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Spectrum to stage Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Students having fun with laughs in Broadway musical
Lawrence Jameson (Daniel Zelisko), left, and Freddy Benson (Clayton Flett), right, are the Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels who fight for the affection, and wealth, of Christine Colgate (Taylor Muir). Spectrum theatre is staging the play March 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a March 11 matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12/$10 at the door. Submitted

Spectrum theatre students are looking to steal a few laughs, if not more, as they are staging Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for their annual spring production.

The Broadway musical is a proven hit. Based on the original 1988 film starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, it started on Broadway in 2005, ran for 626 performances and was nominated for 10 Tonys (including best musical, best book, and best score).

The plot, if you need a reminder, revolves around two con artists who first butt heads, then team up, and ultimately compete for the cash and affection of American soap queen Christine Colgate (played by Taylor Muir). Freddy, a two-bit American hustler (played by Clayton Flett) has been running the train circuit in France, where he compels compassionate listeners to pick up his lunch tab by spinning yarns of woe about his ailing grandmother. He runs into Lawrence Jameson (played by Daniel Zelisko), who had been running a sophisticated con at a casino resort on the French Riviera. Posing as the wrongfully deposed prince of a tiny European nation, Jameson charms wealthy female tourists with the thrill of adventure, convincing them to finance his noble rebellion.

The two wager over who can first swindle $50,000 and a kiss out of Colgate both end up getting more than they bargained for, said director and drama teacher Tim Barss.

“It’s a first for the area as the rights to the show only recently became available for school and community theatre licensing,” Barss said.

It’s taken dozens to put the show together with 42 students in the cast, a 17-student musical group in the pit orchestra and about 15 students in the stage tech booth crews. Another 30 from a stagecraft class designed, built and painted the sets and also worked on props, lighting design and sound design.

“The script is very funny and the kids really bought in to it,” Barss said. “We laugh at every rehearsal as we find new ways to bring out the humour. The actors are doing a great job capturing the chemistry of the lead characters…”

There’s a lot of physical and situational humour, unlike many musical comedies which rely on the one-liners for their laughs, Barss added.

“The idea was to create a feeling that there’s dozens of mysterious or clandestine things going on besides the story that the audience happens to be in on.”

Dance teacher Lia Shannon is the choreographer and music teacher Parker Jolliffe the muscial director.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels plays March 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 at 7:30 p.m., and March 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets $12/$10 at 250-479-8271.