The musical comedy 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' opens at the Andria Theatre in Alexandria April 21
The show was originally set to hit the stage in 2020, but COVID-19 put it on hold until now.
ALEXANDRIA – Lawrence Jameson makes his lavish living by talking rich ladies out of their money. Freddy Benson more humbly swindles women by waking their compassion with fabricated stories about his grandmother's failing health.
You can watch their stories unfold in Andria Theatre’s latest production, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which opens Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m.
Donna Magnuson, the show’s director and the theater’s box office manager, said the cast of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” had actually begun working on the production back in February 2020. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was put on hold until now.
In February of this year, the theater once again held auditions and Magnuson said, “Magic happened. Many of the cast members from the original auditions came back and we were also blessed with some new faces.”
She also added, “Every night we discover new jokes and antics on the stage.”
Magnuson said the cast of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is amazing and that some of them have been waiting two years to play a part so they are ready to showcase their talents to the audience.
Being in the role of director, Magnuson said it is like being a painter.
“I have a vision of what the final piece should look like,” she said. “The palette of colors are the actors and the crew, and the script is like brushes that tell the story. I love seeing when the painting comes to life with all the pieces and then handing it over to the audience to enjoy.”
The cast and crew of this show, said Magnuson, have become a theater family on a mission of bringing a night of warm laughter. Their goal, she added, is to transport theater patrons to the glitzy French Riviera where they will meet two very different con men – Jameson and Benson – along with a beauty queen and the upper class society of the small resort of Beaumont-sur-Mer.
“Our lovable con men have their own very unique methods of getting bored-wealthy women to part with their cash and jewels,” said Magnuson. “However, the town isn’t big enough for both of them, so between them, they decide that the first to make $50,000 will stay in Beaumont-sur-Mur and the loser must leave town. Their target? The wealthy, yet somewhat naive ‘American Soap Queen’ Christine Colgate.”
It’s a homecoming
As an opera singer and not being on stage for the last few years, Riley Ramstorf said, “It’s a homecoming,” being on stage at the Andria Theatre.
Ramstorf moved to the Alexandria area five years ago and is new to the Andria Theatre. His first performance will be playing the role of Andre Thibault, who he described as a local corrupt police chief.
A friend of Ramstorf’s told him about the production and the need for more men, which is why he decided to go ahead and try out. And he is glad he did.
“So many different characters have so many different accents, it’s incredible. The ability to do that and do it well, is why people should come and see the show,” said Ramstorf. “And because I am in it. And yes, I will be dancing.”
He also said that as the show is a musical comedy, people should really pay attention to the lyrics of the songs as he said they are “quite clever.”
Ramstorf said the cast is talented and everyone is having fun. He noted what is kind of neat about the cast is that there isn’t one person who is really good at everything. He said they are good, excellent really, at different things. He said there are some who are experienced dancers and then there are veteran actors who do a great job. Some of the singers, like Heather Hjelle, are “outstanding,” he said.
Looking for love
Ruth Blom is a veteran at the Andria Theatre – she’s spent plenty of time on stage and off stage. She will be playing the role of Muriel Eubanks, who she described as a very wealthy, divorced woman who is looking for love by traveling the world.
Blom, who lives in Alexandria, says she thoroughly enjoys the acting process and the challenges of memorizing her lines. And, she said, she loves doing musicals as they are a lot of fun for her.
Working with different people and the camaraderie of cast members is what keeps bringing her back to the Andria stage.
As for why people should come and see “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” Blom said because it is a really funny show.
“If people can keep up with the puns and one liners, they’re doing great,” she said, noting that her favorite costume in the production is her bathrobe. “If you want to know what that’s all about, I guess you’ll have to come and see the show!”
Lawrence Jameson – David Christman
Freddy Benson – Joe Korkowski
Christine Colgate – Leah Drexler
Andre Thibault – Kiley Ramstorf
Muriel Eubanks – Ruth Blom
Jolene Oakes – Heather Hjelle
Lenore/woman 1/nun – Bonnilynn Tungseth
Sophia/woman 2 – Jennifer Becker
Renee/maid/woman 4 – Brianna Varnum
Usherette – Beth Staples
Woman 3/nun – Dina Shea
Hotel manager/sailor/Nico – Joel Dahlheimer
Waiter/bellboy/conductor – Brian Fleming
Desk clerk/sailor/man croupier – Kip Sundlee
Tourist/maid – Sierra Altinger
Tourist/maid – Samantha Swensrud
Tourist/maid – Kianna Spates
CrewDirector – Donna Magnuson
Vocal director – Greg Raether
Choreographer – Christine Reilly
Set construction – Greg Bohl
Assistant director/music tracks technician – Jennifer Raether
Props mistress/set design – Hilary Ninman
Stage manager – Ailee Velazquez
Lighting design/technician – Maryn Cabinaw
Costume design – Janet Baker
Hair/makeup – Kathryn Tomoson
Video director/projectionist – Holly Wallerich
Rehearsal accompanist – Ruth Blom
If you go
WHAT: “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”
WHEN: April 21-23 and April 28-30 at 7:30 p.m. and April 24 and May 1 at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Andria Theatre, 618 Broadway St., Alexandria
TICKETS: Go to www.andriatheatre.org or call the box office at 320-762-8300.