Dames at Sea, book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, music by Jim Wise
Last chance to see “Dames at Sea”: A 42 Street Moon presentation, tomorrow, Sunday, December 16, 3 PM. Almost sold out!
“Dames at Sea” had its initial performance on Off-Off Broadway’s Caffe Cino in 1966. According to program notes by Robert Sokol, the light-hearted musical was written as a “valentine” to the Busby Berkeley musicals of the 1930s, the original being under an hour as it was written as a sketch. Wowing audiences and critics alike was newcomer, eighteen year-old Bernadette Peters, who originated the part of Ruby in that production, now beautifully played by Lauren Meyer.
The production is a musical fantasy in that naïve Ruby steps off a bus from the Midwest, forgets her suitcase at the station, auditions for a part in a musical and nails it. Her suitcase is found in the nick of time and delivered to her by a handsome sailor, Dick-sweetly rendered by Jeffrey Scott Parsons. Her rival is the dark-haired, sultry, sexy Mona Kent (credit the book author for this spot on character name), beautifully portrayed by a smokyAshley Cowl. Dick’s buddy is Lucky (aptly played by Chaz Feuerstine). Ruby is befriended by Joan (a believable Mellissa WolfKlain), who serves as a buffer between Ruby and Mona. The upshot is that just when they’re about to open their show, they learn that their theatre has been bought by developers and is about to be bulldozed into a pile of rubble. What are they going to do? The sailors- with seductive Mona’s help- convince the ship’s captain (a terrific Keth Pinto who doubles as sailor Hennessey. His comic timing is great, especially as the Captain. His mustache is the topper!) to let them stage their show on the ship. It will enhance the image of the US Navy favorably in the eyes of the people. He agrees and it draws record crowds. Memorable songs are: “Broadway Baby,” “The Choo-Choo Honeymoon,” “Dames at Sea”, and the always great “Good Times are Here to Stay”. This is a wonderful show, perfect to lend a bit of delight in these strange, unsettling times. Go see it to relieve some weight from your heart and soul. As one song of the era advises “Forget Your Troubles and Just Be Happy!”
The music is provided by the 42nd Street regulars: Dave Dobrusy and Ken Brill who are “Dames” characters in their own right. Nicole Helfer directed and choreographed; Scene design by Brian Wats0n; period costumes by Ashley Garlick.
Today at the Gateway Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco. 3PM only.