Wednesday, July 21, 2010

World's Stage Presents Neil Simon

Simon’s STAR-SPANGLED GIRL to be staged at 10th Street Theatre

By Russ Bickerstaff
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As busy as things are this coming weekend with no less than three shows opening, next weekend promises to be even busier, with another three openings AND a the 5th Annual Milwaukee Comedy Fest. Aside from Soulsitce’s production of Chess, the fare making it to the stage next weekend is all comedy. In and amidst shorter works found in the sketch and improve of the comedy fest and the short comedies of Boulevard Theatre’s Fourplay, the young theatre group known as The World’s Stage Theatre Company presents a feature-length show.

The story follows Andy and Norman—a pair of guys working on Fallout-- a small, activist magazine. World’s Stage co-founder Gretchen Mahkorn plays Sophie—an all-American Olympic swimmer who moves-in next door, prompting the inevitable love triangle. Politics mix with emotions as unrequited love mingles with opposing political views.

Neil Simon’s Star-Spangled Girl debuted on Broadway in 1966. One of Simon’s lesser-known plays, it seemed to be an attempt to branch out from lighter comic fare like The Odd Couple and Barefoot In The Park. An interpersonal romance strongly grounded in politics, Star-Spangled Girl could have been a step in a more substantial direction had it met with more approval. It only ran for 261 performances. It wouldn’t be until the early ‘80’s that Simon would try anything substantial again . . . Like God’s Favorite, this is one of those rare Simon musicals that doesn’t get staged frequently. It’ll be interesting to see what a young group of actors does with it.

The World’s Stage Theatre Company’s production of Star-Spangled Girl runs July 30thand 31st at the Tenth Street Theatre on 628 North 10th Street. 

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