Tulane Summer Lyric’s lively and lovely production of this old 1960s cult musical, based on the book of the same name by Patrick Dennis, was a triumph and how could it not be with genius B. Michael Howard at the helm, and Maestro C. Leonard Raybon as Musical Director.
Once again Mr. Howard’s faultless direction brought this somewhat dated work to life and even though I was never really engaged by the film-flam-flummery of the on stage fluttering and fluting story of the rise of the poor - but well endowed - Belle Schlumfert to famously notorious Belle Poitrine. I enjoyed seeing our own local star of stars, Ricky Graham, play Ricky Graham seven times in each role, as I did enjoy local second magnitude - but rising stars - Gary Rucker and Sean Patterson do the same in their second-banana varied and multiple roles much to the delight of their many fans and family - real, imaginary,
extended, scholastic, digital, or whatever.
Beautiful, and brassy when needed, Andriene Couvillion was very effective as the Young Belle, and Mildred Hong was excellent as the Older Belle. Francine Segal, as Mama Schlumfert, was a minor knockout wearing one of the most humorous and trashiest “ho”
costumes seen since I covered drag shows in the 1970s. Handsome Steven Lucas as “Lucky” Musgrove had great stage presence, and sang, danced, and semi-stripped with pizzaz.
Co-Director Edmond Kresley created some great choreography for the cast; and Michael Batt added fun and sparkle with his delightful lighting design. Charlotte Lang’s costumes were
visually beautiful and well done. But alas, the show seemed to drag and all too often a little goes a long, long way with some stars of the local stage.