“THE LAST ROMANCE" IS AN OLD-FASHIONED VALENTINE TO LOVE


BONNIE GOLDBERG

The customary tried and true ways to woo a woman are boxes of milk chocolate caramels and bouquets of pink roses. Ralph Bellini is anything but an ordinary suitor. He plies his heart's desire with romantic operatic arias. At the age of four score years, a young at heart eighty, Ralph has been alone for too long and when he sees a lovely lady in a dog park, with her little terrier Peaches, he puts his heart on his sleeve and leaps.

 

For this tender and old-fashioned Valentine of a comedy "The Last Romance" by Joe Pietro waltz on over to Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury before Sunday, November 11.

 

Widowed for a dozen years, Ralph, played by a charming and debonair Ron Crawford, has settled into a tidy, quiet life with his sister Rose, a feisty, outspoken, truth-at-any-cost Geraldine Librandi. She cooks, cleans and protects him, lest there be a repeat of the ominous events of October 25. Rose, herself, has been separated from hubby Tony for more than two decades and is secure in the knowledge that she is right and he is wrong.

 

One day Ralph takes a different road for his daily walk and spies Carol Reynolds, captured delightfully by Joyce Jeffrey, after the original actress Marie Wallace was injured on opening night. Carol resists Ralph's wit and wisdom as he ardently pursues her, until she finally falls prey to his affectionate ways.

 

Cupid has a few major obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is a vociferous Rose who doesn't want Ralph to abandon her for another woman. Helping Ralph win Carol's heart are the warmly sensitive arias sung by Eric Stephenson, who represents Ralph in his youth, when he had a chance for a career at the Metropolitan Opera House. A sweet faced Molli Healy plays Peaches to perfection. Semina DeLaurentis directs this pretty pastiche of passion.

 

For tickets ($29-39), call Seven Angels Theatre, Plank Road, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at www.sevenangelstheatre.org.; Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m, and 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

 

Imagine the Beatles are serenading with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" as Ralph and Carol discover love in later life can be just as sweet the second time around.

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