Monday, April 8, 2019

Wild Party

Wild Party written by Andrew Lippa is running at Theater West End (115 W 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771) through April 14, 2019. The play was based on a poem by Joseph Moncure March. The poem was widely banned when it was published back in 1928, first in Boston, because people felt the content was lewd. This musical was equally lewd and lascivious which is it's strength.

Queenie (Kristen Sheola), was a hard working burlesque dancer whose lover, Burrs (Preston Ellis), a vaudeville show clown, became abusive. At first that violent side of him excited her but  soon it scared her. After Burrs essentially rapes her, Queenie decides to throw a lavish party with the hopes of putting her lover in his place by letting him make a fool of himself.

The party flared up with an amazing cast of friends, Madelaine the lesbian (Wendy Starkland), Eddie the thug (Casey Sweeney), Mae the dimwit (Bernadette Siudock), Jackie the dancer (Cody McNeeley), Dolores the hooker (Elizabeth Christie), and Nadine the minor (Sarah Huff). Kate (Michelle Knight) arrived with a flourish and quickly devoured the attention of everyone in the party. She arrived with a friend, Mr. Black (Terrance J. Jamison).

Queenie placed her trust in Mr. Black and fell for him hard while Kate fell for the abusive Burrs although he had no interest in her. He became enraged when Queenie and Mr. Black danced. To diffuse the situation Kate pulled Queenie from Mr. Blacks arms and danced with Queenie herself. As the party raged on the drama of this love triangle grew to a boil.

Michelle Knight belted out her songs with confidence but sadly the acoustics in the theater were harsh making it impossible to hear any of the lyrics. It might have been that the band was loud and overpowered the words but I followed the show not knowing what was being sing relying on the gestures and staging to follow the show like a silent movie.

It was definitely a powerful production. If seated up front in the cabaret tables you would be right on top of the action. Pam and I were seated in the last row so that the glow of my screen would not be seen by anyone else in the audience. The walls of the theater are brick with a metal ceiling. Perhaps the sound just bounced around like in a noisy bar, which could be good if I was able to pick out lyrics. Despite this, I loved sketching the show. Colors changed constantly like in a dance hall. The creative challenges kept me engaged as the wild party turned violent.

Tickets are $22 for an individual or $50 for the dinner package.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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