By Allison McCausland
A&E and Online Editor
Act 1’s early musical season kicks off this year with the song and dance production of Dames at Sea which ran from Oct. 11-21 in the Schubert Theater at the Labuda Center of the Performing Arts. A throwback to the underdog, “make it or break it” Broadway stories that enveloped the 1930s, the musical showcased heart and flashy numbers that would have made any actor dream to achieve 42nd Street stardom.
The storyline of the show itself revolves around the lives of the players of an upcoming production on Broadway musical extravaganza, focusing specifically on chorus girl Ruby, played by junior Angela LaRose, a naïve Utah native who hopes to get her big break in the show. Entwined in her journey is that of Dick, played by senior Josiah Behrens, who’s more of a songwriter than a sailor hoping to get his work performed in the same production.
The two soon fall in love, but must overcome the difficulties that come with achieving stardom with a notable obstacle found in the resident diva, Mona Kent, played by senior Victoria Ann Scovens. Shenanigans and hilarity ensue as the fictional theater’s players attempt to overcome personal and professional hurdles to put on a hit show.
However, the musical’s story itself plays a secondary character to the numbers performed by the cast as the show was fashioned around the songs placed in it. Songs such as “Broadway Baby,” “Singapore Sue” and “Good Times are Here to Stay” stood out as dynamic displays of the cast’s talent. These same numbers also were prime opportunities to show off the impressive singing talents of Scovens and junior Lexi Rastelli, who played Ruby’s friend and fellow chorus girl Joan.
Rastelli, along with freshmen Nolan Davidson who plays her love interest and Dick’s friend and fellow sailor, Lucky, provided most of the show’s comic relief to hilarious effect. Whether on stage together or separate amongst the other characters, Rastelli and Davidson had audience’s smiling and giggling at their banter and antics to help Ruby and Dick succeed with their goals of stardom.
The musical’s road to stardom, as part of its parody of similar 1930s plays and films, is found in the performance of numerous tap dance numbers. Barely any of the cast escaped having to work their feet as hard as their voices, but the audience’s applause and cheers cemented that their practice and hard work in utilizing that area of dance was worth the blisters it likely caused.
The achievements of the cast’s musical capabilities really reflected on the veteran direction of Professor Wayne S. Turney, who is no stranger to comedy himself having acted in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of Shakespeare in Love. The same can be said for the tone and setting of the production found in the ensembles’ costumes designed by Samantha Southard, resonating with the flip-flopping simplicity and razzle-dazzle elements of 1930s-esque outfits.
Act 1 will be musical-free until the spring semester’s production of Stephen Schwartz’s critically acclaimed Pippin. Until then, the next Act 1 show will take place on the Main Stage with the Christmas performance of Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley, a sequel to the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. Tickets for Act 1’s shows can be purchased at the Labuda Center during box office hours or online at https:// www.desales.edu/newsevents/act-1-productions/ showtimes.