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The Pearl Theatre Company Presents "The Philanderer" by Shaw at City Center Stage II
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The Pearl Theatre Company Presents "The Philanderer" by Shaw at City Center Stage II

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The Pearl Theatre Company
J.R. Sullivan, Artistic Director

The Philanderer

By Bernard Shaw
(Shaw Bio)

Directed by Gus Kaikkonen

City Center Stage II
West 55th Street, Btw. 6th and 7th Avenues

Rachel Botchan, Dominic Cuskern,
Shalita Grant, Karon Graves, Bradford Cover,
Dan Daily, Chris Mixon, Chris Richards

Scenic Design: Jo Winiarski
Costume Design: Sam Fleming
Lighting Design: Stephen Petrilli
Sound Design: Jane Shaw
Dramaturg: Kate Farrington
Fight Direction: Rod Kinter
Production Stage Manager: Erin Albrecht
Costume Shop Manager: Anna Light
Production Manager/Tech. Director: Gary Levinson
Production Asst.: Emily Rolston
Property Master: Carlos Aguilar
Wigs: Gerard Kelly

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 24, 2012

The Pearl Theatre Company is, for me, this season’s great discovery. Its ensemble company is filled with seasoned chemistry, stage persona, impassioned presentation, and ebullient energy. Each event is like traveling to The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in the Berkshires, for a Salon experience. In fact, the intimacy of City Center Stage II allows the audience to be practically onstage with the characters, as if one is in the theatrical mix. Thus, the feeling of attending a Salon. Tonight’s play, The Philanderer, by Shaw, was a total delight, from start to finish. Its theme is modern romance at the turn of the twentieth century, a paradox by today’s standards, as the rights of the “modern” woman are incredibly up again for political discourse.

The eight characters are introduced by Leonard Charteris (Bradford Cover), who desires and pursues the voluptuous Grace Tranfield (Rachel Botchan). The opening scene finds them quite immersed in intimacy on an elegant couch. In fact, the entire series of sets is quite elegant: A flat in Ashley Gardens, London, the library of the Ibsen Club, and the sitting room of Dr. Paramore’s office. Sets open and close, openings are shut with paintings, and the mood is farce. Julia Craven (Karron Graves), the elder daughter of Colonel Craven (Dan Daily), is in pursuit to marry Leonard, and Grace is out to stop her, no matter the obstacles. Joseph Cuthbertson (Dominic Cuskern), Grace’s father (Grace is an adventurous and eligible widow), is a theater critic, who makes fun of all the theater critics in the audience, a joke by Shaw. Dr. Paramore (Chris Mixon) enters the scene, because Colonel Craven thinks he has little time left on earth, due to a rare disease, and he wants his life in order, before he succumbs. This being a comedy, the Colonel gets a reprieve. Dr. Paramore’s office is filled with solutions and a skeleton, but he’s not too ghoulish to run after Julia, in a tightly twisted plot, to free Leonard for Grace.

One other character, with personality plus, is Sylvia Craven, the Colonel’s younger daughter, played by the energized Shalita Grant, who briskly scampers about in britches. Chris Richards is Page Boy and Butler. Gus Kaikkonen has directed to maximize fascination with each of the characters, and he has lots of talent to work with in this precise and professional company. Jo Winiarski’s shifting set was so mesmerizing, it should be recycled somehow for future productions. The actors are involved themselves, at times, in scene changes, which gives the action a seamless quality. Sam Fleming’s costumes are museum quality, and Stephen Petrilli’s lighting and Jane Shaw’s sound round out this exceptional theatrical production. With the Pearl Theatre Company, it’s impossible to choose one actor for praise, as the ensemble combines for dramatic gestalt. Kudos to all.

Rachel Botchan and Bradford Cover
in Pearl Theatre Company's
"The Philanderer"
Courtesy of Jacob J. Goldberg

Bradford Cover and Karron Graves
in Pearl Theatre Company's
"The Philanderer"
Courtesy of Jacob J. Goldberg

Dominic Cuskern and Karron Graves
in Pearl Theatre Company's
"The Philanderer"
Courtesy of Jacob J. Goldberg

Shalita Grant
in Pearl Theatre Company's
"The Philanderer"
Courtesy of Jacob J. Goldberg

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