Burbank’s Colony Theatre has another superb L.A. premiere hit musical in its totally professional hands.
If it wasn’t for the fact that the Colony easily outshines most Off-Broadway venues, it would be hard to believe that no other producers in the Los Angeles area were smart enough to nab “No Way to Treat a Lady” before now.
Anyone who remembers the quirky 1968 movie with George Segal, Lee Remick and Rod Steiger knows the story. Christopher “Kit” Gill, psychopathic son of a theatrical diva, decides the best way to make a name for himself is to become a serial killer.
Kit enlists reluctant nice guy detective Morris Brummell (Mo’s name explains a lot about his personal problems, but his Jewish mother might kill him if he tried to change it) for help in this murderous pursuit of infamy. And the oddest part of it all is — these two men are living parallel lives. It’s hard to explain how a plot like that was turned into a musical comedy.
Let’s just say composer/lyricist Douglas J. Cohen has a wonderfully unique sense of humor and a wicked way with song. Cohen’s also a pretty lucky guy to get such a uniformly outstanding cast and crew this time around.
Kevin Symons as Mo is as sweet, bear-like and huggable as any NYPD detective could possibly get. It’s no time at all before Mo realizes that multi-accented Kit comes from a theatrical background.
Heather Lee as Mo’s smother-mother Flora, Kit’s diva mom, and all of Kit’s multiple strangling victims, is as charming as any number of insensitive and destructive women could possibly be.
Erica Piccininni, as Mo’s sophisticated girlfriend Sarah, couldn’t possibly be more desirable. And the amazing Jack Noseworthy is completely captivating as our merry mayhem-maker Kit, who’s so desperate for recognition that at one point he asks Mo, “Do you have any unsolved murders you could give me credit for?” They can also sing and dance.
Equally deserving of high praise are co-directors West Hyler and Shelley Butler for getting it all so right, musical director Dean Mora for making it all on cue, scenic designer Sibyl Wickersheimer for her fabulously awful orange and floral 1960s sets, and costume designer Paloma Young for getting the cast to look so good in 1960s fashions.
Last, but never least, thanks go to the Colony Theatre Staff and Artistic Director Barbara Beckley for bringing it all here to Burbank.
MARY BURKIN is a Burbank actress and playwright and Glendale lawyer.