Kushnier isn't the only member of the show's cast to find performing on the famed Strip a new experience. "Every night's an adventure when there are cup holders in the seats," laughs Erich Bergen, who plays Four Seasons co-founder Bob Gaudio.
The biggest adventure of them all, however, was the show's official opening night last month, which included a huge party where an enormous projection surface dropped away to reveal two-dozen go-go dancers. The performance was held on the 74th birthday of the group's lead singer Frankie Valli, and it allowed the chance for the Boys cast -- including Rick Faugno, who plays Valli, and Jeff Leibow, who plays Nick Massi -- to meet some of the show's real-life counterparts. "The party was pretty impressive," says Leibow, "but bowing with those guys was really amazing."
-- Adam R. Perlman************
While the play is informed by numerous interviews that Iizuka conducted with Cambodian citizens, American NGO workers, and journalists, the particulars of the story are the playwright's own invention. "The general is a composite of figures who actually existed in the high levels of the Khmer Rouge," she says. "I went back and forth about whether or not to make him an actual historical figure, but that would make the play more of a docudrama and I think it's important that it stay in the realm of fiction."
As in her play, 36 Views, this current effort examines a multiplicity of truths. "To some degree, the journey of this play is about trying to hold in your mind contradictory and competing realities," states Iizuka. The journalist -- whose own arrogance and blind spots become apparent as the play goes on -- meets a number of characters with different perspectives on Cambodia's history, and the guilt or complicity that they may have in relation to both past and present crimes. "The play is not simply about encountering another culture," says Iizuka. "It's about how that other culture transforms you and makes you look at your own culture and your own past."
-- Dan Bacalzo************
Not surprisingly, Baxter believes the centuries-old work has a great deal of contemporary relevance. "At the time, doctors performed a tremendous amount of enemas and bleedings. Moliere was against the hypocrisy and the amount of money that doctors make and the idiocies of their treatments," he adds. "I'm amazed when I come to America and there are so many advertisements for different medicines. People make a phenomenal amount of money on them, and you never see them on English television."
An award-winning actor himself, Baxter was very particular about the show's casting, which includes Tony Award winner René Auberjonois as the hypochondriac protagonist, and Helen Hayes Award winner Nancy Robinette as the shrewd family maid. "René has a brilliant sense of satire and I think if Nancy were British, she would be a Dame," says Baxter. "American actors are absolutely wonderful, because many of them can act, sing, and dance and that variety in an actor's abilities is quite rare in England."
-- Tristan Fuge
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