Northampton Press

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Theater review: 'Suds'-ing up the 1960's at The Pines

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by DOUGLAS GRAVES Special to The Press in Focus

There's nothing like trying to agitate yourself to death in the washing machine to bring drama to the Laundromat. 1960's-style big hair and wisecracks save the day when a mixed bag of guardian angels intervenes with a terrific evening of 60's songs and medleys.

"Suds: The Rocking 60's Musical Soap Opera," by Melinda Gibb, Steve Gunderson and Bryan Scott with music by Gunderson and directed by Oliver Blatt, continues in its Lehigh Valley debut through May 11, The Pines Dinner Theatre, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown.

When washer girl Cindy (Stacey B. Yoder) gets a bunch of bad news on her birthday she turns suicidal which prompts heavenly concern and hilarious fun. Yoder is a scene-stealer with her marvelous musical ability and inimitable expressive face.

Yoder's scene with The Postman-Johnny Angel (Alexander Huett) is wonderful as she interprets "Please Mr. Postman."

Huett demonstrates fantastic range and talent as he appears and reappears in several roles: Mrs. Halo, Maytag Repairman, suave and eligible Bachelor, oily "pull my finger" Nerd, Secret Agent Man and, finally, as Johnny Angel. Huett has the lead in "Chapel of Love."

Guardian Angel Marge (Kate Pistone), a brassy redhead, can be sweet but rough-talking as she insults ("Hey, you, bullet bra ...") her prissy guardian angel counterpart, Dee Dee (Alyssa Steiner).

Pistone has a big voice and commands attention in her songs and street-smart relationship advice to Cindy: "You gotta bump the melons." Pistone has lead vocals in several songs, including, "Where Are You Now When I Need You?" and ""Respect."

Steiner, as guardian angel Dee Dee, returns the insults ("Yah, you, Miss Clairol") but in a nice way. Steiner is terrific in her leading vocals, especially: "(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry."

The toe-tapping musical is directed by and choreographed by Blatt with music direction by Stacy Bechtel. Blatt's choreography is wonderful to watch when the players get rambunctious on the small stage.

Caroline Blatt's costuming skill is highlighted in Huett's numerous guises.