×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

Ball's play, "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress," about a group of bridesmaids in the South, displays flashes of what would become a sparklingly sharp wit, an ability to craft efficient characterization and a certain structural sturdiness. But, at least in this sullen version on view at the Elephant Theater in Hollywood, the play is too blandly typical.

With:
Frances - Jen Richey
Meredith - Sara Arrington
Trisha - Danielle Sapia
Georgeanne - Jennifer Hawtrey
Mindy - Leanne Richelle
Tripp - Danny La Cava

After a writer finds his voice — and there’s no question Alan Ball has found his with “American Beauty” and “Six Feet Under” — it’s little more than a curiosity to look back at earlier work. Ball’s play, “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,” about a group of bridesmaids in the South, displays flashes of what would become a sparklingly sharp wit, an ability to craft efficient characterization and a certain structural sturdiness. But, at least in this sullen version on view at the Elephant Theater in Hollywood, the play is too blandly typical.

There are almost no real surprises in “Five Women.” It’s a character-based piece, and a decent one, but it doesn’t ascend beyond the level of other seriocomedies about groups of women, such as “Vanities,” “Uncommon Women and Others” and “Steel Magnolias.”

In this production, directed by acting teacher Nikolai Guzov and starring a number of his students, the characters lack the sharp edges that would make their stereotypical qualities less grating. There’s Jesus-loving Frances (Jen Richey), liberal depressive Meredith (Sara Arrington), promiscuous beauty Trisha (Danielle Sapia), clumsy lesbian Mindy (Leanne Richelle) and unhappily married, slightly overweight Georgeanne (Jennifer Hawtrey).

Meredith’s older sister is getting married, and the characters escape to a bedroom haven away from the marital action to refresh, gossip or, perhaps, cry over a perceived slight. Each gets doled out a revelation, and the play leads up to a scene where Trisha, 30 and still single, gets to flirt with a nice boy (Danny La Cava) who wants no more than to do drugs and have sex with her. For the most part, Ball avoids the melodrama. And, for the most part, the actors here avoid interesting choices.

The whole thing plays like an extended scene for an acting class, with the ensemble working hard to make it look like they’re not working hard, and therefore never finding what might be enticing or charming. The play does come alive a bit when Richelle leads the way, and it tends to drag when Arrington takes over.

Along with Hawtrey, Arrington designed the dress of the title, a nicely done-up but not-outrageous-enough peach-colored affair with extra frills. Guzov designed the set, and he forces much of the audience to watch the actors through the rails of a large headboard positioned downstage center.

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

Elephant Theater; 49 seats; $15

Production: A Fledgling Prods. presentation in association with Danielle Sapia of a two-act play by Alan Ball. Director, Nikolai Guzov.

Creative: Producers, Kevin La Cava, Danielle Sapia, Joe Corbett; set, Nikolai Guzov; costumes, Sara Arrington, Jennifer Hawtrey; lighting, Mac Caddle; sound, Daniel Osuna. Opened March 7, 2002; reviewed March 8; runs through April 12. Running time: 2 HOURS, 10 MIN.

Cast: Frances - Jen Richey
Meredith - Sara Arrington
Trisha - Danielle Sapia
Georgeanne - Jennifer Hawtrey
Mindy - Leanne Richelle
Tripp - Danny La Cava

More Legit

  • Alexander Dinelaris

    'Jekyll and Hyde' Movie in the Works Based on Broadway Musical

    The Broadway musical “Jekyll and Hyde” is getting the movie treatment from Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris. Dinelaris, who is writing and producing the adaptation, won an Oscar for the “Birdman” script and was a co-producer on “The Revenant.” He is producing “Jekyll and Hyde” as the first project under his New York-based development company, [...]

  • Sam Mendes

    Listen: The 'Balls-Out Theatricality' of Sam Mendes

    If you find yourself directing a Broadway play with a cast so big it includes a goose, two rabbits, more kids than you can count and an actual infant, what do you do? If you’re Sam Mendes, you embrace the “balls-out theatricality” of it all. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “There is a kind [...]

  • James Corden Tony Awards

    James Corden to Host 2019 Tony Awards (EXCLUSIVE)

    James Corden has been tapped to once again host the Tony Awards, Variety has learned exclusively. “The Late Late Show” host previously emceed the annual theater awards show in 2016, and won the Tony for best actor in a play for his performance in “One Man, Two Guvnors” in 2012. “I’m thrilled to be returning to [...]

  • Frozen review Broadway

    ‘Frozen’ the Musical Opening in London in 2020

    “Frozen” the musical is coming to London and will open in the West End in fall 2020. The Michael Grandage-directed Disney Theatrical Productions stage show has been on Broadway for a year. Grandage’s production is now set to re-open Andrew Lloyd Webber’s refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are behind the [...]

  • Nantucket Sleigh Ride review

    Off Broadway Review: John Guare's 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride'

    Anyone who doesn’t have a cottage on the Cape or the Islands, as they say in Massachusetts, might be puzzled by the title of John Guare’s new play.  “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” is no Revere Beach amusement park ride, but an old whaling term for the death throes of a whale that is still attached to [...]

  • Kiss Me Kate review

    Broadway Review: 'Kiss Me, Kate'

    No, Kate doesn’t get spanked. And for those wondering how the dicey ending of “Kiss Me, Kate” — that musical mashup of “The Taming of the Shrew” and backstage battling exes — would come across in these more sensitive times, well, that’s also been reconsidered for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway revival of the Cole [...]

  • Betrayal review Tom Hiddleston

    West End Review: Tom Hiddleston in 'Betrayal'

    It takes three to tango, and Jamie Lloyd’s “Betrayal” completely grasps that. Having made it his mission to modernize the way we stage Harold Pinter’s plays, his chic, stripped-down staging starring Tom Hiddleston as a cuckolded husband might be his best attempt yet. Pared back and played out on an empty stage, this masterful play [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content