Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Leading Roles

I’m looking back at this past weekend with a little bit of awe, recalling everything that my fam and I managed to squeeze in. As usual, there was a bit of theater in the mix. On Friday, we finally made it down to the Theatre Company at Fort Lee, a venue I have been encouraged to visit myriad times in the past 10 years. It is certainly a fine theater, though I have to admit that the build-up of all those years of encouragement made me expect something of Empire Theatre grandeur. Technically, it certainly is a notch above some of the fringier venues in Richmond. Two aspects were a little odd to me, though: the uncommonly deep house (without a balcony) which seemed to limit the site lines for seats in back sections; and the placement of the orchestra essentially in the house, in the front left section. Still, the set, the lighting and the sound quality for the show were generally good and the costumes, particularly for the fancy New York party, were great.

The production in the offing was “Annie Get Your Gun,” a spunky show directed by Amy Perdue highlighted by a winning lead performance by Jenny Fralin. I have to admit that the main draw for Team Tline was the talented Mercer family and they were, of course, exceptional. Makenzie and Kaylin dutifully bolstered many musical numbers as two of the younger Oakley sisters and Davis lent scads of personality to the role of Charlie Davenport. We kept hoping for a Mercer family trio to be worked into the mix but I guess that would have been stretching things. As with many non-professional shows with a large cast, the acting quality dropped off noticeably after the top 6-8 roles but still, it was an entertaining show and certainly will get me to check the Fort Lee schedule to see what they have in store in the future.

We also made a trip northward for a wedding on Saturday, where two actors who have made some Richmond-area appearances in the past had different kinds of starring roles: Patrick Bromley and Julia Rigby, two of the stars of last spring’s “As You Like It” by Richmond Shakespeare, were the best man and one of the bride’s maids, respectively. It was an uncommonly beautiful day for a wedding and the bride and the groom were both lovely.

Hope you had a great weekend, too, and enjoyed some sunshine because my weather-obsessed coworker tells me its supposed to be a somewhat dreary rest of the week.


pnlkotula said...

The limits of the space at Fort Lee are due to the fact that it was originally a movie theater. There was a feature in the April issue of Richmond Marquee regarding their upcoming renovations. The building will be closed from June to January 2010 with new seating, equipment upgrades, etc. and the theatre company will share the space for movies to be shown again. Just a little FYI...

Dave T said...

Thanks for the info, Lisa! Looks like I got down there just in time so I can have a sense of the difference between Before and After. I'll have to mark my calendar to head down again next year!