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Born Yesterday
a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Garson Kanin

COMPANY : New Dawn Theater [WEBSITE]
VENUE : New Dawn Theater [WEBSITE]
ID# 5263

SHOWING : April 20, 2018 - May 06, 2018

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

An uncouth, corrupt rich junk dealer, Harry Brock, brings his showgirl mistress Billie Dawn with him to Washington, D.C. When Billie’s ignorance becomes a liability to Brock’s business dealings, he hires a journalist, Paul Verrall, to educate his girlfriend. In the process of learning, Billie Dawn realizes how corrupt Harry is and begins interfering with his plans to bribe a Congressman into passing legislation that would allow Brock’s business to make more money.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Rick Thompson
Paul Verrall David Allen
Senator Hedges Charles Hannum
Barber/Bellman #1 Chuck Mason
Harry Brock Ashton Murphy-Brown
Billie Dawn Cathy Seith
Ed Devery Mike Stevens
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REVIEWS

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...and Still Pertinent Today
by playgoer
Monday, April 30, 2018
3.5
Garson Kanin’s "Born Yesterday" was written just after World War II, but its subject matter of an unscrupulous capitalist attempting to buy government support for his business practices still rings true. The cohabitation of the domineering capitalist junk magnate (played by Ashton Murphy-Brown) and his live-in chorine girlfriend (played by Cathy Seith) may have struck audiences of the time as the most scandalous feature of the plot, but nowadays his brow-beating treatment of her as his near-possession raises one’s hackles more. The play still resonates. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

New Dawn’s production features a lovely set designed and painted by director Rick Thompson. Faux marble and a U.S. Capital painting behind the stage left window immediately give the feel of an upscale Washington, D.C. hotel room. Set dressing and furnishings are elegant enough without being over-the-top. Costumes reinforce the upscale look, with Ms. Seith and Launa Kowalski, as a senator’s wife, wearing elegant fashions made of luxurious fabrics. The uniforms worn by hotel staff (the ever-engaging Ciarra Logan, the sprightly Marvin Gibson, the cheery Darci Wells, and the dependable Chuck Mason) also give the impression of a production that has taken its visual aspect seriously.

Lighting design is not complicated, with a need for general lighting throughout, plus dimming of lights called for a couple of times. Unfortunately, at the performance I attended, lights dimmed a couple of times when no lighting effect was called for. Sound design doesn’t call for much more than a doorbell ringing, and sound operation was smooth at the performance I attended.

Acting is good throughout, with standout performances by Mr. Murphy-Brown, Ms. Seith, Ms. Kowalski, and Craig Coleman as the junk magnate’s cousin/flunky. David Allen plays a tutor for Billie Dawn (Ms. Seith’s character), and their age difference works against the romantic relationship that develops. Mike Stevens ably plays an embittered, alcholic lawyer, while Charles Hannum uses his resonant voice to advantage as an oddly chipper senator.

Director Rick Thompson has gotten splendid performances out of his two leads and has blocked the show to keep movement fluid and visible. Sparkling turns by some of the bit players add dash to the proceedings, adding comedy to a script that contains equal amounts of bite and heart. "Born Yesterday" may not have been written yesterday, but New Dawn’s production shows it as being as fresh as today’s news. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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