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MUST SEE: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts

Jeff Skowron in 3-D Theatricals production of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts February 15 – March 3, 2019

 

BY BRIAN HEWS

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” by 3-D Theatricals, made its hilarious West Coast debut this past Saturday at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, with this version living up to the show that played on Broadway for over two years.

The show, playing through March 3,  is directed by Peggy Hickey; 3–D Theatricals brought the original Broadway sets (Alexander Dodge) and costume designs (Linda Cho) to Cerritos also.

The showreceived 10 Tony nominations and won four, including “Best Musical,” “Best Direction of a Musical,” “Best Book of a Musical,” and “Best Costume Design.” The production also received The Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics’ Circle Award for “Outstanding Musical.” The musical also garnered a 2015 Grammy Award nomination for “Best Musical Show Album.”

The story is about Monty Navarro, played by Nick Tubbs, who lost his mom and soon learns that he is eighth in line of the D’Ysquith family (pronounced “Die-skwith”) to inherit the title, and, more importantly, the huge castle.

The number eight, as in eighth in line, is the important  number here.

Cue actor Jeff Skowron.

Skowron plays all eight D’Ysquith family members in Navarro’s way and is absolutely 8x hilarious. He goes from singing to dancing to several British accents with aplomb not seen in most theatrical works.

Skowron first plays Asquith D’Ysquith Jr., a high falooting Englishman in the snobbiest of traditions. Skowron then moves on to well-fed weekend hunter Adelbert, who in pure fashion wears a fox pelt.

Monty later finds common ground with the aged Asquith D’Ysquith Sr., who takes him on as son and successor.

He goes on to play the toothy Rev. Lord D’Ezekial; the curvaceous Lady Hyacinth; the haughty crankiness of Lord Adalbert; and the energetic beekeeper Henry, singing a duet with Monty, “Better With a Man,” just before Henry is mysteriously stung to death.

His fellow performers are amply talented too; the Guard played by Calvin Brady, the Magistrate played by Justin Charles Cowden,  the Inspector played by Richie Ferris, Dayna Sauble as the showgirl, Kelley Dorney as Phoebe D’Ysquith, and Jean Kauffman as Adelbert’s lively wife.

All characters except for one ends up six feet under by the time this wacky musical concludes, but Skowron’s performance will live on long after the theater lights are dimmed.

 

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