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Peter Covino Presents His New Show, "The Vanity", at the Clurman Theatre

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Peter Covino

The Vanity
(The Vanity Facebook Page)
Written and Composed by Peter Covino

Directed by Rachel Klein

At the
Clurman Theatre
(Theatre Row Website)
410 West 42nd Street

Remy Germinario, Kate Hoover, Erik Ransom
Ilene Kristen, Roger Yeh, Patch David
Rosalie Burke, Brandon Haagenson

Executive Producer: Peter Covino
General Manager: Veronique Ory
Music Director: Luke Williams
Choreographer: Danielle Marie Fusco
Dramaturge: Erik Ransom
Scenic/Props Designer: Joseph Croghan
Lighting Designer: Christina Watanabe
Sound Engineer: Ashton Michael Corey
Costume Designer: Rachel Klein
Production Stage Manager: Kateryna Turkalo
Fight Director: Rod Kinter

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 24, 2016

Peter Covino’s new musical, The Vanity, is original, entertaining, and so sophisticated, a tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the best of vaudeville, with bits from the 60’s thrown in. Rachel Klein has directed the vivacious troupe and even designed their costumes, with a broad brush of panache Patch David is a wealthy heir, Julian Gray, who arrives in Hollywood in 1947. Suddenly he’s starring in a film, directed by Hilton Wheelan (Erik Ransom), and he falls for the makeup lady, Stella (Rosalie Burke). Julian’s antique vanity table and attached mirror, however, darkens Julian’s mood, as it’s possessed by a ghost of a long ago relative, who seduces Julian into a Fustian pact.

The ghost, called The Spirit, is performed by Brandon Haagenson, with commanding presence. The Spirit persuades Julian to join him in eternal youth, to be frozen forever at his current age. Julian loves to party, but soon finds the consequences too steep, as he loses the love of his life, who ages over decades without him. Wheelan’s wife, Claudia, in contrast, is aging too quickly for her husband and her own comfort zone, and her lines and tunes are over-the-top outrageous. Roger Yeh, as Baxter Hughes, Remy Germinario as Declan and four additional characters, and Kate Hoover as Betty and three additional characters, fill in the cast. Luke Williams, Music Director, also plays percussion and harp, joined by musicians on brass, strings, and woodwinds.

Staged at the intimate Clurman Theatre, the efficiently quick, engaging scenic changes (by Joseph Croghan), warmly lit by Christina Watanabe, drew the eye and one’s imagination, transporting us to the retro glamor of Los Angeles, 1947-1966. Ashton Michael Corey, Sound Engineer, kept the lyrics, notes, and lines crisp and bright. Ms. Klein’s costumes include The Spirit’s Victorian suit, Claudia’s flashy, splashy outfits, and Ms. Hoover’s sleek attire. The props, as well, made each costume visually burst joy from the stage. Danielle Marie Fusco’s choreography added some vaudevillian kicks and flirtatious gestures, an impressive feat for a busy, small stage. The fanciful, yet uncluttered scenes occurred in such places as Julian’s palazzo, a psychiatric institution, Hilton and Claudia’s Bel Air pool, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Songs, by Peter Covino, who wrote book, music, and lyrics, were stunning, like “Youth Evermore” (Julian), “Your Torch Is Lit” (Stella), “I Dig the 60’s” (Claudia, Hilton, Declan), and “Mirror Song” (Spirit and Julian). Each of the actors expressively sang the tunes, danced with style, and made the most of the show’s high comic wit. Kudos to Peter Covino for this refreshing, new show, and hopefully we’ll see this work onstage again soon.

Patch David and Rosalie Burke
in "The Vanity"
Courtesy of Nestor Correa

Roger Yeh, Erik Ransom, and Patch David
in "The Vanity"
Courtesy of Nestor Correa

Brandon Haagenson in "The Vanity"
Courtesy of Nestor Correa

Remy Germinario and Kate Hoover
in "The Vanity"
Courtesy of Nestor Correa

Irene Kristen, Remy Germinario, and Erik Ransom
in "The Vanity"
Courtesy of Nestor Correa

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