Clever and creative color and lighting characterize the current Goodspeed Musicals’ production of “City of Angels” shining brilliantly on stage until Sunday, November 27. As a contrast of film noir, in black and white and grey, with blazing Technicolor, it is a unique story within a story, featuring music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by David Zippel and book by Larry Gelbart.
1940’s Hollywood never looked so glamorous, sultry and smoky as when D. B. Bonds’ fiction writing Stine starts pounding his typewriter keys to create his alter ego, the gumshoe, shamas, detective solving man of darkness and danger, Stone, a chisel-jawed Burke Moses. The worlds of these two men, one real and one fictional, collide amazingly as captured by director Darko Tresnjak.
As Stine writes and rewrites the screenplay adaptation of his best selling hero private dick, both worlds occupy the stage in a dizzying contrast made memorable by John Lasiter’s special lighting techniques. David P. Gordon’s opening and closing louver blinds bookcase the action effectively.
In Stine’s realm, he deals with his demanding, overbearing producer Buddy Fidler (Jay Russell), his somewhat supportive wife Gabby (Laurie Wells) and Buddy’s girl Friday Donna (Nancy Anderson).
For Stone, he has his new client Alaura Kingsley (Liz Pearce) who hires him to find her missing stepdaughter Mallory (Kathleen Rooney) and protect her from her sinister stepson Peter (Allen E. Read). Stone also has to be careful of the thugs who are out to hurt him (Jerry Gallagher and Spencer Rowe) and a cop (Danny Bolero) who has a serious grudge against him.
The actors crossover between the two plots, supporting each story’s mystery and mayhem, romance and rousing ramifications. As the writing progresses, hits roadblocks, is detoured by the manipulative Fidler, the film winds up in fits and starts and turns toward its inevitable conclusion. The action is fast paced, a blend of murder, muggings, marriages gone awry and marvelous music. Songs like “The Tennis Song,” “You’re Nothing Without Me,” “You Can Always Count on Me” and “Double Talk” help propel the action.
For tickets ($28-72), call Goodspeed Musicals, on the Connecticut River, East Haddam at 860-873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., with select shows at 2 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with select shows at 6:30 p.m. Note the special Thanksgiving schedule: Monday, November 21 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday, November 25 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday, November 26 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 27 at
2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Don a black raincoat and fedora and enter the plot of this intriguing musical whodunit where a pair of great guys, Stone and Stine, have wonderful yarns to spin entirely for your enjoyment.