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An Italian Straw Hat: A Vaudeville 

Thursday, Sep 18 2008
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Lyricist John Strand and composer Dennis McCarthy's new musical opens with the cast singing "God save your hat!" — an ode to an outmoded accessory that here is central. The new comedy, set in 1906, takes place in Manhattan, where groom-to-be Fadley (Daniel Blinkoff) sees his wedding day derailed by a cheating bride (Michelle Duffy) and her soldier lover (Damon Kirsche), who refuse to leave Fadley's honeymoon suite until he restores her propriety, i.e., her hat — a monstrosity laden with fake bananas and apples. The amusing and ensuing mayhem is almost a mockery of the form — the soft-shoe routines and modest rhymes (one ditty rhymes "chapeaux" with "sombrero"). The jokes are a mix of racy double entendres and self-reflexive gag in which Fadley bemoans his disastrous day as being like "one of those vaudeville farces." Still, anchored by the winning Blinkoff's commitment to his nervous bimbo-beaux, the strong-voiced and energetic ensemble capture the audience's heart, bypassing any thought in the world. Standouts include Erika Whalen as the bride, Alan Blumenfeld as her irate father and Kasey Mahaffy — whose two supporting turns bring down the house by riffing off modern stoner flicks instead of old Broadway. Executed with precision by director Stefan Novinski and musical director Dennis Castellano, the event is as breezy and inconsequential as the roller skates worn by the crew when changing the set.
Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Sept. 5. Continues through Oct. 5, 2008
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Reach the writer at anicholson@laweekly.com

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