So many men, so little time The Philadelphia Story now playing


The clock is ticking as the impending marriage of a pretentious Main Line socialite nears and her ex-husband and a new suitor look to spoil the occasion in The Philadelphia Story, now playing at The Little Theatre of Alexandria.

One of the greatest romantic comedies ever written for the stage, The Philadelphia Story is a witty and intelligent play about the arrogant and icy Tracy Lord and her confusion over beaus Mike, Dexter and George.

On the eve of her second marriage, Tracy is surprised by the appearance of both her ex-husband and a tabloid reporter, who infiltrate the festivities and force Tracy to question her decision as well as her own priorities in life.

The classic theatrical farce was written by Philip Barry in 1939 as a vehicle for Katharine Hepburn to rejunvenate her career after she was labeled box office poison and is full of rapid-fire banter delivered to perfection by the well-chosen LTA cast.

Playing the role of Tracy is Jennifer Crooks, who more than capably captures the Hepburn spirit in her attitude and mannerisms. She tackles the challenging role with confidence, adding a bittersweet vulnerability to the strong-willed but superficial socialite.

Vying for Tracys affections are her charming but loutish ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven, cynical reporter Macauley Conner, and last and unfortunately for him, least her self-made millionaire fianc George Kittredge.

The ghosts of theatrical greats are everywhere in this production as Brian Razzino takes on the role of Dexter, famously portrayed by Cary Grant in the 1940 film, and Seth Vaughn tackles the role of Macauley (Mike) in the role that won Jimmy Stewart an Academy Award.

But while Crooks evokes the nuances of Hepburn in her role, both Razzino and Vaughn leave the images of Grant and Stewart behind as they bring a fresh interpretation to the celebrated characters.

Brian Dunn is the doomed bridegroom George, who despite his wealth and acquired social skills cant quite manage to fit in with the aristocratic Lord family. Dunn plays the boring but dependable George with a twist as his own superficial motives for wanting to marry into the dysfunctional family are ultimately revealed.

Rounding out the Lord family are Sarah Holt as Tracys mother Margaret, Emily Whitworth as little sister Dinah, Sam Nystrom as brother Sandy, Donald Neal as Uncle Willie and Charles St. Charles as patriarch Seth.

The elegant Tanera Hutz brings her subtle comedic talents to the part of photographer Elizaberth Imbrie, Mikes sidekick as well as secret admirer.

The talented cast and electric script are united under the immense talent of director Steven Scott Mazzola, who is making his LTA debut. A master acting teacher and assistant to Artistic Director Michael Kahn at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Mazzola brings out the best in each character, giving each member of the cast a chance to showcase their talents with the swift repartee of dialogue and brief glimpses of physical comedy.

But Mazzola is most skilled at perfecting the timing of the pointedly delivered zingers between the actors, particularly Crooks and Razzino, as they verbally spar and throw insults at each other despite the obvious chemistry they continue to deny.

The sets and costume design, both by Grant Kevin Lane, flawlessly capture the era of the original script without distracting from the actors or turning the performance into a caricature of high society culture.

The Little Theatre of Alexandria has a proven track record of perfectly matching actors to their roles and The Philadelphia Story is no exception.

Producers Sharon Field and Rance Willis and the entire LTA staff have once again worked their magic in reviving one of theaters most enduring love stories for the next generation of romantic comedy fans.