A Great Belated Review of PILLOW TALK – (Sorry though, it’s Sold Out)

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Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers has written a lovely review of PILLOW TALK. Congratulations to the cast and crew for their fantastic work. Unfortunately, (or fortunately I suppose), the show is Sold Out through it’s closing tomorrow night. So if you’ve seen it – you know what Paul means. If you’ve got reservations – way to go. If you missed it – well you missed out on a fun and funny comedy. (Be sure to get your reservations early for DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS). Now on the the review.

PILLOW TALK Will Keep You Wide Awake Laughing
by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers

Growing up in St. Louis, a long, long time ago, our telephone was on a party line. I remember when my mother wanted to make a phone call, she would delicately lift the receiver and place it to her ear to listen for a conversation by the strangers with whom we shared the same circuit.

Many times she would return the receiver to its cradle, frown, and try again in a few minutes. It was considered a violation of social etiquette to listen to the other conversation.

One day, as one would expect in a major Midwest metropolis, we got a private line, apparently a lot sooner than high-rise apartment dwellers in New York City in 1960, the setting for the very funny and cleverly-staged “Pillow Talk,” the current production by the Plaza Theatre Company in Cleburne.

The comedy’s premise wouldn’t work in today’s taken-for-granted communication world of Caller ID, cell phones, emails and social media, but telephone trauma is what happens to successful Manhattan interior designer Jan Morrow (double-cast with Kristi Mills and, on the night I attended, Joy White) who shares a party line with music composer Brad Allen, played by the versatile David Goza, most recently seen in Plaza’s “See How They Run.”

It’s hard not to compare the Plaza people with the stars of the Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Thelma Ritter and Tony Randall 1959 movie, and there’s a certain comfort when our expectations are met. It’s even harder when Day’s songs play before the show and during intermission.

Mills and White are both blonde, slim and attractive; Goza is hunkish; Michael Hatch is fast and flippant as Jonathan Forbes, Morrow’s wealthy wooer (double-cast with JaceSon Barrus), who manages to find time to direct this production); and Amy Sorter is perfect as Morrow’s dry-witted, wisecracking and wise maid.

Basically, Morrow can’t place a phone call from her apartment because neighbor Brad has the line tied up talking to his many girlfriends. When they meet at a party, he decides to add her to his little black book but wants to keep his identity hidden. To do so, he poses as Rex Stetson, a wealthy Texan with a drawl is so bad it draws laughs from the audience of real Texans.
Unknown to Jan, Jonathan is Brad’s old college buddy and current Broadway benefactor, which results in some funny situations.

As PTC fans have come to expect, director and Plaza co-founder Barrus makes clever use of the theater-in-the-round setting by having numerous phone calls made from the steps leading to theater seats, thus freeing the stage for set changes while audience attention is focused on the dialogue.

Also in the cast are Steven Lindsay, quickly becoming a fan favorite, as Pierot, and the reliable Jay Cornils in two roles.

This is a good one, but you have only this weekend to see it.

Adapted from a screenplay by Stanley Shapiro and Maurice Richlin, which was based on a story by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene, adapted to the stage by Christopher Sergel, “Pillow Talk,” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Plaza Theatre, 111 N. Main St. in Cleburne.

Tickets — $15 for adults, $14 for age 15-plus and students age 13-college, and $13 for age 12 and under — are on sale 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the box office or online at http://www.plaza-theatre.com.

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