The three shows on Cape Cod stages this week all involve romance, but from very different perspectives. Which one is what you would like to watch in the evening?
Ken Ludwig’s “Dear Jack, Dear Louise” is recounted in letters sent during WWII between people from different American shores who have never met. “Carousel” is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical about a tragic love affair with many songs that have stood the test of time. And Miranda Jonte’s one-woman show tells a personal story that many of us can relate to in different ways. Here’s what our reviews want you to know:
Review: “Dear Jack, Dear Louise”
Written by: Ken Ludwig, presented by Cape Rep Theater
What is it about : It’s the first days of WWII and Jack and Louise – on opposite coasts – are reunited by parents who are sure they should meet, if only through the US Postal Service. What follows is a courtship show as Jack, a military medic in Oregon, and Louise, a struggling actress in the Big Apple, work their way through the ups and downs of their budding romance. The audience is there in Louise’s boudoir and Jack’s military barracks while each of the lovers recites letters to the other.
Highlight of the show: The timing of the co-stars is perfect. As Jack (Lewis D. Wheeler) opens a letter on his half of the stage, Louise (Jade Schuyler) recites its contents in his little corner of the world. Then, of course, the process is reversed. Neither reacts to the other, cementing the illusion that the correspondents are separated by thousands of kilometers.
Fun fact: The play is actually based on the real-life romance of playwright Ken Ludwig’s parents. This should tell you that there is a happy ending; Ludwig is, after all, here to tell the story.
To note: The combination of authentic WWII costumes and love songs transports audiences to an era of romance and glamor.
One more thing : The scene is adorned with oversized sheets of stationery and telegrams, an effective reminder of romance to the letter.
If you are going to: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday to November 21 at the Cape Rep Theater, 3299 Route 6A, Brewster. Tickets: $ 25; Reservations and information: 508-896-1888, www.caperep.org. All customers will be required to show proof of vaccination and will be required to wear a mask during performances.
Written by: Oscar Hammerstein II with music by Richard Rodgers, presented by Falmouth Theater Guild
What is it about : Based on the 1909 play “Liliom”, this 1945 Broadway musical is set in a coastal Maine community and tells the tragic love story of carousel Billy Bigelow and carpenter Julie Jordan. Mistakes are made along the way and, more importantly, there is a chance for redemption.
To see it or not? This three-hour “carousel” and one intermission features many exceptional performances and songs that will accompany you long after the curtain falls. While not Rodgers & Hammerstein’s best show, a number of ensemble musical performances from this production are filled with dazzling vocals, music, and often humor. Look for “Blow High, Blow Low” as one of the highlights.
Highlight of the show: There are several stunning voices, including Sara Sneed as Julie Jordan, who performs songs that include “What’s the Use of Wond’rin”; Alex Valentine as Enoch Snow in “When the Children Sleep”; and Bonnie Fairbanks as Nettie Fowler, with the captivating “June is Bustin ‘Out All Over”.
Fun facts: “Carousel” was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s favorite piece from a list that included “Oklahoma”, “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music”. Director Laura Garner has always had a special place in her heart for “Carousel” and has tried to direct it twice before in Falmouth. Once she was stopped by a question of rights; the second time around, the COVID-19 pandemic stood in the way. “Carousel” is really his passion project.
To note: Although they’ve performed in various other theaters in Cape Town or beyond, Beau Jackett, who does a great job of acting as Billy, and Lizzie Raider, who gives Carrie Pipperidge a stunning voice, make their mark. debut at the Falmouth Theater Guild.
One more thing : There is an element of domestic violence in the play, which Garner addresses in the show’s program. The violent act does not occur on stage in this production, but is discussed by Julie and echoes part of the play.
If you are going to: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sunday to November 7 at the Highfield Theater, 58 Highfield Drive, Falmouth; $ 23, $ 21 for 62 and over, $ 19 for under 18; www.falmouththeatreguild.org, 508-548-0400.
Review: “Good and kissed”
Written and performed by: Miranda Jonté, presented by the Center Cotuit des Arts
What is it about : This one-person autobiographical show, directed by Kerry Flanagan, features a woman “in her late thirties” sharing the intimacies and regrets of a lifetime – until now. They include relationships born out of habit and hopelessness that left her empty, vulnerable, and unsure of her own viability as a woman, as a human being. After a long-term relationship breaks up, she tries a bunch of others, seeking her own worth.
To see or not: This monodrama is eminently relatable (who hasn’t experienced relationship lies and heartache?), Funny, poignant and entertaining. The script tends to rely too much on foul language and clichés at times, but overall it’s about 60 minutes of engaging theater.
Highlight of the show: Miranda Jonté is a real talent, captivating audiences with a story that, frankly, is not so overwhelming. His charisma and his passion carry the evening, which sometimes leans towards the confessional.
Fun fact: This piece was originally an autobiographical Facebook post that went viral. A literary director read it and asked Miranda to develop it for the stage.
To note: Jonte starred in the centre’s “Teacher of the Year” streaming video series, and the creation of this production included others involved in this show.
One more thing : You must have proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend; masks are always recommended in the small space.
If you are going to: 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday to November 7 at the Vivian and Morton Sigel Black Box Theater, Cotuit Center for the Arts, 4404 Falmouth Road; $ 25, $ 20 for members; 508-428-0669, www.artsonthecapeorg. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for entry.