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Melodrama Play 

Thursday, Nov 20 2008
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First produced by La Mama in 1967, Sam Shepard's rock & roll–studded one act takes an acerbic look at the music business and the wannabes who hunger after its glories. Longhaired Duke (Aaron David Gleason) is a singer with one megahit under his belt; now his manager Floyd (Gerard Marzilli) is pressuring him to come up with another, but the creative juices aren't flowing; that's because, unbeknownst to Floyd or Duke's excitable girlfriend Dana (Rebecca White), Duke had stolen the winning song from his brother, Drake (Nick Denning), and his buddy, Cisco (Harry May-Kline). The strained relationship between the brothers becomes irrelevant after Floyd places all three musicians and Dana under the intimidating watch of a psychopathic muscle-woman named Peter (Fortune Feimster, a successful cross-gender casting choice at variance from the original script). The vigil is to last until a new winning number is produced. Peter's appearance on the scene injects this hitherto hobbling production with a new dynamic, emanating from the character's odd mix of menace and vulnerability, and her comic propensity for violence. Under Peter Choi's direction, the serviceable performances unfortunately lack much spark. In particular, Gleason's spacy rocker comes off phlegmatic to a fault; by contrast, White as his opinionated companion, inclines toward histrionics. Paul Gleason Theater, 6520 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; through Nov. 22. (323) 255-5636.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 6. Continues through Nov. 22, 2008

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