Saturday, December 5, 2015

Feeling the "Love" and Fun in City Theater Company's Latest Show

By Guest Blogger, Ken Grant
Ken Grant has worked in Delaware media, politics and marketing for 25 years. He and his Lovely Bride enjoy Wilmington's arts and culture scene as much as they can.

Photos by Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography
City Theater Company has a great way of giving the audience not just a great show, but an experience that engages at a level deeper than mere entertainment.

That comes from a combination of picking truly original works and using great actors, musicians, costuming and set design to create a sense that the audience member is not just sitting and passively observing, but is actually participating in the magic.

Love’s Labour’s Lost takes the source material from Shakespeare and puts it through the creative talent of Alex Timbers (book) and Michael Friedman (score) – the same duo responsible for CTC's smash premiere of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – yielding a musical that takes the audience to unexpected places, no matter how familiar they might be with the original work from the Bard.

The play opens as a five-year college reunion is winding down and four young men decide to get serious and enter a vow to deprive themselves of certain comforts in pursuit of learning. The most important sacrifice: to not see any women for three years. Of course, the vows are challenged in the first day with the arrival of four young women who not only have business to conduct with these newly vowed guys, but also have some shared history from back in the day.

While our four young men are struggling with depriving their lives of joy, we’re introduced to Don Armado, a character who enters fully into the joy of life, regardless of risk.

Director Michael Gray and Choreographer Dawn Morningstar once again make use of the entire Black Box space, with actors occasionally crawling their way through the audience and, more often than not, performing within seven feet of any given member of the audience. Oh, and there’s a swing, a scooter, and a sliding board involved.

Our four young men, played by Jeff Hunsicker (the King), Brendan Sheehan (Berowne), George Murphy (Dumaine) and Lew Indellini (Longaville) communicate the kind of fun and tension that can only be experienced by four friends who are both committed to each other and yet know they need to start building their own lives.

The four young women, played by Grace Tarves (the Princess), Jenna Kuerzi (Rosaline), Kristin Sheehan (Maria), and Dylan Geringer (Katherine) use the wit, playfulness and strength of the script to the fullest.

Each of the eight characters give the audience glimpses into the truth and vulnerability that lies just under the surface of their confident exteriors.

Music Director Joe Trainor clearly runs a tight ship – with every note from the musicians leading the audience directly into the heart of the emotions conveyed by the actors – from longing and uncertainty to joyful exuberance.

Love’s Labour’s Lost provides the audience with truly great entertainment for an hour and 45 minutes – then provides those who are inclined with thought-provoking material for weeks to come.

Love’s Labour’s Lost is playing at The Black Box on the Wilmington waterfront (4 S. Poplar Street, Wilmington, DE 19801) through December 19. 

Find out more and get your tickets at

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