FEBRUARY HOUSE - Long Wharf Theatre
By Marlene S. Gaylinn
This World Premiere by Gabriel Kahane and Seth Bockley is derived from material gathered by Sherill Tippins. It concerns a boarding house in Brooklyn during the 1940’s and is about a group of famous writers who happened to be born in February. Despite their non-conformist attitudes, including sexual preferences, these unique individuals managed for a time to live together and nurture one another until they inevitably went their separate ways. It’s a skillful, ambitious work containing 24 songs and could possibly be considered a dramatic opera. Some of the songs are quite pleasant but for the long haul, the dissonant sections become difficult to enjoy.
Under the direction of Davis McCallum, American writer/editor George Davis (Julian Fleisher) acts as the narrator and endearing housemother to his tenants. Erik Lochtefeld gives us a very insightful and sensitive performance of the English writer, W.H. Auden. In contrast, Kacie Sheik livens the stage with a Gypsy Rose Lee strip tease number choreographed by Danny Mefford. Kristen Sieh plays tomboy, Carson McCullers (she wrote “Member of the Wedding”) and Stephanie Hayes, is absolutely wonderful as her lover, the German actress, Erika Mann.
“February House” is a bit too long, however the work is well performed and the subject matter is vivid, and interesting. It will hold your attention throughout. Plays to March 18. Tickets: 203 787 4282
This review appears in “On CT Theatre” March/2012