Noel Coward revue opens in St. Petersburg

'A Marvelous Party!' is a collection of the playwright's songs and sketches

November 21, 2013 

There are a lot of trite, sappy shows that get pulled down from the closet shelf and dusted off every Christmas season. But this year, there's also "A Marvelous Party!"

American Stage is billing "A Marvelous Party!" as a holiday show. But this collection of songs and sketches culled from the writings of Noel Coward, one of the most sophisticated wits of British theater, promises to have a decidedly acidic taste. It should serve as an antidote to the super-sweetness of so many seasonal shows.

The songs include most of Coward's best-known numbers -- "Mad About the Boy," "I'll Follow My Heart," "The Stately Homes of England," "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," "I've Been to a Marvelous Party" and "There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner," among others .

The cast is mostly American Stage newcomers with solid New York credentials. Larry Alexander, whom local audiences saw as Ernst in freeFall Theatre's acclaimed production of "Cabaret," played Marius in the Broadway company of "Les Miserables."

The one American Stage veteran in Matthew McGee, who played Dr. Frank 'N' Furter in the American Stage in the Park production of "The Rocky Horror Show."

Steven Flaa directs.

There's onstage seating for 20 people for this show, at no extra charge.

Details: Nov. 22-Dec. 22, American Stage, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg. Show times: 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $39-$59. "Pay what you can" performances Nov. 20 and 28. Information: 727-23-7529, www.americanstage.org

-- Marty Clear

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