as flim-flam flamboyant lawyer Billy Flynn and Patti Gardner co-stars as his client Roxie Hart, accused of murdering her husband in 1920s gangland Chicago. Playing Roxie’s rival Velma is Krisha Marcano. Sally Bondi is prison Matron Ma Morton as Ken Clement is Roxie’s woebegone husband Amos Hart.
Tickets are $35 at the box office, 561-347-3948 or BRTG at

No comments:

Post a Comment