Posts Tagged ‘Lucky Stiff’

Review: “Lucky Stiff” a Musical Farce from Class Act Productions in Troy, NY [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Lucky Stiff @ Class Act Productions in Troy, NY

by Gail Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: Lucky Stiff is a daring choice for Class Act Productions. From the first moment it appeared on the off-Broadway scene in 1988, just about everyone has hailed the clever lyrics of Lynn Ahrens. Who else could come up with a love song called “Nice” that starts off “It was nice hating you…” It’s little wonder she won the Richard Rodgers award for them.

Gail Burns: This is the very first musical from the Tony award-winning team of Lynn Ahrens (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music) who went on to fame and fortune with Ragtime and Once on This Island. Ahrens and Flaherty were taking a course in musical theatre, and this was their final exam, if you will, the culmination of their work. This shows in its tight construction and brisk pace – I imagine that their assignment was to write a 90-minute musical, which this is, once intermission and the laughter of the audience is shaved off.

Larry: One of the toughest things in the world is writing musical farce, Stephen Sondheim did it with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. That show opens with a chorus singing “Comedy Tonight” while Lucky Stiff belts out “Something Funny’s Going On” which, appropriately enough, ends with a gunshot and a corpse, setting up the whole premise of the show.

Gail: Let me see if I can give you the essence of the fun without giving too much away. Lucky Stiff, based on the British murder mystery The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo by Michael Butterworth, concerns a young British shoe salesman named Harry Witherspoon (Oliver Ord) whose lackluster life is suddenly and dramatically altered when he is left $6 million in the will of his American Uncle Anthony. But the money can only be his if he takes the corpse (Michael McDermott) on a final vacation to Monte Carlo. In hot pursuit is the rival inheritor, the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn, represented by one uptight chick named Annabel Glick (Erin Harwood). They are in turn pursued by the legally blind Rita La Porta (Katie Hughes), Uncle Anthony’s lover who believes she is also his murderess, and her hapless optometrist brother, Vinnie DiRuzzio (Brian McBride Land). Along the way they meet a mysterious Arab (Bill Depew) and a sexy French chanteuse Dominique du Monaco (Elizabeth Sterling), along with an assortment of others (Alan Angelo, Peter Caracappa, Henry DiMaria, Maria Lally Clark, Michael O’Farrell, Melissa Pelletier, and Cait Webber). Mayhem ensues! Who will get the money? Will the fact that Harry and Annabel are escorting a corpse scuba-diving and sky-diving be discovered? And what about that heart-shaped box?

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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“Lucky Stiff,” A Rare Chance to See a Neglected Musical in Troy, NY [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Lucky Stiff @ The Schacht Fine Arts Center

Troy, NY: Class Act Productions lives up to its name in more ways than one. The company seems to have an affinity for neglected musicals – the ones that everybody else has forgotten about – and showing us what we’ve been missing. Burns and Murray last saw them do Bill Finn’s neglected musical A New Brain, and what a treat that was. (Read Review Here)

Now this same wonderful team that brought you that gem as well as Ragtime, Seussical and Once On This Island turn their restorative talents to Lucky Stiff. It will play March 15-24 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.

The history of this show by Tony Award-winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty is a bit lucky to begin with. Lucky Stiff premiered off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizon on April 1988 for 15 performances. It went on to win the Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical, and even received a London West End production. They broke onto the scene with this zany, offbeat, and very funny murder mystery farce complete with slamming doors, mistaken identities, six million bucks in diamonds, and a corpse in a wheelchair.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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