Ah, media night at the theatah! Tonight’s show: Get Ready at the Penumbra. Here is Dominic Papatola of the Pioneer Press, chatting it up with Penumbra founder Lou Bellamy. There is Rohan Preston of the Star Tribune, pointing his camera at choreographer Austene Van. The rival reporters circle the lobby back-to-back as if they haven’t seen each other, like the cop and the detective in a Laurel and Hardy comedy. Rohan will have pictures tomorrow; Dominic has his team’s new podcast; it’s not apples to apples, so we’ll never know who wins.
The same might be said of the Get Ready cast and the audience as to which group had more fun. After reveling in dulcet tones, recoiling at damning recollections, and rocking to the best of ‘60s soul, we in chairs gave them on stairs a standing O. As always with Penumbra shows, I left the theater feeling that I’d seen something real.
To my relief, the stomach on T. Mychael Rambo was NOT real, but only a padded clue as to how his character came by the name Bunch. That and the fried chicken and donuts he inhaled throughout the show. (Torture, as I’d been to Brit’s Pub for a Grey Goose on the rocks beforehand after not having lunch, and the gale force winds seem to have swept all of the servers off of the rooftop. I never did get any dinner.) Knowing that T. Mychael shares my secret love of Arby’s, especially their deep fried potato cakes, I had to wonder if he’d been taking daily lunches under the pink neon cowboy hat.
Jamecia Bennett, on the other hand, gets to show off her curves as the tormented tormentress Eva in her sparkling gowns. For the washed-up has-been that her character insists that she’s become, this is one drama queen who can belt out the blues. Oh, and by the way, Jamecia is mom to American Idol contestant Paris Bennett (sometimes the acorn snuggles right up to the tree).
J. D. Steele aptly pulled off the role of the prodigal son—the former lead singer of the aging song and dance group The Doves, who tries to launch a solo career, then returns to the dovecote for one last tour. His comeuppance and contrition in Act II are not quite as convincing as his cockiness in Act I, but it’s an age-old story. We got the point, and we’re glad the man has come home.
With Sanford Moore on the keys and all-grown-up Lucas Bellamy romping through the role of nerdy nephew, Get Ready! is a satisfying earful and an entertaining evening—even if you aren’t there for the pre-show maneuverings of the press.
Get Ready runs through July 1. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.
Anne Nicolai lives, works, plays, and blogs about arts and culture in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Visit www.nadfm.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org.