Trouble in Paradise
You've heard this story before: Sam and Dinah have a troubled relationship. He's too involved in his work and doesn't spend enough time at home. She's frustrated by the fact that they’re leading separate lives and that she no longer feels like she's in love. So, it's off to the analyst for an examination of how things can go so wrong between two formerly loving people.
What's different in this telling of the drony old tale is that it's a musical, Trouble in Tahiti, by Leonard Bernstein (of West Side Story fame). And Sam and Dinah are accompanied by a jazz vocal trio who sets the stage for the story. "It's interesting," says John Carden, artistic director of the production, "that this is the 50th anniversary year for this show and what was going on in the 1950s is still going on today."
Carden has teamed up with ACT I for this production, which has never been performed in Charlottesville. He's secured Linda Blondel as his musical director; the cast includes Chris Van Cleave, Sarah Wells, Priya Chalam, Doug Chapman, and Steve Mendenhall. Trouble in Tahiti plays with another show that explores a disruptive change in paradise, Bock and Harnick's The Diary of Adam and Eve, directed by Kay Bethea and featuring Bill Brown, Colleen Calvey, and Darren White. "Both plays address in a comic way the difficulties couples face in their relationships," Carden says.
To accommodate both plays, Bill Hurd has designed the set pieces to move in and out on wagons. "It's simplistic and highly effective," Carden says. “This is the first time I've worked with moveable sets on this stage." And Carden knows this stage well. He's appeared on it as a leading player with the New Lyric Theater's Gilbert and Sullivan productions in each of their popular shows.
ACT I has teamed up with Piedmont Virginia Community College to offer these two one-act musicals to Charlottesville theatergoers April 18-21. Nab your tickets now. The shows close this weekend. Earl V. Dickinson Building, PVCC. 7:30pm with a 2:30pm matinee on Sunday. $6-10. 961-5376.