Born Yesterday: A Must See At the Maltz

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Dominic Comperatore and Andréa Burns star in the hilarious American screwball comedy Born Yesterday, onstage through November 12 at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Alicia Donelan.

Maltz Jupiter Theatre opened its 2017/18 season on Nov 2, starring Drama Desk Award winner Andrea Burns as ex-chorine Billie Dawn. The play runs to Nov 12 on the main stage. Single tickets start at $58. For tickets and showtimes, call (561) 575-2223 or visit www.jupitertheatre.org.

In an era where the President of the United States tries to trash the rights of transgender people to serve in the Armed Forces and reputedly jokes that his second-in-command would “hang all the gays,” it’s hard to get a guffaw from a gay man who has spent years struggling against institutionalized bigotry and the buying and selling of political influence – mostly against us.

That said, there are plenty of laughs to be had bubbling across the stage of “Born Yesterday,” an American comedy by Garson Kanin” about low class loud mouth tycoon Harry Brock (Dominic Comperatore), who moves his entourage to Washington to try to influence legislation that would massively increase the value of his holdings.

Tax fraud, questionable donations to politicians, money laundering and more are pretty much the same today as they were in 1946 when the play was launched except for the volumes. Where once we amassed in millions, today we tally in trillions. The numbers are breath taking.

Introducing Billie to Washington society, Harry decides that his mistress could use a Pygmalion style makeover. He is oblivious to the fact that not only does he speak too loudly and too crudely, he has no understanding of how to navigate government influenced society.

Harry hires reporter Paul Verrall (Darian Dauchan) to teach Billie social graces, and the fun begins. Not only does Paul instill his love of country and constitution into Billie’s brain, he happily falls in love with her while she is learning to value herself.

While Harry spends most of his time trying to work the politics, Billie is getting more of an education than either of them anticipated.

Burns makes Billie’s transition from bimbo to brainiac flow smoothly not abruptly – a mesmerizing performance.

As she consumes the dictionary and learns to speak knowledgeably, she starts to wonder about the many documents she has had to sign for Harry. With her new found skills she realizes what Harry is up to and decides to block him.

As with the multiple award-winning on-stage talent, the Maltz deploys a team of behind the scene experts, many of them also award winners and nominees The “Foot Lights” for the production lists 50 individuals plus various departments to support a twelve-member cast.

Award winner Peter Flynn directed the play and award winner Anne Mundell was scenic designer and theatre goers were greeted with a spectacular, eye-popping gold and white hotel suite that practically shouted “Washington.”

It should be noted before closing that actor Matt Gregorio, with whom we chatted before the play opened performs his role as Harry’s brother Ed as an actor who happens to be gay – see SFGN.com, A&E, October 27 2017.

 


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