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The Last Night of Ballyhoo
a Play
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Alfred Uhry

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 5425

SHOWING : January 25, 2019 - February 17, 2019

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play, the story is set in the upper class German-Jewish community living in Atlanta, Georgia in December 1939. Hitler has recently conquered Poland, Gone with the Wind is about to premiere, and Adolph Freitag and his family - who are so highly assimilated they have a Christmas tree in the front parlor – are looking forward to Ballyhoo, a lavish cotillion ball sponsored by their restrictive country club. When Joe Farkas, an attractive eligible bachelor prompts college student Sunny to examine her Jewish identity (or lack thereof), she begins to question the beliefs with which she has been raised.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Mira Hirsch
Sunny Freitag Maggie Birgel
Peachy Weil Elliott Folds
Boo Levy Pamela Gold
Lala Levy Lucy Gross
Joe Farkas Shaun MacLean
Adolph Freitag Jared Simon
Reba Freitag Ann Wilson
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Much Ballyhooed
by playgoer
Monday, February 18, 2019
4.5
Alfred Uhry’s "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" is populated by an Atlanta Jewish extended family -- two widowed sisters living with their brother, the head of the family business, who provides for them and their daughters, one of whom has dropped out of college to come back home and the other of whom will be at home for the Christmas holidays. That’s when "Ballyhoo," a days-long festival for Southern Jews, will be in full swing. Into the mix comes a New York Jewish employee of the business whose more intense devotion to Judaism subtly affects the family.

Chuck Welcome has designed a lovely set for the Freitag home. There are three sets of flats rather than a unified structure, with views of blue billowy curtains behind. Stage left we have a staircase unit next to a star-topped Christmas tree. Stage right we have the entry to the front door. Up center we have the dining room, and in front of it we have living room furniture. Far down right there’s a desk. It’s all elegant, with columns and period props (by Kathy Ellsworth). This is, after all, 1939, and the premiere of the movie "Gone with the Wind" is just about to occur downtown.

Lala Levy, played with boisterous enthusiasm and unalloyed sassiness by Lucy Rose Gross, is all agog with the possibility of seeing Clark Gable in person. She’s the college dropout, in need of a date for the dance on the last night of Ballyhoo. Her somewhat scatterbrained mother, played by the delightfully sweet Ann Wilson, urges her to ask a nice young man from the finest Jewish family in Louisiana (the brashly raucous Elliott Folds). But Lala has her sights set on Joe Farkas (the charming Shaun MacLean), a new employee of her uncle’s. Before she can lasso him, though, he meets her pretty cousin Sunny Freitag (the luminous Maggie Birgel) and invites her instead. Sunny’s mother (played as a somewhat pinched snob by Pamela Gold) doesn’t approve. Uncle Adolph (the laid-back Jared Simon) is oblivious to the dramas playing out under his nose, even failing to note to Joe (a Jew of Russian-Polish extraction) that the Ballyhoo dance is held at a club catering exclusively to German Jews.

Not a lot is asked of J.D. Williams’ lighting design or of Rial Ellsworth’s sound design, but they both make scenes and scene changes flow nicely. Jim Alford’s costumes get more of a workout, with a couple of ballgowns needed that provoke totally opposite reactions. George Deavours has provided a lovely wig for Ms. Wilson and a much less attractive one for Ms. Gold. All in all, the technical elements are thoroughly professional.

Mira Hirsch has directed the show to make all relationships ring true. True, Ms. Gold is not as loud a person as the script indicates, and Mr. Simon made one doozy of a line slip-up at the performance I attended, but the people we see onstage have the ring of truth, with just enough theatricality to let the humor of the piece shine through. This production of "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" impresses in all regards, making for a very entertaining evening (or afternoon). [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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