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Vancouver Theatre: City of Angels

Miranda MacDougall, Donal Thoms-Cappello, Caitlin Clugston, Crystal Balint, Michael Lomenda, and Jennifer Copping. Photo by Rhonda Dent.

City of Angels
Music by Cy Coleman, Lyrics by David Zippel, Book by Larry Gilbert
Directed by Jennifer Copping and Sylvia M Zaradic
Musical Direction by Angus Kellett, Choreography by Ken Overbey.
Putting It Together Collective at Performance Works
July 8th to 17th, 2017

Caitlin Clugston. Photo by Rhonda DentVancouver, BC: Set in Los Angeles in the late 1940s this musical blends the technicolor, real world story of Stine (Donal Thomas-Cappello), author of detective novel City of Angels, and the film noir world of Stine’s screenplay which he is adapting from his book. The project is in the over-controlling hands of Hollywood producer - director Buddy Fidler (Paul Herbert) who, aided by by his secretary Donna (Jennifer Copping). constantly forces rewrites, to Stine's frustration.

Donal Thoms-Cappello and Michael Lomenda. Photo by Rhonda DentIn Stine’s screenplay, Stone (Michael Lomenda ) is a LA private eye who has been hired by the rich and sexy Alaura (Crystal Balint) to find her missing step-daughter, bad girl Mallory (Miranda MacDougal). During the course of his hunt, he encounters a host of bad characters, and uncovers a complicated murder plot. Stone still hankers after his ex-girfriend, lounge singer, Bobbi (Caitlin Clugston) but is pursued by his ex-partner on the police force, Lt.Munoz (Tim Perez) in connection with the murder of the Hollywood producer who was sleeping with her. 

Since the screen play is populated with the alter-egos of many of the people in Stone’s life, and most of the actors play double roles, it can get a bit confusing but I just sat back and enjoyed the music and the action and the first half though long, sped by.

The performance space was alley style and quite long with video projections on a large screen at both ends. It was sometimes difficult to see the action at the far end from where I sat. If you can, snag a front row seat so you don't have sightline difficulties.

The cast delivered strong performances. I specially enjoyed the sultry delivery of “Every breath I take” by Bobbi. One often reads authors commenting that when their writing goes well their characters take over the direction of their plots and I thought Stine and Stone singing “you’re nothing without me,” was another highlight. Art coming from real life.

Overall I really enjoyed the evening and  recommend the show. It’s at Performance Works on Granville Island until July 17th. Tickets  available HERE.