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A GLIMPSE OF THE PERFORMERS 

 

picture - Glimpses of the MoonTheater Review

by Cindy Pierre

published November 14, 2008

 

Glimpses of the Moon

now playing Off Broadway in the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel

open run

 

Few people wouldn't want to be given the world. Few people would reject diamonds and pearls. And in Glimpses of the Moon, the illusion of wealth looms and unites a sweet boy and a fanciful girl. That's almost the whole story.  But not quite.

 

Adapted from Edith Wharton's novel of the same title, Glimpses of the Moon is a delightful 1920s musical about two rags seeking riches in the arms of wealthy, ill-gotten spouses. The two gold diggers in question, charming and bubbly Susy Branch (Autumn Hurlbert) and passionate Nick Lansing (Chris Peluso) devise a scheme to tie the knot in order to live well off of pawning the wedding gifts and to attract new, wealthy spouses of high society.

 

But like many opportunistic plans, this one has an unexpected snag: love and affection develops between Susy and Nick (gasp!) despite being broke and unable to offer each other the moon. What they do offer each other is support: Nick's a wannabe writer hoping to live off of his creativity one day, and Susy provides him with editorial assistance and encouraging words. To further complicate matters, a wealthy couple (the funny and vivacious Jane Blass and the appropriately pompous Daren Kelly) are around as models of what Nick and Susy can have … just not with each other. Waiting to provide them this life of leisure is Coral Hicks (Laura Jordan), a homely daddy's girl with deep pockets, and the entertaining “Streffie” (Glenn Peters), who puts on airs much sooner than his recently acquired inheritance affords him.

 

Glimpses of the Moon gives the audience a taste of the happiness that can be experienced if one's perception and pursuits are altered, but the show does have its drawbacks. Although the Oak Room in the Algonquin is a nostalgic setting for the musical, the lack of a stage and the confined surroundings make it an uncomfortable venue. Dinner theater is one thing, but when the waitstaff obstruct the action in the already cramped space, it definitely becomes a problem.  Because of the close proximity to the performers, the lighting design by James Milkey unavoidably casts a spotlight on audience members and temporarily blinds them. (They came to gaze at the moon, not stare at the sun, didn’t they?)

 

Challenging venue notwithstanding, at an hour and forty minutes, the lighthearted Glimpses of the Moon may not be dazzling and grand, but the performers are sure to make you smile. The music by John Mercurio and lyrics by Tajlei Levis are inspired (“Dinner Party with Friends” and “Terrible News” stood out most memorably), with well-executed period costumes by Lisa Zinni and wigs by Kurt Alger, and smooth scene changes that the cast and director Marc Bruni collaborate on for an effortless effect.  If they aren’t present before you enter the Oak Room, don’t be surprised to leave with dreams in your heart and celestial stars in your eyes.

 

cindypierre @ stageandcinema.com

 

 
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