The Little River Band had one big hit entitled "Reminiscing". In the Everyman Theatre production of Shooting Star, baby-boomers will be reminiscing all night long as playwright Steven Dietz loves to bring a little nostalgia for those who attended college in the late sixties and early seventies. Dietz, a professor at the University of Texas in Austin, is a prolific playwright. He's penned 18 plays and is among the "Top Ten Most Produced Playwrights in America". After you see Shooting Star, you'll understand why.
Regional theaters are always on the look-out for interesting and entertaining plays that have small casts and one set. Everyman had a huge success with Jason Robert Brown's wonderful musical "pour deux" The Last Five Years. I can even see Brown penning a musical based on Dietz' play. Like The Last Five Years , Dietz' play concerns a couple. Here, they are Reed McAllister (played by Paul Morella) and Elena Carson (played by Deborah Hazlett), who 25 years ago had a tempetuous affair for two years while at the University of Wisconsin (a bastion of liberal thinking in those days). But like many college connections, it did not last.
So, when a snow storm closes a mid-west airport, what two individuals are re-united? You guessed it, Reed and Elena. The play takes place at the airport while each is trying to catch a flight. Elena is on her way to Boston (her home is in Austin) while Reed (who lives in Boston) is heading to Austin for an important business meeting. (Am I the only who noticed that Austin rhymes with Boston?)
Reed is not optimistic about landing the account in Austin. He says, "My job is on the line, trying to catch a connecting flight that will rush me to place I don't want or need to be."
There's a cute scene in which there is a discussion about fund-raisers on National Public Radio. Eleana chimes that NPR doesn't know whether you are listening or not so why should you contribute. (In the audience was Marc Steiner who formerly worked at WYPR, a National Public Radio outlet. He obviously enjoyed this repartee. You can catch Steiner now on WEAA-FM Monday-Thursdays from 5-7 p.m.)
There's the Red State vs. Blue State colloquy. The conservative vs. the liberal. The Republican vs. the Democrat.
They allude to the hit book of the '60s, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull' and the album "Court and Spark" by folk singer Joni Mitchell.
Morella and Hazlett are two accomplished actors and they both bring their "A" game to the production.
James Fouchard's set design is a realistic portrayal of an airport with the requisite announcements. It was appropriate to have a large window showing the snowflakes coming down right after a snow storm. There is effective lighting by Rebecca Wolf and Rebecca Eastman does a nice job on the costumes.
All in all, Shooting Star is an enjoyable night at the theater, especially if you're looking for something light.
The plays ends Sunday, Febraury 20. For tickets call 410-752-2208 or visit www.everymantheatre.org.
There is a post-show talk back discussion with the ENTIRE cast and designers after the Thursday, Feb. 17 performance.
Pre-Show Discussions Are Held Regarding Everyman's Town Theatre
Forty-five minutes prior to each performance of Shooting Star, the Everyman Theatre is giving patrons an update on the space on W. Fayette St. at the soon-to-be-renovated Town Theatre. The new theater is set to open in September, 2012. It will have a fixed configuration, with a thrust stage and the audience on three sides.
Patrons will be happy to hear that the Everyman is changing from its "unreserved" seating to "reserved seating . There will be 250 seats. One of the big differences will be the lighting design.
It was mentioned that the ceiling on the current theater is so low, there was no way to do the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. The new space will also two story sets.