Noir-ish spoof next for Invisible Theatre www.azstarnet.com ®
By Kathleen Allen
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 11.28.2008
A boozy blonde, a lounge lizard named Buddy Toupee, and a private detective who drops lines like "And then she was gone. Trailing perfume like a whispered prayer."
Now that would be enough to sign us up for a look-see.
Add music and we're there.
That's what you'll get with Invisible Theatre's "Gunmetal Blues," a musical detective spoof with Sam Spade-ish lines, a Lauren Bacall-esque seductress, and a host of minor characters familiar and funny. The show, directed by Gail Fitzhugh, opens in previews on Wednesday.
"Gunmetal" is the brainchild of Scott Wentworth, with music by Craig Bohmler and Wentworth's wife, Marion Adler.
Wentworth's first career is as an actor (he was nominated for a Tony in 1989), his wife's as a singer/actress.
At first Wentworth, who penned the book for the musical in the late 1980s, was resistant to the idea of a noir-ish spoof.
"I thought parodies of detective stories were so easy and done to death," he said, speaking from Canada, where he was performing in a production of "Medea."
"But Marion hooked up with Craig and they started kicking ideas around for songs. I would periodically get a tape of music, and I thought there was a reason to write this.
"We literally thought we were creating it for us; we never thought it would have a life," said Wentworth.
"There have been over 100 performances in Canada and the States. Sometimes we feel we've written this underground hit."
The play's success has been attributed to Wentworth's "witty book" (The New York Times), and indeed the sendup is full of delicious lines such as "It was dawn when I left the Red Eye. And the rain on my face was a washrag full of straight pins," and "Forget about ships, this face could launch a thousand rockets. She had hair the color of moonlight on topaz and a mouth that could send Shakespeare thumbing through a thesaurus."
In "Gunmetal Blues," Sam Galahad, a struggling private detective (Armen Dirtadian), is hired to find the daughter of a recently dead millionaire. Love and other complications ensue.
While it comes across as a parody, it's more than that, Wentworth insisted.
"It's really a parable about a generation of people who grew up expecting life to be one way, and it turned out another way.
"'Gunmetal' is kind of fabulous for these times. It's funny. It's about greed. It's about people who have let down their fellows, people who are lost and trying to come back to some kind of connection. Hopefully this play can entertain, and make people think."
• Presented by: Invisible Theatre.
• By: Scott Wentworth with music and lyrics by Craig Bohmler and Marion Adler.
•Director: Gail Fitzhugh.
• When: Previews 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; opens 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 21.
• Where: Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave.
• Tickets: $18-$27. Half-price rush tickets available 30 minutes before curtain, subject to availability.
• Reservations/information: 882-9721.
• Cast: Armen Dirtadian, Betsy Kruse-Craig and Mike Padilla
• Running time: 90 minutes, plus an intermission.
● Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4128.