Carlo Goldonis La Locandiera, first produced in Venice circa 1750, has held the stage sporadically ever since, providing a vehicle for such theatrical divas as Eleonora Duse. Now its been made into a musical, with book and lyrics by Dakin Matthews and music by B.T. Ryback. Matthews emphasizes a feminist slant, and transfers the action to Liberty, N.Y., in 1787. Mirandolina (Deborah May), the clever, independent proprietor of the Liberty Inn, inspires amorous feelings in her guests, including a rich English count (John Combs) and a vain, impecunious French marquess (John DeMita). She humors her lovesick swains for the sake of business, but a woman-hating Hessian captain (Norman Snow) offers a challenge, so she sets out to enchant him. Her flirtation is so successful that her loyal servant, Faber (Bill Mendieta), must rescue her from the violently enamored captain. Part of the fun is, ironically, the plots predictability. The songs, with Matthews playfully rhyming lyrics, are more clever than memorable, but director Anne McNaughton stages the piece con brio, and the cast (including Charlotte DiGregorio and Mark Doerr) plays it with zest, aided by Dean Camerons lavish colonial costumes and classically simple set. NewPlace Studio Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m. (no perfs Easter weekend); through April 25. Produced by Andak Stage Company. (866) 811-4111 or Andak.org.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: March 13. Continues through April 25, 2010