Woody Allen’s classic production of “Play It Again, Sam” is playing at Santa Monica’s Morgan-Wixson Theatre through Feb. 12 with performances every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
The intimate setting and familiar themes made for a shared experience of storytelling, much like a night at home with friends.
The play opens with Allan, our main character, is watching the final scene of Casablanca, the film from which the title of this show is misquoted. The title suits the show perfectly as Allan struggles to live up to Humphrey Bogart’s larger than life persona.
In the first act, Allan regales the audience with the story of his wife Nancy leaving him behind for bigger drinks and better men when Nancy herself comes on stage to set the record straight on Allan’s failings. Bogart himself is the next figment of Allan’s imagination to grace the stage. Allan asks him how he always gets the girl. Bogart gives him his own version of sage advice saying there plenty of dames in this world just go out and get one.
Next we meet Dick, Allan’s best friend, and his wife Linda who are determined to get Allan out of his funk. They arrange a dinner date for the three of them and a friend of Nancy’s. This begins a long line of terrible dates that Allan fumbles through despite continuing advice from his idol. After weeks of spending long hours together while Dick is at work, Allan discovers that he is in love with Nancy. After several awkward advances, they spend a loving night together. In the end, Allan gets to deliver the most famous line ever uttered on a tarmac. Nancy has to fly to Cleveland to get Dick back, leaving Allan alone, but with the memories of living out his fantasy.
The sets and stage settings by Thomas A. Brown gives a beautiful backdrop to the very capable actors. This show has several standouts. David Lengel gave his best Woody Allen as the Allan with twitches and stammers complimenting his performance. Dough Oliphant as Dick kept the audience laughing with his constant updates to the office and J.C. Wendel as Nancy was a delight to watch.
Directed by Paul Guay and produced by Mary Beth Sciarabba, “Play It Again, Sam” was engaging and laughs filled the room.
The Morgan-Wixson Theatre
2627 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, 90405
Run: Friday and Saturday through Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.