AND MISS REARDON DRINKS A LITTLE by Paul Zindel
Directed by Shay Gines
at the Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street, New York City
Stage Manager: Elizabeth Ramsay
Set Designers: Jack and Rebecca Cunningham
Costume Designer: Ben Philipp
Sound Designer: DeLisa White
Properties Designer: Sara Slagle
Lighting Designer: Asa Lipton
Press Representative: Alton PR and Production
Photographer: Connolly Photo NYC
Featuring: Wynne Anders*, Christopher Borg*, Heather E. Cunningham*, Rebecca Holt*, Amanda Jones*, Sean J. Moran* and Sara Thigpen*.
*Appeared courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.
"Gines’ production is not only brilliantly cast but it also moves with the speed of an Acela train. Heather E. Cunningham’s Catherine exhibits a wry humor and a perfect sense of timing as she becomes progressively drunker as well as more scathing in her insults. As Anna, the source of all the latest trouble, Amanda Jones is both perfectly reasonable and totally insane. Sara Thigpen’s married sister Ceil is efficient, professional and forceful and we understand why her character has gone further than her sisters.
"As the neighbors with the decidedly New Yawk accents, Rebecca Holt and Christopher Borg almost steal the play right under the noses of the Reardon sisters. Holt’s Fleur is unscrupulous, self-seeking and ruthless. Holt’s performance makes it perfectly clear why the original Fleur won the Tony Award. Borg is like a bull in a china shop, never reading signals or knowing when to stop while both are making the most outrageous faux pas under the circumstances.
"The realistically shabby dining and living room with its slightly old-fashioned furniture in the Jack and Rebecca Cunningham design immediately reveals the lives of its inhabitants. Ben Philipp’s costumes perfectly define the self-image of these various characters, from Catherine’s matronly outfit to Ceil’s business casual to Fleur’s over-the-top evening dress, even for 1967 a bit much for the theater. The lighting by Asa Lipton puts the Reardons under the microscope as it were. The suitably chosen objects around the room which come into play are the provenance of properties designer Sara Slagle.
"Retro Productions’ 50th anniversary revival of Paul Zindel’s And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little puts the spotlight on an almost forgotten play that is worthy of revival. Shay Gines’ production with a game cast of seven is absorbing and compelling theater with characters that are bigger than life. Paul Zindel’s semi-autobiographical play comes alive in their hands. There may be more theatrical treasures to be mined from his collected plays." - Victor Gluck, Theatrescene.net
"By the end, long-simmering resentments are laid bare in the evocatively shabby apartment set designed by Jack and Rebecca Cunningham, as are choices between the family and the external world, and between selfishness and sisterhood.
"Theater in the Now recently quoted director Shay Gines as saying that Miss Reardon's"characters have such depth and are witty and smart and wonderfully wounded." This complexity lends the play balance and nuance--none of the characters is entirely beyond reproach or without blemish, even the blunt, mansplaining Bob--and that is to both the audience's and the actors' advantage. The acerbic, rapid-fire verbal sparring deployed by Heather E. Cunningham's Catherine overlays a loneliness and even tenderness, seen for example in her teasing interactions with the delivery boy (Sean J. Moran, making the most of his short time onstage). Sara Thigpen renders Ceil similarly layered: she may be, as Catherine calls her, the bitch sister, but she is also the most focused on understanding and helping Anna. Anna herself is played by Amanda Jones as wonderfully mercurial, her exhaustion, fragility, and volatility all wrapped up together in a pale green bathrobe. Christopher Borg is increasingly hilarious as Bob's smugly knowledgeable everyman persona is increasingly tested, and Rebecca Holt's Fleur is equally funny, but with an unexpected edge lurking under the polite smiles and ingratiating laughter.
"Zindel's work in And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little is reminiscent of Edward Albee, but more grounded--there is a gun involved, for example, but it seems more a symbol than an actual threat. The production provides an engrossing, funny, provocatively relevant study of character and context." - Leah Richards, Culture Catch
"realistic portrayals of women on the verge." - Howard Miller, Talkin' Broadway
"the show boasts some good performances: standouts include Jones as the emotionally unstable but highly sympathetic Anna and Rebecca Holt as Mrs. Stein, a guidance counselor with a complex relationship to the Reardon sisters." - Regina Robbins, Theatre is Easy
"MARK SAVITT: The production values for this modest production are unusually high. Set, lighting, costumes, and sound are unobtrusive but right on. I hadn't known this little gem of a play before I saw it this evening, but I'm so glad I discovered it. HAPPY FACE
EVA HEINEMANN ADDS: What a shame you only have 2 chances left to see this wonderful production of Zindel's classic family dysfunction story. For once Mark and I are on the same page and really like this show.
Shay Gines has directed these demented sisters down to the slightest detail with extravagant wigs of the era and concoctions that would cause you to start drinking as well. The acting was superb and they really looked like sisters. Underneath Heather E. Cunningham's snarkiness was a real affection and protectiveness for her sister Anna and in return Amanda Jones as Anna despite her fragile nature fiercely stood by Catherine against their officious sister Ceil, played by Sara Thigpen, who stole Catherine's beau and their mothers knick knacks. Wynne Anders was hilarious as the pushy neighbor trying to get everyone to buy her obnoxious products. Rebecca Holt and Christopher Borg as battling neighbors clueless to the effect that they had on each other and their surroundings were a sight to behold. Sean J. Moran as the delivery boy was the only normal person of the group.
Go see this and you are guaranteed a good time thinking that you are not as bad off as these people are. HAPPY FACE" - Mark Savitt and Eva Heinemann, Hi! Drama
"Retro Productions – an exceptionally good company as evidenced by their previous successes - did a truly first rate job in direction, set design and, most tellingly, in the entire cast’s performances in this production as well." - Alan Miller, A Seat on the Aisle
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NOMINATED FOR FOUR NEW YORK INNOVATIVE THEATRE AWARDS: Outstanding Production of a Revival, Outstanding Set Design, Outstanding Innovative Design (properties) and Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role - Christopher Borg