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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dirty, Rotten Slickness

Theater Review

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Based on the 1988 film, Jeffrey Lane/David Yazbeck's musical adaptation of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has attained enduring popularity. Years after its initial release, the Greendale Community Theatre presents the musical through the end of the month.

Michael Traynor stars as Lawrence, a wealthy con artist working the French Riviera. Lawrence leads a relatively carefree life with some help from an assistant who also serves as the head of the local police (Jordan Gwiazdowski, in typically sharp comic form). Things get complicated when a small-time grifter named Freddy (Ryan Stajmiger) rolls into town.

The production has a tremendous amount of charm, much of which it draws from Traynor. More than simply slick, Tranyor is practically frictionless in the role of Lawrence. He slides across the stage with a charming kind of perfection that serves the center of the ensemble quite well.

The musical end of the production might lack some of the power radiating from some of the better songs—“The Dirty Rotten Number” that closes the show lacks the kind of bounce and momentum it seems to demand—but the emotional center of the comedy is more than enough to make up for any musical shortcomings. Charming costuming by Michael Keiley and remarkably well-centered choreography by Stephanie Staszak add to a deftly satisfying trip to the theater.

The Greendale Community Theatre production of Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels runs through July 30 at the Greendale High School Auditorium. For ticket reservations, call 414-423-2700 ext. 4193.