The Wick Theater opened its production of Dames at Sea on May 7, 2015.
A long-running hit off-Broadway that brought stardom to Bernadette Peters, this campy song and dance show is based on the nostalgia of Hollywood musicals of the 30’s. Dames at Sea was selected as “Best Musical of the Year” by Time, Newsweek, and Outer Critics Circle.
Michael Ursua directed a cast that featured Blake Spellacy, Gabriel Zenone, Alex Jorth, Laura Hodos, Alison McCartan and Lindsay Bethea.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
…this edition of Dames at Sea is a grin-inducing hoot in which the energetic cast’s ebullience is infectious. Seeing three such shows in ten days sort of wears you out for lampooning pastiche, but these performers under Michael Ursua’s staging, Caryl Fantel’s musical direction and Angela Morando-Taylor’s choreography carried along our weary spirits.
Ursua has assembled and molded a strong cast, each with a clarion voice, a facility for machine-gun tap dancing and a clown’s temperament. Bethea gives Ruby a Georgia Engel baby doll voice and dewy eyes with ever-batting lashes. The fresh-faced Jorth …If he does not set the place on fire, his amiable persona and undeniable terpsichorean abilities make him the kind of reliable singing dancing leading man that these kind of shows desperately need.
Zenone keeps happily surprising everyone with his range….... This show doesn’t challenge him quite as much, although we didn’t know he could tap dance, but his roles of a stage director and later a ship captain are faultless creations.
The discovery is McCartan... Her bold Joan, ostensibly in the second love interest slot, commands the stage every time she opens her mouth like an Ethel Merman belter. She also show enviable tap skills in her dance off duet with the fine Spellacy.
And as always, any opportunity to watch Hodos perform is a pleasure. She fearlessly embraces Mona’s unbridled vanity and congenital need to steal the spotlight. In addition to her voice, she inhabits Mona’s pretentiousness as she employs French phrases that she consistently mispronounces.
The whole thing joyously exploits every cliché imaginable resulting in an insubstantial confection of cotton candy – tasty while you’re watching but melts away into a memory.
Rod Stafford Hagwood wrote for The Sun-Sentinel:
If Dames at Sea were a big movie musical, which the production at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton works very hard to evoke, it would have lots of extras milling about. Well, this stage musical doesn't have a chorus filling in all the open spots upstage… Under the deft helmsmanship of director Michael Ursua, Dames at Sea has everything else: snippy dialogue, sparkly costumes, snazzy songs and snappy dancing.
…the cast grips tightly, staying in the moment and keeping a straight face no matter how wack-a-doodle or slapstick-y things get over two hours, including a 15-minute intermission. That, and the scintillating tap dancing, makes Dames at Sea see-worthy.
Charlotte Libov wrote for The Examiner:
If you’re longing for an old-fashioned show with great singing and tap-dancing, as well as a heart as big as the ocean, then head for Wick Theater, where Dames at Sea is playing through Memorial Day weekend.
This hit musical is the show that made Bernadette Peters a star and Lindsay Bethea (think Ruby, as in Keeler) captures her in all of her wide-eyed innocence and baby voiced charm. Alison McCartan’s (Joan) may seem lightweight at first but she soon unveils a stellar set of pipes, and Laura Hodos (Mona Kent), who plays the scheming star bent on stealing both Ruby’s spotlight – and boyfriend – is sheer perfection.
The male members of the cast are equally winning. Alex Jorth (Dick) repeats the top-notch performance he gave in the Wick’s most recent hit Oklahoma… Blake Spellacy plays his best friend with zest. and special kudos to Gabriel Zenone, who performs in the double role as both the show’s hard boiled producer and the ship’s lovesick skipper.
The Wick Theater presents its production of Dames at Sea through May 31, 2015.