C. Theater Latte Da’s newest production at the Ritz Theater sticks with you. Ever since I saw it Sunday I feel like I have been marinating in it, still trying to soak in all it had to say. It carried me through a long Monday. This is all a testament to the fact that as a production it is extremely present, and those kind of productions are hard to shake off once you leave the theater.
The play opens with a theatrical production, many of the characters you will get to love are in the “audience” not far from you, the protagonist C comes barreling through the house of the theater introducing the nature of his character in the perfect way. In this you learn what you need to know and are invited into the production. It just moves on from there. The set was wonderfully designed by Jim Smart and fits into the Ritz theater perfectly. The cast all exuded a feeling of warmth and truly felt like a company, all fitting together wonderfully.
But perhaps the most unique and wonderful part of it all as that when the characters sang, they sang in their own world, knowledgeable of the all the sounds around them and reacting to them. Unlike in most musicals there was very little breaking out into song suddenly, or an orchestra that was only supposed to be heard by the people in the audience and not the people on the stage. Indeed, the few times that this classical musical theater trope was performed by C it did feel awkward and I was suddenly less connected.
The musical took it’s story from an Cyrano De Bergerac, a story which admittedly I knew very little about other than it was French and Cyrano had a big nose. Although through consultation after seeing the C, I have come to the conclusion that Bradley Greenwald’s production held true to the story and highlighted the poetry at it’s center by cutting back in his use of it. For in C’s world in which he is ugly, the beauty that comes from mastery of language and poetry is what rises above all and is present in everything. And in this production the beauty of the story, Bradley Greenwald’s writing and Robert Elahi’s music rose above all.
But for some some final thoughts, since I can not think of a way to properly tie them all together.
-Bradley Greenwald just might be a genius. He wonderfully incapsulated C’s tragedy and beauty and the fact that he wrote the play by translating from the French himself I find quite amazing. Minnesota might just have their own Lin Manuel Miranda.
-I really liked the candles in the mason jars and cups lining the front of the stage. A beautiful way to harken to theater footlights and still fit in with the environment.
-I continue to love David Darrow in everything I see him in.
-As I said before the cast as a company, with the musicians on stage as well felt like a perfect fit, if not a bit white.
-I have been listening to a lot of Nina Simone since leaving C, and although I’m not sure why I don’t think it is a coincidence.
-I felt like the end of act one dragged on a bit.
I don’t like to end on a negative note…
It has been quite a while since I have seen a world such vividly brought to life on stage through an almost perfect mixing of the elements, music, design, and performance. And for this I applaud everything involved in the creation of C and that them for the very present performance I feel privileged to have witnessed.