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Roundabout Theatre Company Presents "The Robber Bridegroom" at the Laura Pels Theatre
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Roundabout Theatre Company Presents "The Robber Bridegroom" at the Laura Pels Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights

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Roundabout Theatre Company
Todd Haimes, Artistic Director
Harold Wolpert, Managing Director
Julia C. Levy, Executive Director
Sydney Beers, General Manager
in association with Daryl Roth

The Robber Bridegroom
(The Robber Bridegroom Website)

Book & Lyrics by Alfred Uhry
Music by Robert Waldman
based on the novella by Eudora Welty

Directed by Alex Timbers
Choreographer: Connor Gallagher
Music Director: Justin Levine

Steven Pasquale, Andrew Durand, Evan Harrington
Greg Hildreth, Leslie Kritzer, Ahna O’Reilly
Nadia Quinn, Lance Roberts, Devere Rogers

Roundabout at Laura Pels Theatre
Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre
111 West 46th Street
New York, NY
(Roundabout Laura Pels Theatre Website)

Set Design: Donyale Werle
Costume Design: Emily Rebholz
Lighting Design: Jake DeGroot
Sound Design: Darren L. West / Charles Coes
Wig & Makeup Design: Leah J. Loukas
Orchestrations: Justin Levine / Martin Lowe
Music Coordinator: John Miller
Vocal Consultant: Liz Caplan
Fight Choreographer: Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum
Production Stage Manager: Mark Dobrow
Casting: Jim Carnahan, CSA / Stephen Kopel, CSA
Press Representative: Polk & Co.
The Robber Bridegroom General Manager: Nicholas J. Caccavo
Associate Managing Director: Steve Dow
Director of Marketing/Audience Development: Robert Sweibel
Production Management: Aurora Productions
Director of Development: Lynne Guggenheim Gregory
Founding Director: Gene Feist
Adams Associate Artistic Director: Scott Ellis

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 19, 2016

With the stage set like a Mississippi garage sale, the audience is drawn into what turns out to be a surprising level of dark, campy humor, although of the ghoulish kind. This first revival of a 1975 musical, book and lyrics by Alfred Uhry and music by Robert Waldman, drew me to Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre only for its title star, Steven Pasquale, who was the magnetic romantic lead in The Bridges of Madison County, in a recent season. Mr. Pasquale has enough charisma to make any show spark. That capacity was in strong demand tonight, as the songs (not listed in the program) were bluegrass-honkytonk, sounds of a rural highway bar after a few kegs have been dried. The band, on piano, mandolins, guitars, banjo, fiddles, and bass, would have been more pleasant without the thigh-slapping lyrics.

The intermission-less tale, based on Eudora Welty’s poetic novella, is sung and spoken like a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, with a fair maiden named Rosamund (Ahna O’Reilly) taking off into the woods for mushrooms and meeting a tall, sexy bandit, Jamie Lockhart (Mr. Pasquale), who also happens to be a-wooing a lass named Rosamund, the mystery daughter of a wealthy friend, Clement Musgrove (Lance Roberts). Never mind the obvious miscommunications, this is a story of double identities and few thinking questions. Clement’s wife and Rosamund’s stepmother, Salome, is the second star of this musical, Leslie Kritzer, a showstopper extraordinaire. Her vocals and vamping and outsized persona made the event worth the trip. Another outsized character, or two, rather, were Andrew Durand and Evan Harrington, as Little Harp and Big Harp, referring to how much of their bodies were still whole (creepy side story). Also creepy was Goat (Greg Hildreth), who was on an even creepier mission, paid by Salome with a cow. Goat, as it turned out, was also a voyeur. Goat’s mother was Nadia Quinn, and Devere Rogers was Airie, both in thankless roles.

If a second acting award were to be considered, it would be for Ms. Kritzer, the first being for Mr. Pasquale, who commanded the stage in resonant song. The five-piece band added hokey, bar-styled accompaniment and interludes. Alex Timbers directed to keep the humor low (with occasional bloody, ghoulish schtick) and the volume high (especially in vocal ensemble numbers with howling solos). Connor Gallagher’s choreography was unnoticeable among the lowbrow histrionics. Justin Levine, Music Director, kept the pulse over-pronounced. Donyale Werle’s set, including stuffed animal heads, hanging pots and pans (the high point), and everyday trash, almost looked good in the DeGroot-Croiter lighting design, with candlelit lanterns everywhere, one of the few other highpoints. Emily Rebholz’ costumes were appropriate to the gestalt, and the West-Coes sound design was, as mentioned, overabundant amplification. I’d like to see Eudora Welty’s story enacted in a decidedly different style to visit her tale anew. .

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