For a Good Time See RVCO’s ‘Naughty Marietta’
La Contessa Marie d’Altena (Alexis Droke) did a naughty thing by defying her father’s wishes to marry, jumping ship and running away to New Orleans in 1870 under the guise of a maid. Taken as one of the royally dowered ‘casquette’ girls arriving to America in search of husbands as ‘Marietta’, she receives a promise of protection from Captain Dick Warrington (Jay Anstee) with the adorable duet “It Never, Never Can Be Love”. Marietta has a melody in her head and will only marry the man who can complete it. The honorable Captain Dick, who is also hunting villainous marauding pirate ‘Bras Piqué’, has arranged to place Marietta as the son of local Italian puppeteer Rudolfo (David Zaffarano), who teaches her his art ensuing in the sprightly number “Dance of the Marionettes”.
The acting governor’s evil son, Étienne suspects Marietta’s true identity and wants to marry her in a move to secure Louisiana for his own purposes. He pushes aside his mellifluous voiced former amor, Ada (Abby Capitolo), leaving her in a bad situation, to pursue La Contessa. Ada turns to Captain Dick, and in a star crossed jealousy infused moment, hot confusion causes Marietta to behave brashly ultimately culminating in the high powered quartet “Live for Today” set in a gloriously attired ballroom scene.
Meanwhile the American trappers are all the while trying to snare wives, including Simon (Chris Capitolo) but he is too stinky for Lizette (Molly Lazar), his love’s desire and the frolicsome tune “If I Were Anyone Else But Me”. Poor Simon will do just about anything to win Lizette, even become a whipping boy for Lieutenant Governor Grandet (Edwin Neally). After all, “For it is love alone that rules for aye!” according to the refrain in “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life” (a piece some may have heard in Mel Brooks’ 1974 comedy horror film “Young Frankenstein”)!
Brightly staged ensemble numbers such as the lively opening number “Clear Away”, wonderfully percussive “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp” by Captain Dick and followers, the beautiful “Italian Street Song” and the stunning ballroom number “Loves of New Orleans” enliven the stage, energized by the effervescent orchestra lead by Music Director Florrie Marks, and kicked into high gear by Jan Streicher’s confident choreography. Set design by Elizabeth D’Wolf, costumes by co-chairs MaryJane Clark and Janice Manley top off the action terrifically, particularly for the spectacular ballroom scene. Lil Pellissier fabrication and costuming of the marionettes provides irresistible icing on this engaging multi-layered production directed by Katherine P. Nealley.
The original book by Rida Johnson Young may have been inspired by actual historical occurrences. King Louis XIV sent girls from France, providing each with a dowry box (casquette) to marry settlers in the French colonies. These casquette girls were of good reputation and were protected by soldiers and priests and housed in a convent until married. Mercenary soldiers were also hired to maintain peace in the new lands. Zaffarano’s new book updates some of the language in the original, reconciling the changes accordingly, retaining the flair and flavor of the story within 2 hours plus a 15 minute intermission.
RVCO’s ‘Naughty Marietta Revised 2018’ is a thoroughly enjoyable operetta featuring pirates, power hungry politicos, intrigue and French casquette maids – what a blast!
Book by Julie Zaffarano, Music: Victor Herbert
Music engraving: William V. “Pete” Dorwart
Lyrics: Rida Johnson Young
For tickets visit www.rvco.org, or call 610-565-5010. Tickets may be also purchased at the door
Remaining performances are April 12, 13 at 8:00 PM and April 13 at 2:00pm at Strath Haven Middle School Theatre, 200 South Providence Road, Wallingford, PA.