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Get Ready

"Get Ready" is a limp script about the Doves, a '60s R&B group whose members are attempting a comeback after splitting up years ago. Jaye Stewart and Joe Plummer's book dwells incessantly on the petty, boring bickering that is hampering the Doves' efforts to regroup and hit the road again after an old tune recorded by the quintet has returned to the top of the charts.

With:
Knobby ... W. Allen Taylor Johnson ... Kenn E. Head Bunch ... John Steven Crowley J.R. ... Trent Harrison Smith Frankie ... Allan Louis Roscoe ... Danne E. Reese Eva Dee ... Laura Walls Vern ... Rick Worthy

“Get Ready” is a limp script about the Doves, a ’60s R&B group whose members are attempting a comeback after splitting up years ago. Jaye Stewart and Joe Plummer’s book dwells incessantly on the petty, boring bickering that is hampering the Doves’ efforts to regroup and hit the road again after an old tune recorded by the quintet has returned to the top of the charts.

Most of the show is set in a recording studio, where the Doves are rehearsing their new musical routines and trying to smooth over their differences, without much success. They also must figure out how to get back their lead singer, Roscoe (Danne E. Reese). He has hitched his star to Eva Dee (Laura Walls), a wonderfully bitchy singer/manager who may be more interested in keeping the Doves from regrouping than making Roscoe a solo singing sensation.

The show plods along predictably except when Eva Dee is around to light up the stage with her exceedingly tart remarks. She keeps a liquor bottle nearby at all times because “sobriety would kill me and a few other people.”

But to provide the happy ending the authors apparently had in mind, Eva Dee must of necessity undergo an unconvincing change of heart late in the second act that allows Roscoe to return to the group for a finale that fall short of rousing.

Director Dennis Zacek seems at a loss as to how to draw excitement from the flimsy script. The actors, for the most part, deliver their lines with little conviction.

The production’s one truly bright spot is Walls, who makes Eva Dee an immensely appealing character. As Roscoe, Reese proves a weak actor in his big confrontations with Eva.

W. Allen Taylor is too muted in his portrayal of Knobby, the choreographer helping the Doves reformulate their act. Trent Harrison Smith is just OK in the thankless role of J.R., a gofer who keeps coming in and announcing that another car has been towed.

Kenn E. Head, John Steven Crowley, Allan Louis and Rick Worthy as the other Doves are not particularly strong actors or singers.

James Dardenne’s recording studio is suitably seedy, and Todd Hensley’s lighting makes it look even more run-down. Claudia Boddy has designed some wonderfully gaudy gowns for Eva Dee. Musical director Robert Irving could have injected a lot more pep into the show’s musical selections.

Get Ready

Production: A Victory Gardens Theater presentation of a play with music in two acts by Jaye Stewart and Joe Plummer. Music by Plummer and other composers, lyrics by Jaye Stewart, Plummer, Debi Stewart and other lyricists. Directed by Dennis Zacek.

Crew: Sets, James Dardenne; lighting, Todd Hensley; costumes, Claudia Boddy; sound, Galen G. Ramsey; musical direction, Robert Irving III; properties, Barbara Scott; choreography, Joe Plummer; production stage manager, Amy A. Field. Artistic director, Zacek. Opened, reviewed May 29, 1994, at Victory Gardens; 195 seats; $ 27 top. Running time: 2 HOURS,15 MIN.

With: Knobby ... W. Allen Taylor Johnson ... Kenn E. Head Bunch ... John Steven Crowley J.R. ... Trent Harrison Smith Frankie ... Allan Louis Roscoe ... Danne E. Reese Eva Dee ... Laura Walls Vern ... Rick Worthy

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