I have been waiting with intense anticipation for Dames At Sea ever since Temple Theatre announced their 2008-09 season! I was sure it was going to be the icing on this season’s cake! And you know what? IT WAS!!! When the show dates finally got here and I went Friday night, I was in awe!! Absolutely the best show of the season — in fact, in my mind, half way through (maybe not even quite half way through) the very first opening scene, Dames At Sea went straight from “promises to be in the ‘saving the best for last’ category” to “one of three all time best Temple shows EVER”!!!
If you know me or read this blog, you know I LOVE Temple Theatre productions — I don’t think I’ve missed more than one or two total in the past several years and they were missed only because I couldn’t attend for various reasons – not because I chose not to!!! So, I have a solid reference to compare this show against…….believe me, they have a lot to live up to from now on! It joins my two previous top favorites – Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes and A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline – all three are now tied and top favorites for very different reasons!!!
So, what did this show have that shoots it to the top? It was funny – a true 1930s style musical comedy – slap stick and all……it was beautifully choreographed – the perfectly unison tap dancing lines were amazing……it had talent – polished, professional, and a joy to watch – the singing and dancing talents of each one of the cast were second to none (not to say that other Temple shows weren’t packed full of talent – this was just different)……………………AND – it had our own Miss Peggy Taphorn in a major role and she was FABULOUS!!!!
It is not all that surprising that Peggy Taphorn would be great — after all, she is an award winning Broadway veteran and her personality, energy, and presence has taken Sanford by storm ever since she arrived to assume the position of Producing Artistic Director of the Temple Theatre! But, I was still in total awe as I watched her sing, dance, and make the character of Mona reach right out and grab you in the gut – she lit up the stage and stole the show!!! It left me wanting more…… Peggy not only starred in the show, she also directed and choreographed it – what a gem Sanford has in her! She has taken Temple Theatre to a new level in the time she has been here and now……well, let’s just say, we definitely want to see more of her on stage!
I can’t close without mentioning the rest of the cast — all absolutely amazing!!! If they weren’t all equally talented, it would have fell on it’s face and turned into the “Peggy Taphorn Show” – but it didn’t! Margaret-Ellen Jeffreys was adorable and a real delight in the role of Ruby – the aspiring starlet hitting Broadway fresh from Utah! Katie Deal was perfect as Joan – the Broadway actress with street smarts who takes Ruby under her wing. Drew Stark played the love struck Dick – a sailor/song writer who falls for Ruby, but can’t help but be swept off his feet by Mona! Chris Wright was such a cutie in the role of Lucky – Joan’s boyfriend and Dick’s Navy buddy! Then there was Ken Griggs in a dual role – the stage manager and the Navy captain — he impressed me a lot as the Professor in Little Women The Musical, but really shined in this show!!! All were great!!!
I have been to shows on Broadway many times and saw Broadway tour groups perform in Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto, and Raleigh and I can say that I felt like I was sitting in a theater right on Broadway!!! It was such a joy to watch an ensemble cast that worked so perfectly with each other, had impeccable timing, and talent that made each and every one THE star of the show!!!
BRAVO to the cast, Temple Theatre, and in particular – Peggy Taphorn!!!!
Sanford — get out and see this one — if this doesn’t get you hooked on Temple Theatre, nothing will…….