Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – Hilarious & Top Drawer – Music Review – The Suburban Times
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the story of two con artists competing to swindle an heiress out of $50,000. One is suave, the other is a little rival. The location is an upscale resort on the French Riviera.
You probably have no idea how important a full parking lot is for a live theater company. Most theaters rely on street parking. CenterStage has its own parking lot in a park-like setting. With COVID, you could enter the CenterStage parking lot just before curtain time and already get an idea of how full or empty the house was when you walked through the front door. Sunday afternoon, we parked in an almost full parking lot. We found one of two places and the other was taken before we opened our doors.
I knew Operations and Marketing Manager Robin Becar was in the production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but when General Manager Angela Bayler announced she was the director and Art Director Trista Duval was also listed as a member from the cast, we knew we were in for a treat. When the curtain rose, it remained up until the intermission, then again until closing. Our little group is just amazed at the energy and smiles from the entire cast as they changed sets and props from scene to scene.
Deanna Martinez starred as Muriel from Omaha, a wealthy woman in search of love and affection. She played the role well. She has a very nice strong voice. She directed CenterStage’s production of 1940s Radio Christmas Carol, which we also thoroughly enjoyed. She is a teaching artist and works for Seattle Rep and Tacoma Arts Live. Deanna and Andre (Andrew Fry) got along well. The pair fit so well that you just wanted them to live, love, laugh and be happy.
Before COVID, in a past life, Peg and her friend Jan traveled to Seattle Rep, Book-It, and ACT multiple times. She reviewed presentations there for years. Tacoma Arts Live produced live shows at the Theater on the Square (the former home of the Tacoma Actors Guild, where I was a board member). D
Robin Mae Becar is Head of Operations and Marketing at CenterStage. She sold us our tickets for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels as well as a group sale. We first saw her in 2021 as Gwendolen Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest. We’ve since seen her as Miss Scarlet in Tacoma Little Theater’s Clue. The more you see it, the more impressed you are. As Jolene from Oklahoma, she brought down the house. She is funny, line dancing very well and has a beautiful voice. She also played an opener and sang just six feet from our group. Her voice is way better than good!
Travis Tingval has performed in quite a few local theaters, but none that we lined up with. Travis did the rookie doofus villain very well as his character began to climb the social ladder. He put his tutelage to good use and his appearances in the wheelchair were comedy heaven as he prepared for each of Lawrence’s mental medical treatments.
Lawrence (Bruce Hassl), the quirky villain of the fictional Riviera resort town is so suave and debonair you implicitly believe him. He appeared in at least twenty productions at the Arlequin Theater in Olympia. He was in five of their Stardust Christmas shows, so Peg and I saw him there. He also performed in many other South Sound shows; and he also worked behind the scenes for many others. His scenes in Scoundrel with the switch were elite comedy, but not comedy relief for would-be scoundrel Freddy (Travis Tingval).
Andre Fry or King Humphrey in CenterStage’s Puss in Boots during their 2021 Christmas pantomime, has appeared in over sixty Puget Sound productions. He was also in CenterStage’s production of 1940s Radio Christmas Carol. Fry’s work as the helpful and twisted police chief Andre was consistently good, but his interaction with Omaha’s Muriel was outstanding.
Shelleigh Ferguson was part of the ensemble, and all three members of our band commented on her performances on stage. We last saw her as Grandma Addams in The Addams Family, one of our favorite productions at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse. Sonia Alexis, has been in three productions at CenterStage. She is remembered in 2019’s Let There Be Love. In Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, she seemed to be everywhere. She also played a number of other roles in the Puget Sound area. She is a nice addition for her dancing; she moves very well. Jared McKel played several ensemble parts. We also saw her enthusiastic smile in CenterStage’s 1940s Radio Christmas Carol.
Trista Duval plays the role of Christine. I was surprised when I saw that she was playing in Scoundrels. She has done a great job as Art Director of Centerstage and has exceptional credentials. She too had a baby not too long ago, but the show must go on. . . and Trista won overwhelming approval from the entire audience. It was the first time we saw her perform, except for presentations of the upcoming production. She hit all cylinders: acting, singing and dancing. Wonderful. She deserved all the applause she received.
I had seen rehearsal photos and had no idea how the stage was going to look like a social paradise à la Monte Carlo. The backdrop with its flamingo sponge-painted walls, narrow walkway and two staircases sold us all and still left plenty of room for dancing and almost instant scene changes. And kudos to costume designer Renae Ragundo. The knee-high cowboy boots that Oklahoma’s Jolene (Robin Mae Becar) danced in were dynamite. I don’t know how she danced in it and she did so well. The costumes fit well with each character and everything worked out well. We thought the first act was a bit long, but it was only the third showing, so we know it’s going to get tighter.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels lasts until April 24. He plays on Friday, Saturday and a Sunday morning. Upcoming productions are Yellow Fever from May 20 to June 12 and The Oregon Trail from August 19 to September. For tickets, go to www.centerstagetheatre.com to order; for adult/senior/military group ticket sales, contact the box office directly at 253-661-1444.