Friday, November 20, 2009

"Make your reservations for “Plaza Suite”

 "Make your reservations for “Plaza Suite”"

The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater is back for more after wowing islanders with the revue, "Lovely Night" - their first play of the 2009-10 season, a comedy by legendary playwright Neil Simon.

Originally a three-act play first performed in 1968, "Plaza Suite" revolves around three very different stories that take place in Suite 719 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Artistic director Victor Legarreta opted to take only two of the three original acts to the Schoolhouse stage, and, whether you're familiar with the play or not, you won't be disappointed by the two Legarreta chose!

The first act focuses on Karen Nash (Jennifer Smith), a somewhat forgetful but sympathetically endearing character, and her husband Sam Nash (Michael Dunsworth), a narcissistic, over-worked businessman.

Karen has made reservations for Suite 719 - the site of her and Sam's honeymoon - with hopes of rekindling their miserably crumbling marriage.

An appearance by the young and attractive Miss Jean McCormack (Madison Mitchell), Sam's secretary, starts the wheels in Karen's head turning and her scheme for re-seducing her career-obsessed spouse of more than 20 years comes crashing down around her as Karen finds out there's more to Sam's reluctance to reconnect.

Smith is delightful as the sometimes flaky but down-to-earth Karen Nash - remarkably funny and saucy with every comedic twist and turn.

Dunsworth's rendition of Sam Nash is seething with discontent and various mid-life crises that all seem to be flaring up at once - his portrayal of middle-age-induced neuroses is fabulously irritating, making you want to side with Karen even more!

Mitchell - who plays the tall, young, thin blonde you love to hate - is adorably sweet and utterly reprehensible all at the same time, reaffirming our loyalty to Karen.

In Act Two, Smith and Dunsworth play another couple, Norma and Roy Hubley, who are desperately trying to get their daughter - who has barricaded herself in the bathroom of Suite 719 - to her wedding, which is about to begin downstairs.

After a series of failed - but hilarious - attempts, the Hubleys discover why their daughter Mimsey (played by Mitchell) refuses to come out.

Miguel Cintron (who also plays the loquaciously friendly Plaza bellhop and waiter in Act One with terrific humor) saves the day as Borden Eisler (the groom) and delivers the line of the evening at the end of Act Two as he, with only a few strong words, successfully retrieves his bride from the bathroom.

In this act, Dunsworth has more opportunity to show off his comedic abilities as the desperately agitated father-of-the-bride, allowing Smith to slip into hilarious bouts of sheer panic and presumed cardiac arrest.

All in all, "Plaza Suite" is a kind of comedic study on the dynamics of relationships - the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs - and if you're up for an evening of laughs, get your tickets now for "Plaza Suite" at the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater.

"Plaza Suite" will run at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until Dec. 5. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children 16 and under. For more information and to order tickets, call 472-6862.
The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater is located at 2200 Periwinkle Way.

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