Make us your home page
Instagram

Cast's spirit lifts Richey Suncoast Theatre's 'Nice Work If You Can Get It'

Richey Suncoast Theatre continues to bat 1.000 with its third big show of the regular season, Nice Work If You Can Get It, the 2012 Broadway musical featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin and a Drama Desk Award-winning and Tony-nominated book by Joe DiPietro.

Like this season's previous shows, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Leading Ladies, Nice Work boasts a terrific cast and crew, this time featuring deft direction by David Bethards and Linda Hoagland; rip-roaring dances by resident choreographer Melissa Smith; colorful, era-setting costumes and props by Emily Nettnin, and, well, nice work by music director Mark Anthony Jelks' seven-piece combo, even if the overture was a tad jagged.

The story takes place in the Roaring '20s, but the show's sensibilities are definitely 21st century, with sly political and cultural zingers zip-zapping everyone. The pace is perfect, the scene changes swift and unobtrusive, lights and sounds right on cue, and the overall spirit of the show over the moon.

Elizabeth Phillips is splendid as Billie Bendix, the tough-talking, assertive, confident boss of a three-person gin-smuggling ring. She's macho, but soft; commanding, but kind; and her voice and face are those of a angel, longing for Someone to Watch Over Me, lamenting love lost in But Not for Me, brazen as she plays an aggressive serving maid Hangin' Around With You and Treat Me Rough and moving as she wonders Will You Remember Me?

The always-delightful Brian Moran is a darling as Jimmy Winter, a spoiled, much-married playboy who wants to please his rich, demanding mother (a superb Linda Willding) and still have his heart's desire. Moran delivers writer DiPietro's one-liners with zest and a knowing little smirk, earning many of the show's biggest laughs.

Jeff Schoonmaker plays the role of his life as Cookie McGee, a smart, scheming bootlegger with a heart of brass. The directors capitalize on Schoonmaker's talents, and he really comes through, popping up at just the right moment to add comedy and laughter to what could otherwise be plain vanilla scenes.

He's blessed to share several scenes with Jessica Glass, as Duchess Woodford, the self-righteous, anti-booze president of the Society of Dry Women, a moniker that gets eye rolls even from its owner. Glass' fearless physical humor is a show-stopper, and her strong, sure voice rings to the rafters.

Megan Gillespie is adorable as Eileen Evergreen, the off-key, clumsy diva of modern dance, a commendable performance by an actor who's actually a fine singer and dancer.

Icing on the cake is Michael McGuigan as the dim-bulb bootlegger Duke Maloney, mistaken for English royalty by the simple-minded chorus girl Jeannie Muldoon, played by a cute and appealing Janine Paradiso. Tony Carico is the consummate double-speaking politician/minister Senator Max Evergreen, bloviating at the drop of a lemonade glass. Jim Steele is the aces as the quick-on-the-draw Police Chief Berry, his comical send-up of overzealous police moves a hoot.

The nine-member ensemble is a delight singing and dancing big production numbers with agility and finesse, from Eileen's bathtub caper Delishious with choreographer Smith's ingenious use of a big bath sheet to show off some fancy footwork, to the entire cast filling the stage with movement and color to Fascinating Rhythm, with lots in between.

Nice Work shows off those old, beloved, hummable Gershwin tunes, but its snappy, surprise-a-minute dialogue and up-to-date sentiments make it as appealing — okay, even more appealing — than many big, long-running Broadway hits. The execution by the bunch at Richey Suncoast does the whole thing up proud, providing a fine piece of entertainment and something not to be missed by anyone who enjoys musical theater.

>>if you go

Nice Work If You Can Get It, a musical, at 8 p.m. March 10, 11, 17 and 18, and at 2:30 p.m. March 12 and 19, at Richey Suncoast Theatre, 6237 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey. Tickets are $18 cash, $20.07 credit card, reserved seating. Call (727) 842-6777.

Cast's spirit lifts Richey Suncoast Theatre's 'Nice Work If You Can Get It' 03/06/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 5:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 24

    Events

    Zac Brown Band: The country, folk and Southern rockers embark on the "Welcome Home" tour in support of the album. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $27.50-$77.50. (813) 740-2446.

    Handout photo of the Zac Brown Band, performing at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on 9/24/17. Credit: Shore Fire Media
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 23

    Events

    Smithsonian Museum Day Live: Museums across the nation partner with the Smithsonian to offer free admission for one day. Among them are Florida Holocaust Museum, Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs.Cracker Country in Tampa, Ringling Museum of Art. Note: Dalí Museum is free for Pinellas County …

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  3. Tampa Repertory's 'Flying' soars in some places, sputters in others

    Stage

    TAMPA — Tampa Repertory Theatre has always insisted on putting on plays that mean something. Several shows over the last couple of years have zeroed in on the social and cultural baggage that comes with being female (The Children's Hour, Silent Sky and Grounded come to mind). None of those …

    The Southeastern premiere of Flying, Sheila Cowley's play at Tampa Repertory Theatre about veterans of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, includes (from left) Holly Marie Weber, Rosemary Orlando, and Becca McCoy. Photo by Megan Lamasney.
  4. After 22 years, it's last call for beloved Ybor venue New World Brewery

    Music & Concerts

    YBOR CITY — Steve Bird spreads his tools across a patio table. He has awnings to unbolt and paraphernalia to unpry, from the busted Bop City neon by the stage to the Simpsons "El Duffo o Muerte" mural in the courtyard. He'll uproot a fountain and dismantle a roof and attempt to keep his bar intact. The …

    Various decor and memorabilia fill the walls and shelves at New World Brewery in Ybor City.
Long time music venue and hangout New World Brewery in Ybor City will be closing it's doors and moving locations. Patrons enjoy one of the last events before New World Brewery changes its location to Busch Blvd in Tampa.  [Photo Luis Santana | Times]