Just came from seeing Two By Two at The Players Guild of Dearborn. This season opener is a charmer in the truest sense of the word. Featuring a uniformly talented ensemble cast of eight, the show is a music lover’s dream. Boasting a score by the legendary Richard Rodgers, the talented troop unveil their lavish voices in number after number moving from the whimsical to the sublime effortlessly. Each and every player takes the stage and makes it his/her own at various intervals. The group then meshes into a harmonious unit to delight the audience again and again.
Mike Moseley, taking on the demanding role of Noah, holds the audience in an embrace that begins with the most light-hearted of moments, in the musical number, “Why Me?” and builds to a crescendo of heartache in the 11th hour number “Hey, Girlie.” (Try getting through it with a dry eye. Just try.)
Brian Townsend and Julie Ballantyne Brown as the eldest son and wife, Shem and Leah, are beautifully paired. They are hilarious in their lust for money and power and shine in their duet, “As Far As I’m Concerned.” It is impossible to resist Mr. Townsend’s comic timing and Ms. Brown stops the show in a passenger itemization that takes place in Act II.
The roles of Ham and Rachel, played by Tom Varitek and Kathleen Duffy are also delightful. The mismatched pair, pining for love that does not come from each other, hit the nail on the head with their portrayals. Tom is especially good with the indifference he must convey while Kathleen does equally well in the role of love unfulfilled. Her number, “Something Doesn’t Happen” shows off her lovely voice beautifully.
Japheth and Goldie, played by Mark Wagner and Leah Cooley, are two of the show’s most interesting characters. Mark does a wonderful job in the role of the defiant son, seeking real answers that never come, while Leah is both a comic and vocal delight. Look for Mark’s number, “I Do Not Know A Day I Did Not Love You” and Leah’s, “The Golden Ram” as they are both beautifully executed.
Finally, Sue Delosier, in the challenging role of Esther, Noah’s wife, is simply marvelous. She is strong, delicate, soothing, patient, inspiring and just plain funny. Her last moments on stage will break your heart, so bring plenty of tissues to the performance.
Work behind the scenes by director Mary Jane Town, assistant director Richard Town, music director Rich Alder and choreographer Emma Garber must have been a labor of love from all parties. The show could simply not be this seamless without real talent in these areas.
The show is produced by Jeff Bartos and Diane Kaplan and stage managed by Timothy Carney. The deceptively simple set design by Mary Jane Town and Gordon Mosley is most attractive. Made to look earthy and crude, it fares nicely in both acts as the show moves from Noah’s home to the days on the ark.
Of special note are the lighting and sound designs for this production. The thunder, lightning, rain and all other manner of minutia are executed brilliantly. Kudos to David R Reynolds II, Stan Guarnelo, David Kanclerz and John Sczomak for designing the show’s marvelous special effects. (Effects that must be experienced first hand.)
The show’s costumes by Inez Hernandez and and Emma Scott, along with props by Diane Cliff complete the ultra-professional look for this production.
Because this show is in the first show slot for the season, it will only play 8 more times. (Normally musicals have a 12 show run.) This means that you will need to act fast to catch one of the remaining shows. Put this musical in the, “not to be missed” category and try to order your tickets as fast as possible. You can do this by calling (313) 561-TKTS or by going to our online ticket booth.