The Women’s Theater Company kicked off its 19th season on September 23 (2011) with the little performed musical, Romance, Romance, music by Keith Herrmann and lyrics by Barry Harman. The show was one of five nominated for Best Musical in 1988, losing the Tony to the most successful musical of all time, The Phantom of the Opera. It was last produced in our area at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2007.
One of the area’s most active, and honored directors, Lauren Moran Mills has assembled a talented group of actors and musicians for this charming, light, non-stop musical. Lauren also doubles as the choreographer.
The performers, of mostly local talent, includes; Actors Equity members Marc G. Dalio, and Marcia Sofley. Plus, Ashley Kowzun and Joe D’Angio. Warren Helms is musical director and at the piano. Helms is supported by Tim Metz, considered a first call bassist in the NY metro area. Helms impressed with his vocals opening each act.
Romance, Romance is comprised of two one-act separate musicals (thus the double title), both love stories. Although there are four actors, only two are central to each story (Marc Dalio and Marcia Sofley).
The first, The Little Comedy, is set in nineteenth century Vienna. Alfred and Josephine (Marc Dalio and Marcia Sofley) are discontent with their lives. He is tired of women only wanting him for his money, and she is a woman used to wanting men for their money. Confiding their woes to their respective best friends in letters, they each separately decide to dress down and go walking in the park, hoping for something different. They end up meeting and fall in love with the others’ assumed persona.
Summer Share, the second act is based on a 1898 play Le pain de ménage, but has been updated to the late 1980s and set in The Hamptons, where two married couples in their thirties are spending the season in a rented cottage. Sam (Marc Dalio), who is married to Barb (Ashley Kowzun), and Monica (Marcia Sofley), who is married to Lenny (Joe D’Angelo), find themselves gradually progressing from harmless flirtation to the serious possibility of an illicit affair.
Initially staged off-off-Broadway in 1987, Romance/Romance later moved to the Helen Hayes Theatre in 1988, where it ran for 297 performances and was nominated for several Tonys, including Best Musical.
This production is unique in that it presents something for everyone, i.e. don’t like the story in the first act? wait…you may adore the second act story.
Romance, Romance (considered by many critics to be an overlooked little gem) will provide a very pleasant evening of live theater with charming, but not necessarily memorable, music and performances by talented people… who may be a bit mis-matched in age and appearance. Marc Dalio, for example, is a handsome young man with a fine voice and a skilled actor, but he was a more believable Sam in the Hamptons, than the more sophisticated Alfred in Vienna.
To properly enjoy the play since the music is not familiar, we suggest that you might want to listen to the cast recording or samples available on the Internet, including video clips on YouTube.
Lauren Moran Mills’ production support includes; Producer-Barbara Krajkowski; Stage Manager-Grayce Coviello; Scenic Design/props-Jonathan Wentz; Costumes-Joan Ludwig; and Lighting-Chesapeake Westveer.
All shows will be performed on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 pm and Sunday matinees at 3 pm.
Performances are at The Parsippany Arts Center, within the Parsippany Community Center, 1130 Knoll Road, Lake Hiawatha.
Tickets for performances are $20.00 and discounted for Senior Citizens to $18.00.
Please call 973 316-3033 to reserve seats for a performance. Groups of 10 or more pay only $15.00 per person for any performance. Groups please call 908 306-0881 for reservations or contact [email protected]
(If a group of 20 or more is interested in a Thursday matinee, that can be arranged.)
Ample parking is available at The Parsippany Community Center.
The Women’s Theater Company, founded by Artistic Producing Director, Barbara Krajkowski of Parsippany, is a professional Equity Theater, now in its 19th year.
Reviewed by Rick Busciglio (September 24, 2011)