THESPIAN THOUGHTS: TANGLIN’ HEARTS
Yee-haw! Rednecks and romance make a winning combination in this crowd-pleasing country and western musical.
Theatre Review by SANDRO MONETTI
Your toes will be tapping throughout Theatre 40’s charming tale of cowboys and cowgirls singing, dancing and smooching in modern day Texas.
A hard-working cast of red blooded characters get their hearts and minds in a tangle against the backdrop of a good versus evil tale storyline of good ol’ boys trying to preserve their land from a greedy businessman who wants to turn it into a toxic waste dump.
Loosely based on Shakespeare’s As You Like It but seemingly having more in common with Footlose, the show features many memorable and funny original songs, of which the best is Don’t Fall in Love with a Loser.
Newcomer Madison Cassaday is the standout performer and sings, strums and acts expertly as guitar carrying good guy Jesse Wells and his scenes with Heather Barr as unlucky in love Rosalind Fredericks really crackle.
The live band do good work but it seems a strange decision to keep them hidden off stage when their presence could have added even more energy to the production, especially when it slows a little in the second half under the weight of so much story.
But this fun show will still send you home with a smile on your face – and maybe even dancing a Texas two-step.
Cast – Heather Barr, Susan Brindley, Madison Cassaday, Nick Denning, Trip Langley, Kevin Michael Moran, Cailan Rose, Sarah Schulte, Bruce Schroffel, Sean Smith.
Directed and Choreographed by – Allison Bibicoff
Produced by – David Hunt Stafford
Book and Lyrics by – Zora Margolis.
Music by: Peter Spelman.
Story by: Zora Margolis and Charlotte Houghton.
Assistant Director – Kyle Nudo
Music Director/Guitar – Gonzalo Palacios
Keyboards – Sandy Chao Wang
Bass -Joshua Browne
Stage Manager/Sound Design – Bill Froggatt
Costume Design – Michele Young
Set Design – Jeff G Rack
Lighting Design – Ric Zimmerman
Vocal Director – Jan Roper
Hair/Wig/Make up Design -Judi Lewin
Fight Choreographer – Joshua Bradley
At Theatre 40, 241 Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills, California
Thursday and Friday evenings at 8pm, $24. Saturday evenings at 8pm, $26. Sunday matinees at 2pm, $26. Ends August 25.
Thespian Thoughts is a column on Actors Reporter, a channel on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.