May 2016

Escape to the French Riviera this May with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Author: Andrea Gannon

It’s the height of the season in Beaumont-Sur-Mer on the French Riviera, and the game is on for dashing conman Lawrence Jameson, who makes his living by charming rich women out of their money. However, things get interesting with the arrival of one Freddy Benson, a rough-around-the-edges young American upstart, who threatens the status quo. Hilarity ensues with the arrival of a well-endowed American heiress, prompting a campaign to see who can fleece her first, forcing the other to leave this sun-drenched paradise.

An Arts Center of Coastal Carolina production, on stage May 4-29, this highly entertaining show features songs by David Yazbek—a musical pastiche ranging from Oklahoma hoedown to big power ballads and chansons. The lyrics are sharp, the tunes catchy and the effect hilarious. Directed and choreographed by New York-based island favorite Casey Colgan, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a blast from start to finish.

Talent abounds in this glamorous musical, as it does in all Arts Center productions. Broadway star Sean McDermott inhabits the role of the debonair Lawrence. McDermott is recognized as one of Broadway’s leading performers, starring as Chris in Miss Saigon, Whizzer in Falsettos (opposite Mandy Patinkin), Rusty in Starlight Express, and Danny in Grease. Other leading roles include: Chicago (Billy Flynn), Jekyll and Hyde (both title roles), Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus), Carousel (Billy), Sweet Charity (Vittorio), Showboat (Ravenal), Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash), and West Side Story (Tony). Audiences will also recognize McDermott from TV shows Desperate Housewives, Medium, Charmed and Guiding Light.

McDermott was also hand-picked by Barbra Streisand to sing alongside her on her European tour. It was, according to McDermott, “an unforgettable experience, standing and singing right next to Streisand, who was an absolute delight to work with.”

Colgan remembers being wowed by McDermott when he first saw him originate the role of Chris in Miss Saigon on Broadway. “Sean has had and continues to have an amazing, expansive career, playing some of the best lead roles on Broadway, so to be able to work with him now is a huge honor,” Colgan said.

The other male lead, Blake Spellacy (Freddy), also from New York City, is a comedic giant, returning to the Arts Center for his fourth show. Most recently, he played the riotously funny role of Cosmo in Singin’ in the Rain, winning him a BroadwayWorld Best Supporting Actor award.

“When I say I discovered Blake, I mean I literally discovered him,” Colgan said. “Blake was performing at a talent competition that I was judging in Cincinnati, Ohio when he was merely a teenager. This was right before I was to direct The Drowsy Chaperone at the Arts Center. I was blown away by his charisma and talent in the competition and hired him for Drowsy… and he has been a successful, working actor ever since. Blake completely beams on stage, is hilarious and an amazing tap dancer (as seen in 42nd Street). Like his co-star, I confidently predict he will be a household name on Broadway.”

Other leads include the effervescent Gail Cook Howell, who plays the “fanciest of all ladies,” Muriel. Howell is back for her sixth show at the Arts Center, and is a “comedic dynamo” Colgan said.

Playing the role of Christine, the lovely object of the dueling con-artists’ contest, is Kristine Reese, coming to the Arts Center from New York City, also with a host of theater experience under her belt.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the perfect theater package: witty songs, on-point acting, superb singing, and dazzling sets, all guaranteed to transport the audience to the French Riviera. So if an escape to a luxurious destination with non-stop fun is needed, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels provides it… in spades. 

Tickets for preview performances May 4-5 are $45 for adults and $31 for children 5-15; regular tickets May 6-29 are $55 for adults and $39 for children and can be purchased at the Arts Center Box Office by calling (843) 842-ARTS (2787) or online at.artshhi.com. The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina is located at 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, adjacent to the entrance to Shelter Cove Harbour.

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