At the Second Stage Theatre located at 305 West 43rd Street. The musical opens on July 16, 2012 and will play until August 12, 2012. It runs two hours five minutes with one intermission.
Dogfight is based on the 1991 Warner Brothers film of the same name. The movie starred River Phoenix and Lili Taylor. It was directed by Nancy Savoca.
The musical is directed by Joe Mantello. He just directed a successful run of "Other Desert Cities" off and on Broadway. Joe acted in "The Normal Heart" in 2011 and was nominated for a Tony Award for that role. In 2004 he won a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for "Assassins" and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical for "Wicked". He won a Tony Award in 2003 for Best Director of a Play "Take Me Out". Joe has also won a Drama Desk Award in 1993 for Outstanding Feature Actor in a Play for "Angels in America : Millennium".
Christopher Gattelli is the choreographer. He won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Choreography for "Newsies". Most recently he was choreographer for "Godspell". He was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Choreographer for "South Pacific" (2003). Christopher won a Lucille Lortel award for outstanding Choreography for "Alter Boyz" (2005) and "Bat Boy; the Musical" (2001).
The story takes place on November 21, 1963 in San Francisco.
The musical opens on a bus, among the passengers is Eddie Birdlace (Derk Klena). The bus is going to San Frascisco. Eddie and a gentlemen from the Korean War are talking. Well the soldier from the Korean War is doing most of the talking.
The scene then shifts to a group of Marines who are on the eve of deployment to Viet Nam. They decide they are going to have a little fun. The group put up money in a pool. The one who picks up the ugliest girl wins the money, hence "dogfight".
Eddie picks up a waitress in a restaurant he went into. Rose Tenny (Lindsay Mendez) is a sweet naive girl. She is thrilled to be out on a date. Eddie decides when they are at the club where he is to meet his friends that he doesn't want any part of the game. His two friends Boland (Josh Segarra) and Berstein (Nick Blaemirth) edge him on. Rose finds out in the ladies room when she hears Josh and his date Marley (Annaleigh Ashford) argue over the money he has won. She wants half of the cash. The rest of the ladies are unaware of the game. Rose is upset when she finds out and leaves.
It's your boy falls for girl, girl gives in, soldiers leaves not to be heard of again. Of course I'm not filling in the rest you have to see it to find out what happens.
Lindsay and Derek have a scene in each act which are exceptional and have a great song to sing. Lindsay in Act 1 and Derk in Act 2 both ant the end of the act. Usually Playbill will list the name of the song and who sings it. None were in the Playbill so I guess the songs have no names.
There are eleven actors in the show other than the ones I mentioned. The rest play various roles, each complementing the other.
Lindsay portrayal as a young girl in the 1960's is outstanding. Derek is convincing and tender as the young man ready to go to war but is frightened underneath.
Josh, Nick and Annaleigh hold there own in a job well done.
The set is minimal. There are stairs on either sides of the stage to a balcony. There are neon signs in the balcony advertising different places. The cast move around from the balcony to the stage. Furniture comes and goes for different scenes. The set moves in a circle some times to make it seem like they are walking around. David Zinn did the set and costume design. The last show he did was "Other Desert Cities". The set reminds me of the set for the current "Rent".
There were scenes were the show could have been tightened up others were more information could have been given. I saw in it in previews. Derek Klena said to me things done yesterday are not necessarily what was done tonight. We are in previews and things can still change.
Joe got the best out of the cast, Christopher dance routines were fun.
This is a nice off Broadway show to see.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich
Photos by Annazor.