[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of the Group Rep’s production of “Room Service,” written by John Murray and Allen Boretz, directed by Mareli Mitchel-Shields, produced by Kathleen R. Delaney, and through October 15 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood.
“Room Service” was first produced in 1937, in the rough and tumble of old Broadway. It ran to great success and was then made into a Marx Brothers’ movie and then a musical with Frank Sinatra. So it has quite the pedigree!
The lovely folks at the Group Rep have decided in their wisdom to make this classic farce one of two final shows of their 50th anniversary season and I can understand why.
Set around a Broadway producer who’s down on his luck and running out of options as he and his cast live in a hotel while rehearsing a new historical drama by a young playwright, it’s a story of the little guy making good on his dreams…in any way he can.
Desperate to save himself and the play, the producer and his brother-in-law, who is the hotel manager, try to fend off his boss, the area manager, who is intent on throwing them all out of the hotel before they can open. Then the writer turns up with only a few cents in his pocket, looking for his Broadway dreams to come true. Everyone is either young and naive, or older and used to living on the edge of financial disaster! It’s panic on the verge of disaster at every turn! Chaos constantly ensues…brilliant!
It’s a hilarious play in a lovely old-fashioned way. Snappy dialogue, big characters, with a gorgeous art deco vibe and pre-war innocence. The Group Rep really knocked this out of the park. The casting is superb, any one of these actors would look right at home in a black and white movie, or on the lot in 1930s Hollywood. They all do such an excellent job of reflecting the era the story is set in. The men are all irony and tweed pants and the women are sassy dames. I loved it!!
If you are in the mood for a fun frolic through the era that brought us Bogart and Bette Davis, Chaplin and Hepburn and Mae West, then you are really in for a treat! It’s a great story with more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at.
Run don’t walk to the Lonny Chapman Theatre in NoHo for your rendezvous with the utterly brilliant “Room Service.”
Running through October 15.
Lonny Chapman Theatre
10900 Burbank Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601
The Group Rep cast features the talents of Fox Carney, Joe Clabby, Joseph Eastburn, Sandra Fancher, Tommy Jacobs, Jessica Kent, Sam Logan, Will Maizel, Matthew McLaughlin, Cynthia Payo, Jackie Shearn, Wesley Simpkin, Bonnie Snyder, Melissa Strauss, Axel Truitt, Sal Valletta, Grant Velarde, Timothy Willard, Chris Winfield and Tilly Ye.
The Creative Team includes Mareli Mitchel-Shields (Director), Kathleen R. Delaney (Producer), Chris Winfield (Set Design), Frank McKown (Lighting Design), Aylah Robinson (Costume Design), Reid Woodbury, Jr. (Sound Design), Paul Cady (Music Director), Sasha Kartman (Stage Manager), Cynthia Payo (Assistant Director), Brent Beerman (Assistant Director), John Ledley (Assistant Stage Manager), Reggie (Properties Manager), Denise Downer (Marketing), Kristin Stancato (Webmaster & Online Marketing), Doug Engalla (Promotional Video & Photography), Doug Haverty (Graphic Design), Bridget Murray (Social Media) and Jackie Shearn (Social Media).