January 26, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Dolls: Looking Beneath The Cuteness At Santa Monica Playhouse:

Santa Monica Playhouse continues its 50th anniversary festival with a world premiere production of a new musical, “Dolls.” Like many of the Playhouse’s Actors Repertory Theatre shows, this one was written by Playhouse co-directors Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie, with music and lyrics by Rudie and Matthew Wrather, and directed by DeCarlo.

Subtitled “Not Your Usual Love Story,” “Dolls” is a look at the experiences and thoughts of a group of dolls of varying ages and types, the former cherished toys of a girl now grown, stored in an attic. Audiences might immediately associate this premise with the film “Toy Story III”. But there’s a different resolution in the works.

In the opening number, “The Legend,” we meet the dolls — dainty Victorian doll Marguerite; Trixter, a self-described “medicine doll” who speaks in rhymes; Valentina Ballerina, who used to be part of a music-box pair (her partner broke); Lieutenant Larry, a toy soldier; Fussy Fanny, a Barbie-type fashion doll; Papusza, a gypsy fortune teller doll; Just Plain Katy, a rag doll; Babette, an antique baby doll; and Gigoletto, a marionette.

Marguerite believes in “the legend” which says that a doll that demonstrates traits of sacrifice and unconditional love will be transformed into a “real child.” She hopes this will happen to her. The others are not as concerned about becoming human; they are more upset to realize that they will not be needed by a child any more and that they will probably be carted off to the Salvation Army store. In the attic, with their ultimate fate unknown, the nine dolls act out their dreams and frustrations.

This may sound very, very cute and indeed, early on in the play, “Dolls” seems to be heading in the direction of a pseudo-Disney tale, with the cast singing and dancing to the cheerful “I Want to Laugh.” But underneath the cuteness are stories of self-realization, ambition, envy, and disappointment.

Valentina, we are told, has a broken heart, for as a music-box doll, she needs to have a partner and without one she may be wasting away. Katy, the sweet and emotionally generous rag doll, is interested in Lieutenant Larry and wants to find a way to make him loosen up. Babette encourages her while she herself tries to fend off the amorous attentions of Gigoletto.

“I’m too old for love,” she explains. “It’s too much work.”

“Then I will do the work for both of us,” replies the optimistic Gigoletto. Fussy Fanny goes through numerous costume changes, reflecting her status as a fashion doll, but admits that she doesn’t know who she really is.

Amidst the operetta-style songs and acrobatic dances, “Dolls” subtly delivers comments on social roles that humans are all too familiar with. Although the play is family-friendly, its insights into character will prove enticing to adult audiences.

The cast contains many Actors Repertory Theatre regulars such as Serena Dolinsky, wistfully sad as the obsessed Marguerite, Melissa Gentry doing a delightful turn as Fussy Fanny, and Rudie and DeCarlo as the mature lovers Babette and Gigoletto, proving that indeed no one is too old for love. Nancy Dobbs Owen, as Valentina, not only dances but possesses an excellent singing voice that received sustained applause at the opening performance.

Kudos of course to Ashley Hayes, costume designer, for helping these very human actors to look like real vintage dolls.

“Dolls” plays at The Other Stage at the Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth Street, 310.394.9779, until Sept. 15.

in News
Related Posts

Edify TV: Residents Frustrated With Local Country Club

January 25, 2021

January 25, 2021

Westside residents living near one of the most exclusive LA county clubs have a bone to pick in this video...

SMMUSD Study Session Outlines Potential Campus Upgrades: Santa Monica Beat – January, 25, 2021

January 25, 2021

January 25, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * SMMUSD Study Session Outlines Potential Campus Upgrades * First Baptist Church...

Body Found in Santa Monica Beachside Gazebo

January 25, 2021

January 25, 2021

Man found in Ocean Avenue gazebo Saturday By Sam Catanzaro A body was found in a gazebo near the beach...

Edify TV: Affordable Senior Housing Rises in Westside Neighborhood

January 24, 2021

January 24, 2021

A four-story senior affordable housing project is rising in a Westside neighborhood. Learn more in this video made possible by...

SMa.r.t. Column: Saving a Failed Marriage – Part 2

January 22, 2021

January 22, 2021

Every 8 years, the state requires cities to update their planning code’s “housing element” to reflect the number of dwelling...

Rise of The Digital Nomads Changing The Way We Rent?

January 22, 2021

January 22, 2021

Today on Westside Real Estate Show* Matt Damon Lists Palisades home for $21 Million.* Rise of The Digital Nomads Changing...

Edify TV: COVID-19 Outbreak at Santa Monica Government Office

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Over a dozen employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at a Santa Monica government building since January 1. Learn more...

Santa Monica Students Receive 2021 Education Awards from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Seven area students were presented Education Awards by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition at the first-ever...

Santa Monica New Roads Graduate Amanda Gorman Shines At Inauguration: Santa Monica Beat – January, 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica New Roads Graduate Amanda Gorman Shines At Inauguration *...

Edify TV: Promenade Property Owner Frustrated With Homelessness

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

A Third Street Promenade property owner is calling Santa Monica officials to deal with the issue of homeless individuals sleeping...

65-Year-Old Santa Monica Pastry Shop Closes

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 21, 2021 By Kerry Slater Santa Monica Pastry Shop Closes  A beloved Santa Monica pastry shop...

Brian Dennehy Stars In The Tender DRIVEWAYS – His Final Film

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

What makes DRIVEWAYS particularly poignant is that it was Brian Dennehy’s last film before he died and his cinematic presence...

Free COVID-19 Antibody Testing in Santa Monica

January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021

Calvary Baptist Church on 20th Street, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A Santa Monica church is doing free COVID-19 antibody...

FDA-Authorized Coronavirus Testing at Santa Monica’s Shore Hotel

January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021

Drive-thru and walk-up testing seven-days a week   The award-winning Shore Hotel, located steps away from the world-famous Santa Monica Pier,...