Double Header Entertainment: Broadway! and The Pavilion
Monday, August 8th, 2011

Wow. Gloriana’s Broadway!, a celebration revue of 35 years of performances, is a DON’T MISS show. Performed in Cotton Auditorium, it is directed and choreographed by the immensely talented and experienced Cate Caplin, musically directed by Daniel Lockert (also immensely talented and experienced) and co-created (with Caplin) and playing one of the leading roles, James Brewer. James has an impressive resume and his performance will convince you why – not to mention he brought his wife, Amy Dondy, an award winning night club and concert performer herself. The result is a magical evening of beautiful music, superb dancing, and just great entertainment. Gloriana favorites Robert Goldman and Ana Lucas lead a cast of twenty-five, if I counted right. Another of our gifted pros in the show is the big voiced and very funny Jenny Metteucci, the wife of Lockert. For the first time (to my knowledge) the whole cast is miked so even the voices of the younger performers who are often hard to hear in the cavernous Cotton are clear as a bell. It only plays through August 21, so don’t let it slip by. You will see Gloriana at a whole new level of professionalism.

That’s not all! The Pavilion, a play by Craig Wright, stars Dan Kozloff, a consummate actor and treasure to MTC, Van Phillips, a talent whom we haven’t seen at MTC since 2004, and Jodi Britton, an OR nurse at MCDH whose acting abilities are amazing, especially considering this is her first major theater role. The Pavilion should be seen just for the glory of watching these three practice their craft.

The play’s setting is a pavilion on a lake front in Minnesota where a 20th high school reunion takes place. Dan is the narrator and a cast of reunion attendees. Peter (Van) and Kari (Jodi) were high school sweethearts whose romance was cut short by pregnancy and Peter’s flight. Peter comes back to seek forgiveness and reconnection with Kari. This situation leads to some fascinating dialog between the two with amusing interventions by other alumni (played flawlessly by Dan). Some of the cast took offense at my observation that this was a “chick-flick”, but I meant it in the best sense of the word – really!

Dan’s opening soliloquy on the creation of the universe is a work of purple prose worthy of Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Dan’s delivery is worth the price of admission.

The Pavilion is a perfect example of why live theater is so wonderful.

You have a little more time to catch this one. It plays through September 4.

This review is by Larry Wagner, our itinerant music and theater critic.

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