Vol. 11, No. 16 – May 9 – May 22, 2018 – A View from House Seats

The award-winning professional cast is outstanding at the Rubicon.

Rubicon Delivers in The Baby Dance: Mixed
by Shirley Lorraine

Affordable Broadway is in our own back yard. Continuing their 20th anniversary season with yet another World Premiere production, The Rubicon Theatre Company offers The Baby Dance: Mixed by acclaimed Emmy award-winning author Jane Anderson.

Anderson and frequent Rubicon director Jenny Sullivan have been collaborators since the plays’ conception and infancy. This staging is an updated version of The Baby Dance, brainstormed and brought to the Pasadena Playhouse stage in 1990 directed by Sullivan. Since then the play has been staged in several other countries and a translated version is currently running in France.

Once again, Anderson works with Sullivan who expertly directs this adaptation to include relevant current issues including a mixed-race couple of affluence seeking to adopt an African-American child. Their attorney has engineered an adoption agreement with a less well-off couple who already have four children and may be unable to care for another. The childless couple, an African-American woman and a Jewish Caucasian man, are desperate to adopt the baby when she is born.

The play simmers with highly charged emotion and conflicts from the beginning. The universal message of hope and anguish highlights sensitive situations that are humorous across ethnic and socio-economic lines. Both couples have myriad challenges to overcome and a desire for a “perfect” outcome despite their many differences. However, life has other ideas, as it often does.

The award-winning professional cast delivers warm, strong, engaging and complex characters across the board.

The mixed-race couple is played by Tracey A. Leigh as Regina, the adoptive mother. Her husband, Richard is played by Brian Robert Burns. They become acquainted with Wanda (Krystle Simmons) and Al (Gabriel Lawrence), who have decided that adoption would be the best option for their family’s current circumstances. They are joined by Carl Palmer who plays Ron, the adoption attorney who proves his ability to adapt quickly to any situation.

The across-the-board powerful performances are framed by settings designed by Rubicon technical veteran Thomas Buderwitz. Set dressing is exquisitely detailed by T. Theresa Scarano. The interior of the trailer where Wanda and Al and family live highlights their financial status and make-do creativity.

Stick around during intermission when the entire picture is transformed into a well-appointed hospital room – by itself a production worth watching. Sound is expertly filtered into scenes by Randall Robert Tico to complete the realistic and intricate settings.

The cast was invited by the author as well as the director to offer input into this new version of the play as they rehearsed and traversed the mine field that is involved in subjects of race, status and conscience. Talk-backs with the cast after the next two Wednesday evening performances will undoubtedly be extraordinarily insightful.

The Rubicon Theatre Company consistently provides high quality theatrical experiences. Their 20th anniversary season is proving to be another winner.

The Baby Dance: Mixed plays Wednesdays to Sundays through May 20 at the Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St. (corner of Main and Laurel Streets) in downtown Ventura. Matinees: 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Evening performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Wednesday May 9 and 16 performances will be followed by a talk-back session with the cast. Tickets: $30-$55. There is 24-hour ticketing and seat selection online at www.rubicontheatre.org. (805) 667-2900.

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