Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
by David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane
directed by Alan Patrick Kenny
The Carnegie Visual + Performing Arts Center
Alan Patrick Kenny mines "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" for adorability and comes up with gold at The Carnegie, the same way he did with his summer hit from a couple years back, "The Full Monty" at Know. I promise you, adorable trumps everything.
Freddy is a wonderfully lunatic role and I've never seen Clark better (although he was plenty good in that "Monty" mentioned above.) Here he just balloons himself into a huge comic role.
"Scoundrels" looks surprisingly good for a show on a small budget - Kristen Robinson fashions a Fred & Ginger set, a terrace in the style of a posh seaside hotel with a huge central staircase and the orchestra playing on either side up top, under the able direction of Brian Hoffman. A swank, billowing red curtain sweeps up and down to direct our eyes to individual scenes. Costumer Jim Stump magically pulls costume after costume out of a hat.
Choreographer Patti James keeps "Scoundrels" dancing and most of her steps are in the giddy, comic spirit of the show. Happily the CCM, Northern Kentucky University and Wright State theater majors populating the ensemble know their stuff.
Aretta Baumgartner rules as a wacky rich gal who is one of Lawrence's marks as she searches for - something and Katie O'Neill does right by a very funny specialty number as a spoiled Oklahoma oil heiress.
Charlie Clark (Freddy Benson) shines in 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.' I will probably never again be able to watch someone eat beef jerky in quite the same way. His entire performance was over-the-top and deliciously entertaining. Thank you also to Mark Hardy as Lawrence Jameson for his excellent guidance throughout almost the entire show.
With something like 160 costumes and 300 props, Jim Stump (Costumer) and Jillian Floyd (Props Mistress) worked diligently on this show. Their efforts paid off tremendously. The show, directed by Alan Patrick Kenny, was stylish, glamorous, and colorfully ritzy.
The band, led by Music Director Brian D. Hoffman, was to swoon for. Patti James, Choreographer, brought the absolute best out of the cast and enabled me to feel whisked away. Mr. Hardy and Mr. Clark can sing with the best of them and make it look easy, thanks in part to Vocal Director Steve Milloy.
Also appreciated was Scenic Designer Kristen Robinson's versatility. With seemingly few changes, the set was easily converted into several different plausible locations.
No swindle here: a professional cast, a polished design, an 11-player orchestra, a hot show just a few seasons removed from Broadway, a reasonable ticket price — all in comfortably posh surroundings at Covington’s Carnegie Center. For a musical about con artists, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is surprisingly on the level.
Cincinnati Acclaim Awards:
-Outstanding Equity Performance in a Musical for Charlie Clark as Freddy Benson
Photos by Mikki Schaffner