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And at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre, “110 in the Shade” is a charming production, directed by former Morrisson artistic director Nancy Engle, who was coaxed back because the show was one she’d always wanted to direct. And she was an excellent choice. She directs the show with a considerable depth of understanding and has assembled a talented, multiethnic cast, which not only gives the piece an interesting look, but quietly demonstrates what a magical thing a typical small town can be.
The story of “Shade” seems to focus on Lizzie Curry (Melissa Reinertson), the only female member of the aggressively male Curry family, The family members are confounded by this woman, who can’t find a husband because she is considered plain, They make a concerted but clumsy effort to match Lizzie up with the previously married but now single Sheriff File (David Bauer), who looks like a prairie rancher, with his thousand-mile stare and quiet desire to ballet shoes book live the rest of his life alone..
And then, Bill Starbuck (Reg Clay), who changed his name from Smith because he’s always been a Starbuck in his dreams, shows up. Lizzie is captivated by the traveling man, who has rolled into town offering to end the devastating drought and bring rain to the farmland town, for a mere $100. Lizzie considers him a fraud, as does the rest of the town, except for Lizzie’s father, H.C. (Avi Jacobson), who hires Starbuck, and her brother, Jimmy (James Koponen). Jimmy is a dreamer, too, who’s madly in love with the town floozy, Snookie Updegraff (Emma Mercier), an apparently wealthy girl who wears a red hat and has an eye for the boys and tortures them by teasing without mercy.
Lizzie tries a bit of that on Starbuck, who turns from a hustler to a lifestyle consultant and urges the young woman to be herself, telling her she is beautiful, as every woman is, And suddenly, while Lizzie imagines a place for herself ballet shoes book in Starbuck’s world of dreams and fantasy, Starbuck finds himself falling for the girl and her innocence, And on the play dances with an ending that’s surprising and sweet, The cast is terrific, with a realistic mix of ages and types, The characters embody a small town, celebrating in the town pavilion, inventing happiness and being charming and entertaining..
Reinertson is simply incredible in the role of Lizzie — she has a beautiful voice and she creates a characterization of a woman who grows to be much more than what she is perceived to be. Both Bauer and Clay deliver remarkable performances as their appeal to Lizzie grows and they realize they are in love, despite their very different protestations. Jacobson, the father (and a relative of the playwright Nash), expertly turns himself into a world-weary and surprisingly wise man, who considers 100 bucks to pay for his daughter’s happiness a bargain. And he’s got a look that says he just stepped through the stage door, straight from his drought-stricken farm.
The brothers are fascinating and create captivating characters, Noah (Danny Martin), is the stern pragmatist whose ideas of what’s good for his sister have no use for a traveling con man, Koponen’s Jimmy is entirely different; he’s a silly dreamer who gets to do most of the clowning in the piece and does it expertly, He also proves himself a fine dancer in many of the production numbers, And this excellent cast gets to play on a fanciful and practical set by Liliana Duque Pineiro, who has given the players a sketch of a small dry town from which the dreams are able to ballet shoes book grow, This is augmented by the lighting by Heather Basarab and sound from Donald Tieck, Musical director Marianna Wolff and her musicians fill the Morrisson Theatre with the beautiful sound that Schmidt and Jones created..
Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. “Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video,” through Jan. 5, 2014. “Flesh and Metal: Body and Machine in Early 20th-Century Art,” more than 70 artworks that explore a central dynamic of art making in Europe and the Americas between the 1910s and the early 1950s, through March 16, 2014. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays; Thursdays till 8 p.m. Stanford campus, off Palm Drive at Museum Way. 650-723-4177 or museum.stanford.edu.
Hoover Library and Archives, Art and History: Treasures from the Hoover Library and Archives, Through Dec, 20, Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion, Stanford, Free, www.hoover.org/library-and-archives/exhibits/142926, Krause Center for Innovation Gallery, Korda Moda: The Life & Photographs of Alberto Korda, Through Dec, 6, Krause Center for Innovation Gallery, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, Free, Parking is $3, Kepler’s Arts & Lectures, YA Event: Lex Thomas (Thomas Voorhies), “Quarantine #2: The Saints,” 7 p.m, Nov, 22, ballet shoes book Keith Raffel, “A Fine and Dangerous Season,” 7:30 p.m, Dec, 3, Jacquy Pfeiffer, “The Art of French Pastry,” 7:30 p.m, Dec, 6, A Max & Ruby Story Time with Rosemary Wells, “Max and Ruby’s Treasure Hunt,” “Max’s Christmas,” 10:30 a.m, Dec, 8, Kepler’s Arts & Lectures, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-324-4321 or www.keplers.com..