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Glimpses of the Moon at The Oak Room, Cabaret Theatre that Bubbles!
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Glimpses of the Moon at The Oak Room, Cabaret Theatre that Bubbles!

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Glimpses of the Moon
Based on the Novel by Edith Wharton
The Oak Room
Algonquin Hotel

Katie Rosin/Kampfire Films, Press
Book & Lyrics by Tajlei Levis
Music by John Mercurio
Directed by Marc Bruni
Choreography by Denis Jones

Beth Glover, Laura Jordan, Daren Kelly,
Michael Minarek, Patti Murin, Glenn Peters,
Stephen Plunkett
Special Guest: Jana Robbins

Scenic Consultant: Ted LeFevre
Props Designer: Deb Gaoette
Costume Designer: Lisa Zinni
Lighting Designer: James Milkey
Casting Director: Geoff Josselson
General Manager: Rebecca Frank
Musical Direction and Piano: John Mercurio
Reeds: Geoff Burke

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 4, 2008

This 1922-era, new musical farce, with a rapid and hilarious pace that could rival Feydeau, is based on an Edith Wharton novel by the same name, and crystallized into a cabaret work in two acts for dinner guests at the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room. This “Jazz Age Musical”, written by Tajlei Levis and John Mercurio (also Music Director and pianist), expressly for The Oak Room, even has one cameo song set in this renowned venue, sung each week by a guest artist. Tonight’s guest was Jana Robbins.

In the midst of Charlestons, champagne, jazzy clothing, a regatta, Cuban cigars, wedding gifts, and secret notes, this ensemble of seven sings and dances and acts with such bubbly mirth that we can only join in with our own bubbly drinks and contagious enthusiasm. The story line of Glimpses of the Moon involves a mixed-bag social set, including two less moneyed lovers, who marry for the returnable gifts and the chance at a honeymoon getaway, with the expectation of seeking to “marry up”, when the opportunity arises, in their new found whirl of parties and dances. Of course, chemistry and sensitivities kick in, as one might suspect, and the plot thickens to house-sitting in Newport for a married lady with a date, off-premises.

Ellie Vanderlyn (Beth Glover) is the perfectly impish two-timing wife, with a tennis pro in the towels. She has charisma and charm. Daren Kelly, as her cheated-upon husband, Nelson Vanderlyn, has one great song, “Tell Her I’m Happy”. Susy Branch (Patti Murin) is the scheming fiancée, and her poor partner in crime, Nick Lansing (Stephen Plunkett), a sincere, romantic type, brims with love and song. His repetitive title duo with Susy, “Glimpses of the Moon”, is rapturous and sentimental. Winthrop “Streffy” Strefford (Glenn Peters), a Brit waiting for title and fortune, who becomes lucky by way of a storm, gives Nick a run for his lady, “I’ll Step Aside”.

Susy’s great song is the reprise of “Cigars”, a reference to the box of Cubans that they “borrow” from the hostess with the mostest. Coral Hicks (Laura Jordan) has her hot hands and eager eyes out for Nick, as she takes him on archeological safaris, and Ursula Gillow (also Laura Jordan) fills out this fine cast with glamour and whimsicality. Jana Robbins’ song, “Right Here, Right Now”, happens at the piano, a brief, but pleasant cameo. The songs are imaginatively woven into this scintillating script, and the audience could have sung along on each reprise. The authentic choreography, Charleston and more, is dazzling and delightful. John Mercurio on piano and Geoff Burke on reeds kept the musicality and ambiance lively and lyrical. Kudos to Edith Wharton and kudos to the creators and cast of Glimpses of the Moon.

You can click here for upcoming productions and events at The Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room.

Patti Murin (Susy) and Daren Kelly (Nelson)

Laura Jordan (Coral)
Photo Courtesy of Erica Parise

Patti Murin (Susy) and Stephen Plunkett (Nick)
Photo Courtesy of Katie Rosin

Jana Robbins and John Mercurio

Lisa Zinni and Marc Bruni

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at