Clark State Community College delivers a commendable production of librettist Jeffrey Lane (“Mad About You”) and composer David Yazbek’s (“The Full Monty”) funny, naughty 2005 Tony Award-nominated musical “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” a faithful adaptation of the 1988 film of the same name.
Smoothly directed by Geoffrey D. Moss and set on the French Riviera, admirably envisioned by scenic designer Dan Hunt, “Scoundrels” predominately succeeds on the entertaining teamwork of Troy M. Berry and Jimmy Straley as competitive con men Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson, respectively. As Lawrence and Freddy wage a bet to swindle $50,000 from American soap heiress Christine Colgate (the radiantly perky Haley Justice), Berry’s sophisticated flair and veteran aptitude fittingly complements Straley’s hilariously immature raunchiness. The tall, comically conceited Berry is also the stronger singer (“Love Sneaks In” is a tender Act 2 highpoint), but Straley, a genuine goofball, excels at physical comedy and sight gags which is essential. They particularly join forces for delightful renditions of “All About Ruprecht” and “Dirty Rotten Number,” terrific standouts within Yazbek’s wonderfully suave, lilting and peppy score, firmly handled by music director Thomas Kushmaul, Jr.’s first-rate orchestra, that reiterate his status as one of the most flavorful composers of contemporary musical theater.
In featured roles, David M. Schopmeyer brings an understated charm to Andre Thibault, Lawrence’s unassuming accomplice who sparks a middling romance with vacationing divorcee Muriel Eubanks, sharply portrayed by Kate Blackburn. As boisterous oil heiress Jolene, who precedes Christine on Lawrence and Freddy’s devious radar, the energetic Leah Schultz leads the infectious country and western toe-tapper “Oklahoma?,” spiritedly choreographed by Katie Kerry.
“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” concludes today at 3 p.m. in Kuss Auditorium of the Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield. Act One: 65 minutes; Act Two: 65 minutes. Tickets are $8-$10. The show contains adult language. For tickets or more information, call (937) 328-3874 or visit pac.clarkstate.edu
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