Beggar's Holiday
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Ed Smith

Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley has brought together some of the most talented actors, singers and musicians in the Bay Area, as well as some Broadway talent, to appear in an all-new adaptation of Beggar’s Holiday. The musical, based on John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, was written by Dale Wasserman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Man of La Mancha) with musical score by Duke Ellington.

With Lee Sankowich and Richard Gibbs as director and choreographer of this fantastic cast – including Broadway’s Christopher Neal Jackson and Bay Area talent Joe Bellan, Cathleen Riddley, Virginia Wilcox, Joan Mankin, Ed Sarafian, Elizabeth Carter, Alison Ewing and more – you’re guaranteed to be entertained in style. Add to this a seven-piece orchestra directed by Don York and Marin Theatre’s new sound system designed and installed by Norman Kern and you can be sure your feet will be tapping and you’ll be longing to get up on stage and dance with the cast.

The only down side to the production is that this is not Wasserman at his best. Though the music and sound are great, the storyline lacks the drama of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the songs lack the poignancy of Man of La Mancha. It’s basically a very lightweight comedy that could have been much more.

But if you’re satisfied with a lot of good song and dance entertainment, this production provides it with plenty of energy from the cast and great voices. Keep an eye on the orchestra’s violinist Allison Cornell. She’s an excellent singer. Also pay attention to the new sound system. If you really listen you can hear many subtle differences such as the improved balance between orchestra and voices.

For tickets or more information call (415) 388-5208 or visit www.marintheatre.org.

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