Friday, May 04, 2007

Happy End

photo: Lab Photography

With very limited resources, Theatre Ten Ten has put together an entertaining revival of this two-hour, three-act Weill-Brecht musical. To modern audiences, the story (set in motion when a Salvation Army sister becomes romantically involved with a gangster) feels something like Guys and Dolls in a Major Barbara-like moral universe. This production, using the translation by Michael Feingold, emphasizes the pointed comedy in the material and mostly hits the mark. Unfortunately the first act is acoustically problematic, but the second and third acts - which play predominantly downstage and in the audience, gamely taking advantage of the troupe's church-basement venue - sound and work much better. Lorinda Lisitza has been getting some deserved attention for her portrayal of Hallelujah Lil - her renditions of "Surabaya, Johnny" and "Sailor's Song" are powerful and dramatically intense - but I was equally impressed with Joey Piscopo, who plays Bill Cracker, the gangster she falls for whose "tough exterior conceals a heart of stone." He's got the wise guy deadpan down pat and his song and dance style here reminded me of Jerry Orbach in the original Chicago. No small praise.

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