UrbanStages

Playwrights' Preview Productions

Frances Hill, Artistic Director - T.L. Reilly, Producing Director

Sonia Kozlova, Program Director

Presents

ROSES IN DECEMBER

(a play in letters)

By Victor L. Cahn

Directed by T.L. Reilly

 

UrbanStages

259 W. 30 St.

NYC

Tickets: (212) 206-1515 or www.smarttix.com

www.urbanstages.org

 

February 25 through April 20, 2003

 

Sergei Dreznin, Original Music

Roman J. Tatarowicz, Production Design

Olga Devyatisilnaya, Costume Designer

Ralph Carhart, Technical Director

Mimi Craig, Stage Manager

Henry Zarate, Sound Operator

Brett Singer & Associates, Publicist

Sondra Graft, Pentacle, Graphic Design

 

Starring*

James Naughton as Joel Gordon (Feb. 25 – Mar. 9)

Victor Slezak as Joel Gordon (Mar. 11 - 23)

Paul Ben-Victor as Joel Gordon (April 2 - 6)

Keira Naughton as Carolyn Meyers

 

*Reviewed with Mr. Naughton in the role of Joel Gordon

 

 

With a wink toward what, perhaps, was a simpler age, Victor L. Cahn’s ROSES IN DECEMBER exalts the timeless charm and intimacy of letter writing within this, our modern, techno-driven today. Part mystery, part research, part business, part pleasure, but all-engaging, this latest addition to the small family of plays in letters features some of the most lovely language the theatergoer is likely to experience outside of a revival of Shakespeare or the like.

The ROSES IN DECEMBER story starts simply enough, as Carolyn, nearly perfectly portrayed by the charming Keira Naughton, repeatedly implores reclusive author Joel Gordon, via letter, to attend an upcoming weekend of 35th year college reunion activities. Mr. Gordon, played by James Naughton in his subtly omnipresent way, repeatedly refuses to attend, and the pen-pal relationship between these strangers moves into more personal territory.

As Carolyn uses every tactic possible, in her correspondence, to win an audience with the infamous Joel Gordon, she spends more and more time researching her elusive idol. What she learns of him is shared with the audience through her letters, and it is here that we discover that both of her parents were college friends of the then up-and-coming author. She learns this, and so much more, and we are there for every new tidbit.

As familiarity builds, formality slowly wanes between the correspondents. This fact is enunciated most clearly in the subsequent letters, and such honesty, or is it reality, keeps ROSES IN DECEMBER feeling authentic. There is nothing implausible in the text. In fact, the author does a great service by not bending to popular notions of "fate" and the like that take so many promising works way off course.

Perhaps a bit rushed in act two, but altogether satisfactory, ROSES IN DECEMBER is a wordsmith’s delight. It is the kind of nuts and bolts of theater that reminds us all that fancy footwork, elaborate sets and special effects need not always apply.

- Kessa De Santis -

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