September 28, 2022

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‘Honky Tonk Angels’ at Cortland Rep. Twang, rinse, repeat. And we adore it (Critique)

3 min read

As its mainstage opener for this summer’s triumph of theater about adversity, Cortland Repertory Theatre offers “Honky Tonk Angels,” a relentlessly entertaining tribute to iconic region western divas from the Sixties as a result of the Eighties.

The musical was created by Ted Swindley, who penned the preferred “Always, Patsy Cline.” While that summer months theater juggernaut was fueled by Cline’s tragic biography, “Honky Tonk Angels” unspools on a much slimmer premise, focusing on three stereotypically sad women of all ages, representing the faces of women of all ages in place tunes, who are drawn to find fame as a state western trio in Nashville.

Like most jukebox musicals, the plot of “Honky Tonk Angels” is no additional than a clothesline on which to hold a major of well-liked tunes that can right away ship us back again to a happier time.

Swindley’s script will make “Mamma Mia” appear to be like “King Lear.” But who cares. The clothesline he stretches out showcases some of the most familiar songs of the women of all ages of country. And there’s adequate plot and drama in individuals music for countless cleaning soap operas.

Lilli Komerek plays Angela, who commences out as a seemingly written content mother of 6 dwelling in a double broad with her spouse Bubba, who drives a beer truck. Caitlin Lester Sams is Sue Ellen, a harried and harassed two times divorced workplace employee functioning “9 to 5.” Winsome  place woman Darleen, strumming her guitar and talking to her mamma in heaven is played by Amanda Walker.

“Honky Tonk Angels” is at its greatest when the three mix their voices in spirited song, but each individual has fine times on her personal. Komerek, location the scene whilst ironing Bubba’s shirts and calling for women of all ages to “Stand by Your Guy,” shortly will become the angry housewife thankful for “The Pill” and all set to walk out on Bubba. In the loosely made, but entertaining 2nd act, she strikes comic gold in  “Harper Valley PTA.”

Early on, Walker finds the soulful truth in Loretta Lynn’s bio-song”Coal Miner’s Daughter” and Bobbie Genty’s unhappy and  mysterious  “Ode to Billy Joe.” Sams give Sue Ellen a sassy “These Boots Are Built For Strolling,” and a sexy “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial.” There’s even a sweet reach back to country comic Minnie Pearl with Sams and Walker wearing her trademark hats with selling price tags hanging down and stepping to “Rocky Top rated.”

“Honky Tonk Angels” is presented outdoor with the viewers less than a tent. Scenic designer Nicholas Schwartz would make ingenious use of the outside the house of the Cortland Rep theater itself  for the show’s set which wittily makes use of its pilars and rails as backdrops and skeleton. The clever costumes by Wendi R. Zea parody the second in time when the woman stars of country went from buckskin and boots to sequins, bare shoulders, and large hair.

Director Trey Compton retains scenes moving at a clip and has  very good eye for comic moments. It is all about the music in any case, and the Komerek, Sams, and Walker tackle people nicely, reminding us that the actual humanity is proper there in the music of country’s queens.

The Facts:

What: “Honky Tonk Angels” at Cortland Repertory Theatre.

Where by: Cortland Repertory Theatre, 6799 Minimal York Lake Highway, Preble.

When found: July 15.

Size of efficiency: 2 hrs with intermission.

Attendance: 160. Capability for the outdoor venue.

Parental information: Great from middle university on. Young, if they can sit still.

Operates through: July 23.

Information and facts: (800) 427-6160, (607) 756-2627,

CNY Theater Guidebook 2021/2022

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