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Magis Theatre Company Presents: "Her Name Is Vincent: An Evening with Edna St. Vincent Millay"
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Magis Theatre Company Presents: "Her Name Is Vincent: An Evening with Edna St. Vincent Millay"

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Il Punto Ristorante
(formerly Osteria Gelsi)
507-509 Ninth Avenue
New York, N Y 10018

Traditional, Authentic Italian Dining
Old World Style, with Comfort and Attention
Three Dining Rooms, Private Events Welcome
Midtown West, Near Broadway Shows, Fashion District

Magis Theatre Company

Her Name Is Vincent:
An Evening with Edna St. Vincent Millay
(Edna St. Vincent Millay Bio)

The Millay Sisters: a Cabaret
Aria da Capo

Conceived by Cynthia Croot,
Margi Sharp Douglas, and Rachel Murdy
In Collaboration with Ms. Croot, Ms. Douglas, Ms. Murdy,
Deborah Philips, and Steven Katz

Abingdon Theatre Company’s
Dorothy Strelsin Theatre
312 West 36th Street

George Drance as Eugen/Corydon
Erika Iverson as Kathleen Millay
Frank Mihelich as Cothurnus
Thomas Piper as Charlie/Pierrot
Margi Sharp as Vincent/Thyrsis
Rachel Benbow Murdy as Norma Millay Ellis/Columbine

Directed by Cynthia Croot
Music Director and Pianist: Steven Katz
Set Designer: David M. Barber
Lighting Designer: Raquel Davis
Costume Designer: Juliann E. Kroboth
Sound Designer: Peter Lettre
Production Stage Manager: Laurie Rae Waugh
Asst. Stage Manager: Stephanie Brookover
Public Relations: Les Schecter

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 10, 2009

This two part tribute to the renowned poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, has a musical and bubbly first act and a silly and sophomoric second act. Part 1, “The Millay Sisters: A Cabaret”, presents Edna (Margi Sharp) and her sister, Norma (Rachel Murdy), re-enacting, in no particular order, fantasy scenes from the Millay household. With Stephen Katz at the piano, Ms. Sharp and Ms. Murdy actually create some fine vocals, my favorite part of the evening, but not enough of the biographical chronology to add detail and nuance to the events. Erika Iverson, in the background, with chalk and mural paper, is the psychologically weak sister, Kathleen, who scribbles and draws nonsensically across the wall. George Drance, as Edna’s lover/husband, Eugen, has persuasive stage presence, which could have been enlarged, had the biographical structure been stronger than that of entertainment.

In fact, Rachel Murdy could hardly have been more annoying, as tonight’s audience arrived in this intimate setting. She was like a circus barker, calling on the audience to pay attention to her jovialities and dressing up a theatergoer in cartoonish props with a tray of cookies, asking him to read a few lines. Ms. Murdy was coarse and grating in her up-staging of the story of this sophisticated, vamp-poet. Ms. Millay was a vivid character in Greenwich Village’s 1920’s heyday, known as a “sex goddess”. I had hoped to hear all her wild stories, interspersed with song and poems, but, instead, heard a few vibrant songs, interspersed with literary and biographical sound bites. Not one complete poem stood out in this skit. It should be noted that Margi Sharp could expand on this show (with a new musical cast) for a future cabaret series, as she sings beautifully; poetry and songs, with authentic, narrative content, could be a hit.

Ms. Millay’s “Aria da Capo”, with characters crawling on the floor and eating and drinking at a table filled with plastic fruit and lobsters and faux wine, was a bore. Again, Mr. Drance was featured, this time as Corydon, with Ms. Sharp as Thyrsis, Ms. Murdy as Columbine, Frank Mihelich as Cothurnus, and Thomas Piper as Pierrot. “Aria da Capo” originated in a Provincetown theater in 1919, and the fact that it’s obsolete is no coincidence. It was during this misconceived Part 2 that I longed to hear, one more time, Ms. Sharp’s Part 1 rendition of “You Go To My Head”. Again, she should take this core idea and make herself a real cabaret show of substance.

Margi Douglas and Rachel Murdy in
"Her Name Is Vincent:
An Evening with Edna St. Vincent Millay"
Courtesy of Marcus Hirnigel

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