Judith Taranto Presents “Nancy F***ing Reagan.” Written by Daniel Hurewitz. Directed by Larry Margo.
Running July 12 – August 4, 2019 – Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM
David is trying to turn 50 graciously, and his best friend Maggie has even organized a Palm Springs weekend for a few friends.
But the death of former First Lady Nancy Regan that same week provokes David’s festering anger, reminding him how the unchecked AIDS epidemic diminished his life and left him single for many years. Gently cajoled by his friends to let go of the past, David struggles, sometimes comically, to embrace the future but not forget his history.
The play revolves around David and his impending 50th birthday. As he tries to celebrate, he can not shake the anger of so many of his friends who should be there. Those he loved who died in the AIDS epidemic of the 80s and those who he never got the chance to know because of it. The waste of so many possibilities hangs over him as his best friend Maggie does her best to remind him of all he has and all that could be.
With a solid premise and taut dialogue, “Nancy F**king Reagan” comes across entertaining with a poignant message.
The cast as a whole is so well cast that it felt like I was eavesdropping on a weekend with friends. A particular stand out is Kiff Schol (David) as he shows us the characters whole range of emotions, clearly, authentically and convincingly. But the anchor and heart of the play belongs to Deb Tinsley (Maggie). I couldn’t take my eyes off her as she embodied the heart and soul of the playwright’s intentions. The direction by Larry Mango was solid and engaging. Its subject matter took me back to a time where thousands of people were dying from an insidious disease made worse by not being mentioned by the most powerful and influential couple.
This is important. It is important that we remember the pain of the tragedy and the impact it had on us all and still does to this day. It is important that we honor those who died and find some solace perhaps in those that suffered and have been saved.
I left the theatre informed, moved and thoroughly entertained.
Featuring: Colbert Alembert (Kenny), Amy Kirsten (Erica), Mark Sande (Richard), Greg Ivan Smith (Jason), Kiff Schol (David), Deb Tinsley (Maggie), Safiya Quinley (Allison).
Creative Team: Chris Winfield (Set Design), Cheryl Crosland (Costume and Prop Design), Doug Gabrielle (Lighting Design), Steve Shaw (Sound Design), Judith Taranto (Production Manager)
The Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 magnolia Blvd., N Hollywood, CA 91601