Real or Imaginary – Which World is Better?
The Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire is poised to host the award-winning 1989 Broadway hit, “City of Angels,” and if the claims by director Nick Bowling are true, the audience is in for a spectacular experience beginning in mid-June, and continuing for the next few months. Set in the 1940s, this musical is touted to be a film noir on stage. Movies such as “Double Indemnity” and “The Big Sleep” were quite popular during that time when crime potboilers ruled the roost, which is why this production is a fitting tribute to those films.
The blending of two worlds…
The plot begins with a young crime writer arriving in Hollywood, full of hope and ambition to ensure his very first book lands on the list of bestsellers. The theme of “City of Angels” is split into two parts – the first depicts the reel world of fictional film, and is in black & white, while the other is the real world where the hassled writer Stine puts in tremendous effort to keep his project afloat. The difficulty lies when the protagonist has to make certain sacrifices to climb up the ladder of success. Bowling touches on this aspect about how much one person can let go to stay ahead in the rat race!
There has been quite a bit of experimentation with the lighting and Bowling says audiences will be more than satisfied with the end result. The music is also scintillating as it combines behop and jazz with elements of comedy thrown in. Performing at the Marriott was a challenge in more ways than one because this musical is usually presented on a proscenium stage, but in this case, the team had to work with an in-the-round performance space. Bowling says it was good to put on their thinking caps and come up with something new and full of exciting possibilities to explore in future.
Watch it for the performances!
The cast is superb with two leads being played by Rod Thomas as Stine, the writer, and deep-voiced Kevin Earley as Detective Stone, his alter-ego. Actors Megan Murphy, Summer Smart, and Dani Smith also do justice to their roles. Watch out for the interactions between Stine and Stone as they are packed with powerful, hard-hitting dialogues that dabble with the idea of crossing lines to get something that one really covets.