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 Sara to star in "Pool Boy" * July 13, 2010-August 8, 2010

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Number of posts : 328
Age : 32
Location : Bronx, New York
Registration date : 2007-12-22

PostSubject: Sara to star in "Pool Boy" * July 13, 2010-August 8, 2010   Fri Jul 02 2010, 10:27

Pool Boy
Music and Lyrics by Nikos Tsakalakos
Book and Lyrics by Janet Allard
Musical Direction by Matt Castle
Choreography by Shonn Wiley
Directed by Daniella Topol

July 13, 2010 - August 8, 2010

What happens when an aspiring songwriter spends his summer serving Mai Tais and Mojitos to the rich and famous? In hopes of catching a break, he hobnobs with the big shots and is seduced by L.A. glitz and glam and a sexy older woman. Love and chaos ensue in a rocking new musical set poolside at the Hotel Bel-Air.

A production of the Musical Theatre Lab.

For tickets, call the Box Office at 413-236-8888 or click "Buy Tickets" above to purchase online.

Performances: Tuesday through Friday and Sunday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 4pm and 8pm.
Tickets: $15-$45.

Contains strong language

Cliff Bemis
Sara Gettelfinger
John Hickok
Jay Armstrong Johnson
Jon Norman Schneider
Sorab Wadia
Cortney Wolfson

Creative Team:
Nikos Tsakalakos
Janet Allard
Daniella Topol
Matt Castle
Shonn Wiley
Brad Berridge
Holly Cain
Nicole Pearce
Mike Pettry
Nick Potenzieri
Brian Prather
Michael Andrew Rodgers

Mrs. Duval

Most recently played "Cruella De Vil" in the national tour of 101 Dalmatians. Broadway: Seussical the Musical, The Boys from Syracuse, NINE, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and the first national of FOSSE. Other NY credits include: "April" in Company (Helen Hayes), "Fastrada" in Pippin (Paper Mill Playhouse) and "Little Edie Beale" in Grey Gardens at Playwrights Horizons. In 2009, Sara starred as "Fastrada" in Deaf West's Pippin at L.A.'s Mark Taper Forum. Television: Guiding Light, Ed and Without a Trace. Film: Sex In the City. This fall Sara will return to Broadway in John Guare's A FREE MAN OF COLOR directed by George C. Wolfe.
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Number of posts : 328
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to star in "Pool Boy" * July 13, 2010-August 8, 2010   Thu Jul 15 2010, 11:55

Photos from

Jay Armstrong Johnson, John Hickok and Sara Gettelfinger

Sara Gettelfinger and Jay Armstrong Johnson

Jay Armstrong Johnson and Sara Gettelfinger

Cortney Wolfson and Sara Gettelfinger

Sara Gettelfinger, John Hickok and Jay Armstrong Johnson

John Hickok, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Sara Gettelfinger

Jay Armstrong Johnson and Sara Gettelfinger

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Number of posts : 328
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Location : Bronx, New York
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to star in "Pool Boy" * July 13, 2010-August 8, 2010   Fri Jul 23 2010, 09:36

Review of "Pool Boy"

‘Pool Boy’ @ Barrington Stage Company, 7/21/10July 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm by Michael Janairo, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Jay Armstrong Johnson plays Nick and Cortney Wolfson plays April in the new musical "Pool Boy." (Kevin Sprague)
Some say the jukebox musical has killed the traditional musical, but Thursday’s world premiere of Barrington Stage Company’s “Pool Boy” argues the contrary.

The story of a young musician from New Jersey who heads out to L.A. to make it big is a classic musical theater scenario. In “Pool Boy,” the young dreamer is Nick, who pays his rent as a lowly pool-side drink- and towel-fetcher at a fancy hotel. There he meets interesting characters, including the temptress wife of a famous record producer and the girl of his dreams. Will he get a record deal? Will he get the girl? And will pursuing both get him fired from a job that has given him such access?

This great set-up of tensions, however, doesn’t always deliver because Nick (played gamely by Jay Amstrong Johnson) is asked to do both too much and too little, despite songs that often hit just the right notes.

Standout numbers written by Nikos Tsakalakos (music and lyrics) and Janet Allard (lyrics and book) include the opener “Pool Boy” and the Act 2 opener “In the Muck” and “Little Piece of Sunlight,” also in Act 2. These are all big production numbers – well, as big as a cast of seven backed by a guitarist, keyboardist and percussionist can get – that allow for narrative and harmonic complexities, in which characters can reveal themselves and move the story along in a way that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.

The best song, however, is the love song between Nick and April (played by Cortney Wolfson), a girl who mistook for a movie star, while she mistook him for a rock star. The song “Background” allows both characters to be honest about their identities and to express their lowly positions. April sings, “I’m in the background … In someone else’s movie.” The magic of the song is that the humble moment lets the characters charm each other, and the actors charm the audience.

The problems arise with the arrival of The Sultan of Nubai (hammed up, as the script calls for, by Sorab Wadia). The over-the-top caricature’s name seems to come from some pre-politically correct time, even though the Sultan’s hip-hop inflected language feels contemporary (or at least late-20th century). Not only is his character too much, but what he does to the plot is too much.

Nick, already in trouble with his boss, Mr. Lopes, finds a way around possible trouble by becoming the “go-to” guy for The Sultan, who owns the resort. This layer of Nick’s story, however, detracts from the tension that already exists with Mr. Lopes, April and Ms. Duval, the record producer’s wife, played with such striking seductiveness by Sara Gettelfinger that makes this a definitely R-rated show. On a side note, Mr. Lopes is played with wonderful authority by Cliff Bemis, who gets to sing a couple of the most fun songs of the show, “Learning the Ropes” and another song that wasn’t listed in the program but had him asserting his identity.

All of this tension isn’t too much to keep straight. The deft set designed by Brian Prather, in which sliding panels allow for scenes to change quickly and smoothly, does a lot to keep things clear. But Nick’s busy story muddies his character’s motivations. That may be the point – what young man isn’t muddied from time to time? — but his lack of clarity needs to be clear; otherwise, he just seems like a guy who has too much going for him.

Worse, with all that going on, we don’t get enough of the music that will supposedly make him a star. Yes, Nick is singing throughout the show, but those songs are show tunes – songs that arise from the story. We only get two of his songs, both in Act 2, which is too late to let the audience see what talent the character may have.

This dearth of music from Nick the musician raises another big question: Just how realistic is Nick’s story? With today’s technology allowing anyone with a laptop to make music and all the problems major record labels have, do serious musicians still, in 2010, head out to Los Angeles for fame and fortune?

Perhaps if “Pool Boy” tackled those real issues head on, then its argument for the American musical would be more than just good, but completely convincing.

Theater review
“Pool Boy”
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Barrington Stage Company, Stage 2, 36 Linden St., Pittsfield, Mass.
Length: 2 hours 15 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission
Note: The performance contains nudity, adult language and situations
Continues: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Sunday; 4, 8 p.m. p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. July 29, Aug. 5
Tickets: $15-$45
Info: 413-236-8888;
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to star in "Pool Boy" * July 13, 2010-August 8, 2010   Sat Jul 24 2010, 10:12

Pool Boy
(VFW Hall/Stage 2, Pittsfield, Mass.; 110 seats; $45 top)

Jay Armstrong Johnson, standing, stars as the “Pool Boy” with John Hickok and Sara Gettelfinger.

A Barrington Stage presentation of a musical in two acts. Book and lyrics by Janet Allard. Music and lyrics by Nikos Tsakalakos. Directed by Daniella Topol.

Nick - Jay Armstrong Johnson
Mrs. Duval - Sara Gettelfinger
The Sultan - Sorab Wadia
April - Cortney Wolfson
Mr. Lopes - Cliff Bemis
Mr. Duval - John Hickok
Jack - Jon Norman Schneider
A young artist in search of his voice, his muse and his purpose is an all-too familiar refrain. Preeming at Barrington Stage in the Massachusetts Berkshires, Nikos Tsakalakos and Janet Allard's tuner "Pool Boy" takes the template and places its struggling singer-songwriter hero as a server at a swank L.A. hotel, as he hustles mojitos and towels -- as well as fame and fortune -- with mixed results.
Under composer-artistic adviser William Finn, the summer musical lab has nurtured some real talent and promising shows ("Calvin Berger," "The Burnt Part Boys"), but with "Pool Boy," it's hard to care about this central character and his maneuverings among the posh and privileged.

Yes, his blank slate of a life is part of his artistic problem ("I'm not sure you've got anything to say," says a big-shot record producer). But it's also a problem for the show, which needs much more work to get out of the shallow end of the pool.

Nick (Jay Armstrong Johnson) is Abercrombie & Fitch-cute and sings well, but this protagonist is not only uninteresting, he's as unsympathetic as the self-involved people around him: an insecure record-producer and his sex-hungry wife (John Hickok and Sara Gettelfinger, both mining what little fun there is); a sultan's son (Sorab Wadia) who treats everyone as his serf; and a hotel manager with ethnicity issues (Cliff Bemis).

The underclass is not much better represented by Nick's pal Jack (Jon Norman Schneider), a sushi chef and aspiring actor; and romantic interest April (Cortney Wolfson), a personal assistant from Idaho. (Statehood is a principal form of character detail in the show. Being from New Jersey is Nick's big signifier.) All the characters are struggling in some way with identity issues, an undeveloped notion lost amid Nick's questionable pursuits.

From the show's opening moments, Nick embraces the swank surroundings (nicely rendered by set designer Brian Prather) and covets the world of the rich and the celebrated, with little to show except his own alleged talent.

Tsakalakos' tunes are serviceable-to-appealing, though his and Allard's lyrics are less than deft and tend toward the crude. The exception is the show's final song, the engaging "Poolside at the Hotel Bel-Air," in which Nick recounts his time as a pool boy -- something Tsakalakos was years ago and is clearly inspired by. It may be enough to fill a song, but still it's not enough to fill a musical.

Sets, Brian Prather; costumes, Holly Cain; lighting, Nicole Pearce; choreography, Shonn Wiley; musical direction, Matt Castle; sound, Brad Berridge; production stage manager, Michael Andrew Rodgers. Opened, reviewed July 21, 2010. Runs through Aug. 8. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Songs: "Pool Boy," "Platinum," "When a Melody Comes," "Pimp Ass Party," "She Swims," "Potential," "Learning the Ropes," "Mortal Kombat," "Background," "I've Never Felt Like This Before," "Watching Other People," "In the Muck," "Playing Tennis," "Can't Go Back Now," "Stupid Marimba," "Daddy," "Little Piece of Sunlight," "Swimming to China," "Poolside at the Hotel Bel-Air."

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PostSubject: Re: Sara to star in "Pool Boy" * July 13, 2010-August 8, 2010   Sat Aug 07 2010, 18:43

Submitted by Lesley Ann Beck on August 2, 2010 - 10:38pm

Pool Boy
Music and lyrics by Nikos Tsakalakos
Book and lyrics by Janet Allard
Directed by Daniella Topol
(Stage 2, Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield, Mass., $15-$45)
A Barrington Stage Company production of a musical in two acts

Jay Armstrong Johnson as Nick
Sara Gettelfinger as Mrs. Duval
Sorab Wadia as the Sultan
Cortney Wolfson as April
Cliff Bemis as Mr. Lopes
John Hickok as Mr. Duval
Jon Norman Schneider as Jack

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck

California has come to Pittsfield, Mass., in the guise of the Hotel Bel-Air, a fantasy world of poolside cocktails, seductive women, and promises of fame, all set to a tuneful, catchy pop-rock score. When the lights come up on Pool Boy, the brand-new musical by Nikos Tsakalakos and Janet Allard, we see a turquoise oasis, the Spanish-inflected architecture shaded by palm trees, and the three-man band—keyboards, guitars, and percussion—framed by a central arch. The score dominates the show, with the songs coming rapid-fire.

Nick, the pool boy, works at a Los Angeles hotel, in a surreal environment of wealth and privilege, where the ridiculously entitled few are served by the obsequious workers who dream of joining the ranks of the rich and famous one day. Nick, played by Jay Armstrong Johnson, is trying to keep his job by following the instructions issued by Mr. Lopes, the tough boss who runs the hotel.

The talented cast is strong, from Jon Norman Schneider as Jack, who skewers the stereotype of a Japanese chef, to Cliff Bemis as Lopes, particularly in the gruff rendition of his song, ‘Learning the Ropes.”

One of Nick’s first tasks is to persuade Donna Duval, the wife of a famous record producer, to put her bikini top back on, which he tries to do under the scrutiny of Mr. Lopes. Nick finds a way to tell Donna that he is an aspiring musician, catching her interest. Sara Gettelfinger is terrific as Donna, and her marvelous singing voice makes the song “Potential” a high point in the show. John Hickok is effective as the hard-edged record producer who can advance Nick’s career, and Sorab Wadia delivers the over-the-top sultan who recruits Nick as his assistant.

The characters of the record producer, his seductive wife, and the spoiled and over-indulged sultan are certainly broad stereotypes, but the skilled cast, under the deft direction of Daniella Topol, makes the most of the roles. But because the story unfolds in a world where self-serving, manipulative behavior is acceptable, the characters, even Nick, are hard to like.

Nick’s love interest is April, a personal assistant and aspiring actress. We first see, and hear, Cortney Wolfson as April in the compelling number “She Swims.” Johnson, as Nick, sings well throughout, but really shines in this duet. At this point in the show, the combination of sliding shoji-style screens and soft turquoise lighting effects create a very effective night-time poolside atmosphere and the attraction Nick and April feel is expressed through the song, one of the best in the show. Wolfson is appealing as April and her singing is excellent; her second act number, "Swimming to China," is also a show highlight.

Brian Prather's set looks great, as do the costumes by Holly Cain, complemented by Nicole Pearce's effective lighting design.

The world premiere of Pool Boy is a production of the Musical Theatre Lab under the mentorship of Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist William Finn. Pool Boy was given a staged reading here last summer, and it is still seems to be a work-in-progress. The tacked-on ending doesn’t really work, and the show feels too long. In the version I saw last year at the reading, the character of Nick was written as sweeter, more appealing, as I recall, and I missed that; we need one character in the show to root for.

It’s an entertaining evening with strong performances and several go-away-humming-the-tune songs in the score. But ultimately, the show suffers from the lack of a sympathetic protagonist.

Music direction by Matt Castle; Choreography by Shonn Wiley; Scenic design by Brian Prather; Costume design by Holly Cain; Lighting design by Nicole Pearce; Sound design by Brad Berridge; Production stage manager is Michael Andrew Rodgers; Assistant director/dance captain is Nick Potenzieri
(Through August 8; running time is about two hours with one intermission; includes adult situations and strong language)

Berkshire Living managing editor Lesley Ann Beck reviews theater and the arts for
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