Kristen Vogle as Marilyn Monroe
Now in its 70th year, the Coronado Playhouse takes on the musical version of a memorable Marilyn Monroe performance.
Sugar follows the screenplay of the classic 1951 film Some Like It Hot almost verbatim, but it adds several musical numbers so these familiar characters can let loose in song.
A fun fact that adds interest: Some Like It Hot was shot at the Hotel del Coronado, within sight of the playhouse.
The story centers around musicians Joe and Jerry, played in this production by David Guthrie and Colden Lamb. After witnessing a crime, the two men disguise themselves as women in order to slip out of town, and that’s when the hilarity begins.
Guthrie and Lamb carry the weight of this production on their capable shoulders, singing, moving, and changing costumes constantly. Guthrie’s characterization is somewhat flat for such a broad comedy, but in this regard he serves well as a foil to Lamb’s over-the-top emotional outbursts, particularly when parading around disguised as Daphne.
Kristen Fogle plays Sugar Kane, the role originated by Monroe. Every time she walks onstage, Fogle is decked out with a platinum-blonde wig and form-fitting outfits, reminiscent of Monroe. Her singing is on point, but it would be nice if she can find a bit more of the charisma in her movement and intensions that Monroe provided the character.
The true talent chameleon in the show is Meredith Russo. She plays several characters, including mob boss Spats Palazzo, and steals the show every time she enters. Not only is Russo very funny, her excellent tap dancing adds shining moments of polished dance to otherwise lackluster choreography.
Kimberly Miller as Sweet Sue and Steven Jensen as Sir Osgood Fielding also stand out in their roles, both singing numbers that will leave you laughing, tapping your toes, or at least nodding with approval.
Unfortunately for Coronado Playhouse, and by no fault their own, Sugar’s script is incredibly dated with sexism and a disregard for its homosexual undertones. With a little bit more work to confront these issues, director Rayme Sciaroni could have found even more humor in the script by using some lines as sarcastic and ironic as opposed to literal. Only then can Sugar really be made to work for a contemporary audience’s sensibilities.
While this production is certainly not the best you’ll ever see, the spirit and enthusiasm are alive in it. Not only that, the playhouse is donating the proceeds to a local nonprofit organization. So, grab a couple cocktails, park yourself at a tiny table, and show your support for community arts and the good they can do.
Playing through March 6