2004-08-20 / Community

RTC Presents Hilarious Farce At Fort Tilden

A Wave Review

On Friday night, August 13, the Rockaway Theatre Company opened its latest production, the hilarious farce Drop Dead at the Post Theater at Fort Tilden. Judging by the audience reaction, the RTC can add another notch to its belt of hits for this season. Drop Dead, written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, centers around the trials and tribulations of director, Victor LePewe (Michael Wotypka) who is a theatrical legend in his own mind and in the mind of his slavishly devoted stage manager/lover, Phillip, played hysterically, by Darnell Smalls.

The cast is rounded out by an outrageous group of characters beginning with Saul Weisenheimer(Sal Trento) a sleazy producer, Candy Apples (Nicola DePierro) the sleazy producer’s gum-snapping porn star girlfriend, Brent Reynolds (Joseph Canizio) an ego maniacal method actor, Mona Monet (Carol LoPorto) a vain T.V. “Has-been” actress, Constance Crawford (Selma Kleinman) a hearing-impaired, senile silent film star, Chaz Looney (Walter Birkhold) a brown-nosing novice actor with a penchant for bad accents, and Dick Shalit (Steven Ackerman) a T.V. repairman-turned actor who happens to be the look-a-like-brother of critic, Gene Shalit. Put them all together and you’ve got the wackiest cast of characters ever to grace the stage of a theatre.

During Act I the audience witnesses one of the funniest dress rehearsals in theatre history. The actors, the producer, the director and the playwright quarrel, while sets fall down, props break and two members of the cast are mysteriously murdered. The actual opening night performance takes place during Act II and you can be sure the final act is chock full of mania, mayhem and Umurder,/U as the actors struggle to complete the play and remain alive when the final curtain goes down.

This is a very physical show in which timing is everything. The efforts of this hardworking and talented cast were rewarded when audience members, doubled over with laughter, showed their appreciation with thunderous applause. As director, Frances Ruoff, a Breezy Point local, stated, “ Drop Dead is true theatrical farce in the classical sense. If it’s done right, there’s nothing funnier” Audience members, like Susan Millwater, of Glendale, agreed, “They must be doing something right because the show was hilarious.” If you want to have a thoroughly enjoyable comic theatrical experience, head down to the Post Theatre at Fort Tilden, on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights during the next two weekends and see for yourself. However, don’t forget to call 718-850-2450 and make a reservation. When a show is this good, tickets go very quickly!

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