Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bell, Book, and Candle atThe Cleveland Play House Now through February 3

            For a moment or two it seemed like it might have been a rarity, a clunker at the Cleveland Play House, but got its act together after intermission and turned into an enjoyable evening of theater as Bell, Book and Candle opened Wednesday night.
            The classy 1950’s play written by John Van Druten, and the model the popular television show Bewitched was based on, tells the tale of a classy, modern witch living in New York City who falls for her mortal publisher neighbor. Georgia Cohen is perfectly cast as the witch, with a nice balance of sexiness and humor. Eric Martin Brown is the neighbor, Jeremy Webb plays Cohen’s warlock brother, Marc Moritz plays a famous author writing a book about witchcraft in New York City, and Patricia Kilgarriff steals every scene she is in as the elderly witch aunt.
            The play was fun, with only several small criticisms. First, there was some dead time in the first act when we couldn’t decide if this was comedy or a romance, and second, the use of recorded music brought down the overall quality of the production. The play was filled with 50’s jazz riffs and spooky sounds, and ends with the pop classic “This Magic Moment.” All of it would have been better with live musicians. A four piece jazz combo would have been perfect for this production.
            Speaking of music, I am really excited about the next production downtown at the Play House, their annual musical biography, this year it’s The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith. Over the years they have done George Gershwin, Ginger Rogers, and Ella Fitzgerald amongst others, and to me, it has always been one of the highlights of their season. The show will run February 15-March 10. And, yes, they use real musicians for these productions.
            For more information on all the good things going on at the Cleveland Play house visit

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