by Neil Simon, Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, tells the story of Belle Poitrine, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks and her quest for wealth, culture and social position. This wildly comic musical comedy was written as a vehicle for Sid Caesar who played all seven men in Belle's life. Stephen Underwood will play the Caesar role while Lynne McGhee and Kelly Caufield are featured as older and younger Belle. This production is directed by Brian P. Allen with musical direction by Beth Barefoot-Jones. It's the biggest little show you'll ever see.
BIG LAUGHS FOR LITTLE ME – FUNTASTIC
BroadwayWorld.com by Michael J. Tobin, 3/12/2012
What do you get when you take one great comedic actor who plays seven different parts, a powerhouse leading lady and an ensemble of 11 multitalented thespians? You get one fun-tastic evening of professional theater with the musical, Little Me, presented by the Good Theater in Portland, Maine.
With a book by Neil Simon based on the novel by Patrick Dennis, Music by Cy Coleman and Lyrics by Carolyn Leight, Little Me tells the story of the rise to fame, and excessively large fortune of a little girl from the wrong side of the tracks who finds her way to the right side with the help of several willing gentlemen.
This show should only be done if you have a triple threat actor to play the male lead. Fortunately, Good Theater has Stephen Underwood who can sing, dance and act all seven parts with hilarious perfection. Underwood effortlessly brings the roles of Noble, Pinchley, Val, Fred, Otto, Prince, and Noble, Jr. to life repeatedly, giving each their own solid physicality and vocal nuance. Underwood's performance is what good comedy is all about, evident by the non-stop laughter of the audience every time he was on stage.
Kelly Caufield (Younger Belle & Baby) proves, once again, why she is the best musical actress in Maine. Caufield shines on stage, with her solid singing, dancing and infectious smile. Caufield proves her comedic strength, complimenting Underwood's many roles with equal hilarity in her acting.
Lynne McGhee (Older Belle) does a great job and is fun to watch. McGhee's costumes are fantastic and her moments in a white tutu ensemble are priceless. Andrew Sawyer (Patrick Dennis) is delightful, enhancing McGhee and each scene he's in. There is no doubt that Glenn Anderson is the ultimate supporting character actor with his solid portrayal of several roles. Anderson masterfully brings the most to every moment he's on stage. John U. Robinson is very funny in his many roles. Triple threat Tyler Sperry shines whenever he's on stage.
The entire talented ensemble works extremely hard and very fast in their many roles. Marie Dittmer, Betsy Melarkey Dunphy, Meredith Lamothe, Jen Means, Todd Daley and Eric Moody appear to have as much fun as we do with every scene they're in.
Director Brian P. Allen moves his performers around the stage with a professional eye for the perfect pictures, allowing his actors to shine in their individual moments yet not stealing focus from what's important to the scene. Allen keeps the pace moving, delivering the most out of the script, score and characters, giving each actor a solid foundation to create on. Victoria Stubbs (Musical Director) provides a solid sound, both individually and collectively. It was a joy to hear clear diction and perfectly blended harmonies with a great band (Stubbs, John Lawson and William Manning) and no body microphones. The choreography of Tyler Sperry was creative, fun and performed well.
Janet Montgomery (Set Designer) created a beautiful set that was perfect for so many transitions and such a large cast. Iain Odlin (Lighting Designer) did a nice job with color and focus, enhancing the visual concept of Allen and Montgomery. A standing ovation to Justin Cote (Costume Designer) for the hundreds of costumes pieces and many wigs.
The audience loved the show, evident by the continuous laughter and standing ovation. Having never seen or heard the show before, I was thoroughly entertained and highly recommend this show if you want a very fun evening of good theater.
A ROARING SUCCESS: GOOD THEATER’S 10TH-ANNIVERSARY REPRISE OF “LITTLE ME
The Portland Phoenix by Megan Grumbling, 3/14/2012
Of all the tenets in the American mythology, upward mobility is one of the biggies, both the most exalted and the most critiqued: We have both our Pretty Women and our Sisters Carrie. And somewhere in between, we also have Belle Poitrine, who was born on the wrong side of the tracks, but whose destiny, heart of gold, and curiously fatal effect on men have furthered her search for achievement. Good Theater, in its revival of Neil Simon's musical comedy Little Me, a fun and frothy send-up that the company first mounted 10 years ago, in its opening season. Now as then, all of Belle's most strategically important beaux are played by the lanky and hilarious Stephen Underwood, and Brian Allen directs a sumptuous production with a sharp live band, an stellar ensemble of thirteen, and the supple, ever-transporting voice of leading lady Kelly Caufield.
A martini-swilling older Belle (Lynne McGhee), finally dripping with diamonds, ostrich feathers, and accommodating beefcakes, recounts her story to a young writer Patrick Dennis (Andrew Sawyer) angling for a lucrative biography. As the older Belle tells it, despite living in poverty with her madam Momma (Jen Means, brassily) on Drifters Row, young Belle (Caufield) has a moment with the town's uppermost-class golden boy, Noble Eggleston (Underwood). But Mom Eggleston (Betsy Melarkey Dunphy) wants him married off to fellow blueblood Ramona (Meredith Lamothe), so Noble and the huge-hearted Belle pledge to wait for each other until she has managed to acquire that hallowed trinity of American success, Wealth, Culture, and Social Position.
Luckily, it's not just Belle Poitrine's heart that's big and beautiful - if your ninth-grade French has resurfaced, you'll have correctly guessed that her chest also inspires prodigious warmth. So on the strength of both heart and bosom, Belle makes her mostly ingenuous way from Drifters Row to vaudeville and to all the way to Hollywood (her "short-cut to Culture").
Older Belle tells her tale from the palatial South Hampton mansion where she holds court over a fawning entourage of butlers, nurses, and tennis coaches (including Glenn Anderson, Marie Dittmer, and John U. Robinson) and Good Theater's designers have hit this set out of the park: The two-level design is opulent in gold, black, and wine-colored marble, with ceiling-high columns and tooled white molding, furnished with lounge chairs upholstered in leopard and zebra. Likewise has nothing been spared with costumes, which are stylishly designed (Justin Cote) and very, very myriad — Older Belle herself changes her quintessentially decadent attire with every new interlude, Underwood's various guises have got to be seen to be believed, and no fewer than twenty other characters pass over the stage, from Drifters Row urchins to GIs and plaid-jacketed producers (Erik Moody and Todd Daley). Particularly fun get-ups appear for the vaudeville and nightclub dance numbers, when actors shake and slink in bobby-cop outfits and red satin.
Dancing, indeed, is a great focus in the show. Bob Fosse did the original 1962 choreography, and in this production, choreographer Tyler Sperry's sharp and funny numbers both celebrate and send up the genre — watch for the totally square "Rich Kids Rag," a deliberately over-the-top jazz-ballet seduction performed by Belle's old classmate-turned-nightclub-owner George (Sperry), and a priceless, softly-sung soft-shoe revue of whistling, women-starved GIs.
Likewise does this terrific, energetic cast smartly walk the line of lightly ironic satire that is the hallmark of the script. Lines like Noble's "That's the American way — eat till you're stuffed, then give away the rest," are played with tongues vigorously but jovially in cheeks — the substance is scathing, but the tone is merry. Underwood's antics are gleefully entertaining; Caufield's radiance and voice, as always, are alone worth the price of admission. And the greatest American myth (coming again soon to a national campaign near you) is a lot easier to appraise wrapped in the Good Theater's extravaganza of glitter and gin.
GOOD THEATER REVIVES “LITTLE ME”
Portland Press Herald by April Boyle, 3/11/2012
The 10-time-nominated, Tony Award-winning musical "Little Me" was the third production Good Theater staged in its inaugural year. The theater is now reviving the production as the last homage to its 10th year.
"Little Me" originally opened on Broadway in 1962, starring Sid Caesar as seven men in the life of one woman, Belle. Underwood, who tackled this multi-character role in the Good Theater's original production, returns to once again roll out the laughs in this zany musical.
In total, five cast members have returned to help the Good Theater stage the re-tooled rendition. Eight new actors round out the 13-member cast.
The set has also undergone a transformation since the Good Theater first staged the production. A bare-bones set has been turned into the epitome of elegance by set designer and scenic artist Janet Montgomery, thanks in large part to the props and sets amassed in Allen and Underwood's basement over the past 10 years.
Expect utter wackiness with Good Theater's latest take on "Little Me." Even when the topics are serious, the production is not.
Societal commentary is disguised by absurdity, with Underwood delivering cheeky lines such as "It's not a gift, it's charity" and "I hope to someday become a legal doctor." The musical is over-the-top silliness, designed to keep the laughs coming, in both spoken word and song.
Underwood morphed into his seven characters with gleeful abandon Saturday, as if he'd been re-drawn by a cartoonist. With each costume, accent, personality and mannerism change, a new stereotypical character appeared, at times making Underwood almost unrecognizable. He clearly reveled in the ludicrousness of the cliches.
Lynne McGhee (older Belle) and Kelly Caufield (younger Belle) share the role of Belle. Like Underwood, the two dynamic women were overtly showing off their mutually wicked sense of humor Saturday.
It was tongue-in-cheek all the way for both of them. But no matter how asinine the songs got, Caufield's powerhouse vocals still managed to make the ridiculous sound beautiful.
The production also stars Glenn Anderson, Todd Daley, Marie Dittmer, Betsy Melarkey Dunphy, Meredith Lamothe, Jen Means, Erik Moody, John U. Robinson, Andrew Sawyer and Tyler Sperry. All slip in and out of various roles as Belle's staff and friends, re-enacting her rags-to-riches story. And the madcap facial expressions on their collective faces aren't easily forgotten. The cast abounds with born comedians.
Sperry also serves as choreographer, providing lively dance numbers throughout. The audience is treated to a showcase of his dancing skills in "I've Got Your Number."
"Little Me" is 1960s camp, with an underlying message that's intentionally overshadowed by the frivolous. Viewers probably won't leave this production feeling enlightened, unless it's the heart and soul that needs lightening. In that case, "Little Me" might be just what the doctor ordered.
Stephen Underwood – Noble, Pinchley, Val, Fred, Prince, Otto, Noble Jr.
Kelly Caufield – Younger Belle, Baby
Lynne McGhee – Older Belle
Glenn Andersen – Butler, Kleeg, Judge, Preacher, General, King, Yulnick, others
Todd Daley – Lawyer, Rich Kid, Bennie, Cop, Sergeant, Sailor, Doctor, others
Marie Dittmer: Nurse, Rich Kid, Miss Keppleworth, Val’s Girl, Party Girl, Secretary, others
Betsy Dunphy – Maid, Mrs. Eggleston, Nurse, Ballet Teacher, Preacher’s Wife, others
Meredith LaMothe – Secretary, Ramona, Witness, Val’s Girl, Party Girl, A.D, others
Jen Means – Momma, Colette, Party Girl, others
Erik Moody – Rich Kid, Junior, Bernie, Cop, Soldier, German, Sailor, others
Jon Robinson – Hair Dresser, Rich Kid, Cop, Soldier, Steward, Victor, Cop, others
Andrew Sawyer – Patrick Dennis, Soldier, others
Tyler Sperry – Trainer, George Musgrove, Cop, Soldier, Sailor, Slave, others
Brian P. Allen – Director
Victoria Stubbs – Musical Director
Tyler Sperry – Choreography
Janet Montgomery & Stephen Underwood – Set Design
Justin Cote – Costume Design & Production Stage Manager
Iain Odlin – Lighting Design
Michael Lynch – Assistant Stage Manager
Craig Robinson – Assistant Technical Director & Photographer
* Member Actors' Equity Association