Dames At Sea is playing at the Helen Hayes Theatre located at 240 West 44th Street. It runs two hours and ten minutes with one intermission. The show is open ended.
The musical is a parody of large flashy 1930’s Busby Berkley movies.
It opened off off-Broadway in 1966 at the Caffe Cino starring Bernadette Peters. The play then went to off Broadway in 1968 at the Bowery Lane Theatre in December 20, 1968. The final move was in April 22, 1969 to the Theater de Lys and closed May 10, 1970 after 575 performances. The show won three Drama Desk Awards in 1968 for Best Performance (Bernadette Peters), Best Director (Neal Kenyon) and Best Lyrics (George Haimsohn and Robin Miller) and it won Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical.
Anna Louizos is the set designer. She was nominated for three Tony Awards for The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2013), In The Heights (2008) and High Fidelity (2007).
David C. Woodlard is the costume designer. He was nominated for two Tony Awards for The Rocky Horror Show (2009) and The Who’s Tommy (1993).
Randy Skinner is the Director/Choreographer. He was nominated for three Tony Awards for Irving Berlin’s White Xmas (2009), 42nd Street (2001) and Ain’t Broadway Grand (1993).
The settings is 1930’s. Act One is 42nd theatre and Act Two on the battle ship.
It opens as if it is a black and white movie. A screen comes up with the title and credits.
Mona Kent (Lesli Margherita) makes a grand entrance on stage singing and dancing.
The set comes down and we are backstage. There is hustle and bustle going on because it is opening night. Hennesey (John Bolton) is the director and is frantic. Joan (Mara Davi) is backstage when Ruby (Eloise Kropp) come in the stage door looking for work. She just got off a bus from Utah and looking for her break on Broadway. Hennesey says good luck but not in this theatre. Joan reminds him that someone in the ensemble has left maybe she can fill that spot. Ruby gets the job after she shows him how she taps dances.
Joan said she can bunk with her and her roommates if she has nowhere to stay. Ruby realizes she left her suit case at the Port Authority. A sailor Dick (Cary Tedder) saw her leave it and follows her to give her the suitcase. In the meantime another sailor Lucky (Danny Gerdner) is looking for Dick.
Dick is a song writer. Mona sees him, and gets the hots for him. She persuades him to write another song for her beside the one he was singing. She said she will perform them in the show.
The cast keep hearing funny noises. It seems the theatre was sold and a wrecking crew is tearing down the theatre. Hennesey is agitated; the theatre is gone before the show even opened. The sailors come to the rescue. They get the Captain (John Boltom) to let them do the show on their ship. It seems the Captain had a fling with Mona a while ago.
There are love matches, dancing and great entertainment! It ends as if it is a movie with a screen saying the end.
It may be a little campy but it’s 1933. What else would you expect from a movie from that time period?
This is an impressive show to see. John Bolton’s expressions and movements were the best. Eloise Kropp tap dancing was remarkable. The rest of the cast did an exceptional job.
Hats off to Randy Skinner choreography, it was excellent.
I give this show a thumps up, make that two thumps up!
Review by Rozanna Radakovich
Photos by Annazor.
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