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The Sting
a Comedy/Thriller
by David Ward, adapted from the screenplay by David Rogers

COMPANY : Blackwell Playhouse
VENUE : Blackwell Playhouse
ID# 3325

SHOWING : June 05, 2009 - June 27, 2009



The excitement, maneuvers and comedy of the 1973 Academy-Award winning film starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford have been brilliantly adapted for stage production by one of the finest professional playwrights writing today, David Rogers. This show takes place in Chicago many years ago in a world of small-time hustlers and their girls—their money nonexistent but their ingenuity abundant. Johnny Hooker (a small-time grifter played by Redford in the film) joins a friend in a successful con of a "runner." Unfortunately for them, the runner works for a powerful, vindictive rackets boss, Doyle Lonnegan, who is infuriated and arranges the killing of Johnny's friend. Hoping to avenge this senseless murder, Johnny enlists the aid of the master con man Henry Gondorf (originally played by Newman). Together they decide to try the big con called "The Wire." Structured in classic style, their first move is "The Set Up." From there they proceed to "The Tale." The tension mounts as they succeed and, with the powerful Lonnegan half-hooked, go on to "The Shut Out." The excitement becomes explosive and a final scene, with switch upon switch upon switch, has the audience guessing and gasping as it builds to the final con movement, "The Sting!". Performed live on stage at the Blackwell Playhouse, this is a wonderfully theatrical and yet authentic exploration of a very special world.

Director Rob Hardie
Asst. Director Ali Gutierrez
Set Design Rob Hardie
Stage Manager Cheri Mattox
Lighting Designer Brad Rudy
Asst. Stage Manager Rene' Voige
Erie Jason Ahrens
Ms. Lombard Monica Bestawros
Loretta Monica Bestawros
Alva/Rhoda Barbara Bruce
The Piano Player David Buchanon
Lt. Snyder James Calhoun
Floyd Jason Cash
artistic director John Christian
Card Girl/Crystal Jennifer Fischler
Motolla Ali Gutierrez
Lonnegan Rob Hardie
Kid Twist Jerry Harlow
Billie Katy Harlow
Ivy Singleton Cheri Mattox
Gondorff Randy Randolph
Curly Steve Raper
Conductor/Polk Brad Rudy
Granger Debby Thomson
FBI Agent Kevin Tillery
Hooker Daniel Van Heil
Luther/Caller Voice Glenn Varnado
Countess Boudreau Rene' Voige
Jimmy Chris Watson
Loretta Amanda Whittle
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


A Winner Right out of the Gate
by Sweet Babboo
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Never seeing the 1973 film this show was based on, I had no expectations of this play-within-a-vaudeville show. However, I found myself pleasantly surprised by this tale about two professional Grifters named Gondorff and Hooker, who plan an elaborate scheme in order to out-con a sinister Chicago mob boss named Lonnegan.

Rob Hardie is to be highly commended (or committed) for pulling off triple-duty as the Director, Set Designer and still managing to deliver an intriguing performance and the menacing, thick-brogued Lonnegan. His staging is crisp and clever. His 1930's Burlesque Show concept works exceptionally well. The top of show starts off with a sampling of a typical evening of Burlesque, complete with musicians, comics, and, naturally, a statuesque buxom blonde known only as Card Girl (A bubbly Jennifer Fischler) who assists the narrator, Billie (A wry and engaging Katy Harlow) in setting up each segment. The vast differences between the two women provide much of the comic relief from the gritty crime story. There are also strong supporting performances from Jerry Harlow, Amanda Whittle and James Calhoun. Overall, this is a fine ensemble cast who work very well together.

But Hardie's biggest coup is the perfect casting choices of leads Randy Randlph and Daniel VanHiel as Gondorff and Hooker, respectively. The two fine actors have a wonderful chemistry together onstage that make all their scenes together seemingly click. I loved watching the dynamic pair.

The show is not exactly perfect. There were some technical glitches which I am sure will be corrected by the second weekend. The scenes and set changes could use some more underscoring. Some costumes are more detailed and true to the period than others. And being unfamiliar with the film, I will admit getting lost once or twice in the complicated plot. I laughed, but others may groan as modern reference gags are tossed in occasionally. However, this should not deter anyone from trekking out to Blackwell to see this entertaining, fast-paced show.

I look forward to seeing more of Rob Hardie's work. Blackwell should benefit highly from having such a creative director in their midst.

P.S. Brad Rudy gives an...interesting performance as an elderly train conductor strangely stricken with TB and hacking his way through Act One. He is much more effective - with less phleghm - as the tough-talking FBI Agent Polk in Act Two.
Don't Disparage the Phleghm! by Dedalus
Phleghm, after all, has a long and distinguished history in theatre (just ask anyone who has seen Pacino live on stage -- "Pavlo Hummel" required rain gear for the front row). Criticize the look, the performance, the casting, the art, but, please, PLEASE, do NOT criticize the Phleghm.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go stock up next week's Loogey Bin!
by Nettie
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I am giving this an NR because there are folks I know in the cast. But having this said, I thoroughly enjoyed this production. I had not seen the movie so the story's twists and turns brought about delightful surprises. The show has flow and energy, scene changes are quick, and actors from the leads down to the ensemble demonstrate interesting characters with authentic accents-- everyone seems to be involved in the great con scheme. The show is quick moving and engaging. I think I was most impressed with the gentleman that played Gandolph -- the con artist Luthor sent Hooker to learn from when he got out of the business..that character was played with levels of pizazz, making the "bad guy" con artist a lovable character. Telling the story as part of a show within a show was a fun way to introduce and narrate the story, and the live music and jokes are a nice touch that polishes the transitions between scenes quite effectively.

My biggest criticism of this play is that there were not enough people in the audience to see it. Maybe that will change since this was only opening night. Well done! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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