Category Archive for: ‘Flora Lynn Isaacson’

RVP Presents “Old Money” by Wendy Wasserstein

For the final production of their 2013-1014 season, Ross Valley Players is presenting “Old Money,” a comedy of manners that explores the differences between “old money” and “new money” in New York City, by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning-author Wendy Wasserstein.

Under the imaginative direction of Kim Bromley, in an appropriately gorgeous house designed and built by Michael Walraven and showcasing a Gary Marsh sculpture, the company of 8 actors are all double-cast because the play is set in two eras, the early 1900s and the beginning of the 21st Century. These 8 actors move effortlessly from one time period to the other at a dinner party in a lavish mansion on the fashionable Upper East Side of Manhattan.

The host, Jeffrey Bernstein (Geoffrey Colton), a contemporary master of high risk arbitrage in the present day, alternates with Arnold Strauss at a previous dinner party in the past. So it goes with the rest of the cast. Bernstein’s guests of today include a Hollywood director Sid Nercessian (Johnny DeBernard) who becomes the outspoken robber baron Tobias Pfeiffer in the past. Bernstein’s aggressive publicist, Flinty McGee (Karen Leland), becomes socialite Florence DeRoot in the past. Film director Sid Nercessian’s wife Penny (Trungta Kositchaimongkol), an online lingerie designer, becomes Betina Brevoort, in the past. Other guests include the film director’s rebellious daughter Caroline (Gillian Eichenberger) who alternates as the maid Mary Gallagher, also in the present. Robin Wiley plays the not-so-cutting-edge sculptor, Saulina, who becomes Sally Webster, in the past. Veteran actor Wood Lockhart portrays the academic Tobias Vivian Pfeiffer III who taught the history of New York City for 50 years in the present and becomes the architect Schuyler Lynch, in the past. Observing the whole play and commenting to the audience is Jeffrey’s college-age-son, Ovid Walpole Bernstein (Jesse Lumb, in a great performance).

Trips to the garden allow these 8 actors to switch into the costumes required for their double roles. Having this happen so often is confusing for the audience. This applies to all 8 actors and the 16 characters they play. In this continual dance of rich story-telling and social commentary, it becomes strikingly clear that while old money has become new, little else has changed over the years.

“Old Money” is running at Ross Valley Players from July 17 through August 17, 2014. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. All performances take place at the Barn Theatre home of the Ross Valley Players, located at 30
Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Ross CA. To order tickets, call 415-456-9555, extension 1, or visit www.rossvalleyplayers.com.

Coming up next at Ross Valley Players to begin their new season will be “The Fox on the Fairway,” a hilarious farce by Ken Ludwig, September 12 through October 12, 2014.

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