A  Beautiful Production of Richard Isen’s “Chance”

Richard Isen’s “Chance” is a commendably ambitious musical with a lot to offer audiences.  It is a provocative musical fantasy and melodic Richard Isen ’s music and lyrics  reminding me in several songs a Sondheim’ style. Director Richard Kalfin has mounted a well-acted, agreeably sung and visually imaginative production.

After its workshop production at the York Theatre in New York “Chance” is having its world premiere staging at the Alcove Theatre in San Francisco through July 28th. It’s a musical with a subtitle  “Love, Risk and getting it Right”. “Chance” is about a gay psychologist and a handsome young rent boy  stumbling down a unique path to healing when guided by a mysterious Hollywood glamor queen who looks a little like Rosalind Russell. She beautifully quotes lines from Bette Davis film of “All About Eve”

55 year old inverted Gregory has spent his adult life denying the loss he experienced as a young man during the AIDS crisis. After a near-death experience “The Lady” appears. Is she a figment of his imagination?     Gregory is pushed out of his lonely reality by his muse and goes down the rabbit hole of mid-life crisis when he enters into a tempestuous, chancy relationship with a young male escort named Chance

“Chance” is divided into 14 scenes and some scenes are introduced by Oscar Wilde lines that are very relevant to the action and lyrics. Richard Isen’s characterizations of Gregory and Chance are first rate and by the end of the play there are enough back stories to make their actions plausible.

Outstanding is” gender illusionist” Randy Roberts as “The Lady” who delightfully quotes old movies line . She does not “interact” but she arresting sings duets with Chance. Randy has a smoky cabaret voice. You might say Randy is the star of the show. Ken Lear as Chance is a beautiful handsome hunk with a terrific voice.  He makes Chance’s seductive enticements irresistible with his great acting skill. It’s a wonderful sensual performance. Richard Hefner gives a splendid performance as Gregory with adroit acting and as pitch perfect voice.

Tammy Hall leads a cool jazz trio with Caleb Herring on bass and Ruth Prince on percussion. Tammy who is the pianist quotes some excellent Oscar Wilde lines.  Randy Roberts wears a costume designer Corrine H Di Tullio that resembles a Chic 60’s outfit straight out of “Mame”. The scenes are inevitably  played all over the area. It makes a fascinating night of musical theatre.

“Chance” runs through July 28th at the Alcove Theatre, 414 Mason Street, San Francisco For tickets call 415-992-8168 or www.thealcovetheater.com