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The Women

a Comedy/Drama
by Clare Boothe Luce

COMPANY : Act 3 Productions [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Act 3 Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 4955

SHOWING : September 16, 2016 - October 01, 2016



Contented, kindly Mary Haines, a well-off woman living in New York City, is the envy of her friends, boasting a wholesome, happy marriage, adorable children, and a comfortable home. Unfortunately, she is living in a fool’s paradise… which her tactless friend, the gossip-hungry Sylvia Fowler, discovers, when a favored manicurist spills the beans on a juicy secret. Boasting an all female cast of strong, colorful, comedic characters, a snappy supporting cast of many dozens, and an abundance of witty dialogue, "The Women" is juicy, wicked, and full of guilty fun. Both a scathing commentary on the life of the superficial, selfish socialite and a knowing, heart-felt depiction of romantic rivalry, toxic friendships, and the thousands of supporting roles women play in offices, salons, and their own lives.

Director Johnna Barrett Mitchell
Nancy Blake Caty Bergmark
Little Mary Sarah Carroll
Peggy (Mrs. Day) Olivia Dean
Miriam/Tamara Jackie Estafen
Mrs. Morehead Gisele Frame
Sylvia (Mrs. Fowler) Sarah Frey
Edith (Mrs. Potter) Eileen M Fulford
Countess De Lage Phyllis Giller
Hairdresser/Model/Society Woman Jacki Harrell
Crystal Allen Jessie Kuipers
Jane/Debutant Amy L. Levin
Fordyce/Pedicurist/Euphie/Woman in Club Jessica McGuire
Instructress/Watts/Girl in Nightclub Crystal Robertson
Nurse/Saleswoman/Woman at Club Barbara Joanne Rudy
Receptionist/Salesgirl/Society Girl Brooke Schlosser
Receptionist/Salesgirl/Society Girl Brooke Schlosser
Maggie/Lucy/Dowager Judy Seaman
Sadie/Saleswoman Nylsa Smallwood
Olga/Trimmerback/Cigarettes Jennifer Waldman
Mary (Mrs. Haines) Janie Young
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Femininity In Motion
by veterantheatregoer
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Fast paced and constant action. No breaks during each act or will miss something. There were two people that stood out and were IMO most dominant. Mary Haines played by Janie Young. Character was in many scenes and had several different emotional responses that were effective. Has a "larger" stage presence than her petite size. Olga/Trimmerback/Cigarettes played by Jennifer Waldman. Playing multiple roles can be challenging. Ms Waldman was a bright comedic talent that did her characters justice. Contagious smile with a runway models charm. Overall a very enjoyable production. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Runway model’s charm? by playgoer
Since when are runway models known for their charm? From what I’ve seen, they generally seem to be expressionless human clothes racks. Jennifer Waldman Gross showed LOTS more personality than that, and gives a delightful set of performances that truly are a highlight of the show.
Les Femmes Fideles
by playgoer
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Clare Boothe Luce’s "The Women" tells the story of Mary Haynes’ marital problems through a large cast of women and numerous settings. Act3 has made the logistics manageable by having half the actresses double (or triple or quadruple) roles and by using a unit set in which the same furniture is adjusted slightly to suggest different locales. It works well, although Ben Sterling’s sound design uses non-period scene change music that is suggested by the contents of the previous or next scene, but that detracts from the period atmosphere the costumes and hairstyles attempt to create.

The costumes, designed by Jared Wright, are a highlight of the show in their elegance and variety. Hairstyles are a different story. Wigs give distinct looks to some of the actresses playing multiple roles, such as Jackie Estafan, Jessica McGuire, and Barbara Rudy (although Ms. Rudy’s wigs look pretty fake), and these actresses also use distinct accents to distinguish their roles. The hilarious Jennifer Waldman Gross, on the other hand, has an unruly mop of brown hair that, while styled differently for each of her different characters, doesn’t delineate them as distinctly as her demeanor and accent do. The worst hairstyle, though, belongs to Janie Young in the central role of Mary. Her rat’s nest of a hairdo looks nothing like any hairstyle from any period of historical time.

This hairdo is one of the elements preventing Ms. Young from being the charismatic center of the story. She and Gisele Frame are perfectly cast as daughter and mother in terms of looks and bearing, but Ms. Young does not emanate the warmth and sincerity that the role requires. Her scenes with Little Mary (Liza Fagin in ill-fitting costumes at the opening night performance) should be the tender heart of the story, but here come across as tedious.

Otherwise, Johnna Barrett Mitchell has done a delightful job of directing the show. Blocking uses the full extent of the set, and she has encouraged her actresses to create indelible characters. The central group of Mary’s friends (played by Sarah Humphrey, Eileen Magee Hilling, Caty Bergmark, and Olivia Dean) work beautifully together, and each has created a character that balances humor and personality perfectly, bringing the roles in the script to full life. Phyllis Giller takes her character of the Countess De Lage to the tip-top of comic heights, without going over the top, and Judy Seaman underplays a couple of plain-spoken characters, with the contrast working nicely. Jessie Kuipers has the blonde good looks for femme fatale Crystal Allen and plays her convincingly, notably in a cleverly staged bath/shower scene that makes use of a curtained doorway that doubles as a shower curtain.

The set itself, designed by Sterling Bowman, is lovely. Art deco brass wall decorations flank the two doors, coordinating with an open brass screen stage right. The staircase stage right is finished in dark wood with slender wrought iron railings. Up center on the back wall is a period print. The furniture consists mainly of a fainting couch center stage, with other furnishings lightweight and movable and coordinating. Lighting, designed by David Reingold, adjusts subtly to illuminate scenes in various areas of the stage.

Johnna Barrett Mitchell has put together a production that does justice to Clare Boothe Luce’s script and that makes use of some of the premier female acting talent in metro community theatres. If only a hairdressing consultant had been acquired and more focus had been placed on the heart of the show, "The Women" would be a blockbuster. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
A Few (Several) Good Women by Shard07
I am frankly a little confused as to if you thought you were watching a play or a fashion show. We have here two lines about acting, a couple more about lighting and set design, and several paragraphs about hair styles, dresses, and the actresses physicality. To quote a friend, no review of A Few Good Men would ever have this many hair and costume notes." If this is all you got out of the production, Disappointing, Playgoer.
No offense meant by playgoer
If an otherwise fine production of "A Few Good Man" had men sporting shoulder-length hair and straggly beards and sporting uniforms from a mismatched set of armed forces, I believe that is something any competent reviewer would be likely to note.
by Shard07
Note, not dwell on.


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