November 2008
by Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith
Directed by David Storck
The Spoon Theater
38 West 38th Street, 5th Floor, New York City

Production Stage Manager:  Jeanne Travis
Stage Manager:  Daniel Mirsky
Set Designers:  Jack and Rebecca Cunningham
Costume Designer:  Ben Philipp
Lighting Designer:  Kerrie Lovercheck
Sound Designer:  Bobby McGinnis
Property Designer:  Heather Cunningham
Press Representative:  Judd Hollander, Bunch of People Press and PR
Photographer:  Kristen Vaughan

Featuring: C. K. Allen, Heather E. Cunningham, Matilda Szydagis*, Alex Herrald, Jim Kilkenny, Casandera M. J. Lollar, Elise Rovinsky and Ric Sechrest*

*Appeared courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.

"Retro Productions' The Tender Trap is an act of theatrical time travel...what a fascinating landscape awaits you.  True to their mission, this Retro production does not try to interpret the play for the twenty-first century, but imbues the entire evening with the sounds, sights and attitudes of the 1950s.  The sounds, designed by Bobby McGinnis, consist of luscious renditions of popular songs with something to say about love and the pursuit of it.  The sights include burightly colored clothes by Ben Philipp that ably depict character and era and a truly phenomenal set.  Designed by Jack and Rebecca Cunningham, this detailed rendition of a 50s bachelor apartment not only incites farcical stage movement and defines the character of its inhabitant, but it's a harmonious decor doo-wop.  C. K. Allen, as a jazz musician friend of Sylvia's, has quite possibly the funniest five minutes on any stage in New York.  Ms. Lollar appears to have a Lucille Ball hidden inside her ingenue, while Ms. Rovinsky's wit and timing drive the screwball comedy.  The Tender Trap is a hilarious evening, one from 1954." - Peyton Wise, the Fab Marquee

"As Charlie, Sechrest doesn't possess Sinatra's playful sex appeal, and instead chooses to play up his boyish lack of self-awareness and consequent relatability - his harmless immaturity, in fact, recalls a modern Judd Apatow hero.  Kilkenny, meanwhile, emphasizes Joe's preference for sarcasm and his lived wisdom.  The contrast between the characters is effective: banter between Charlie and Joe makes up some of the play's most entertaining moments, as we can easily imagine a shared history between the two best friends.  Sechrest and Kilkenny even manage to make dated lines like "holy mackerel" sound effortless and convincing.  It's the women, however, who add unexpected depth to the production.  Casandera Lollar is charming as Julie Gillis, a woman in her early 20s who is eagerly laying out her future as a housewife.  Lollar successfully channels an element of wit into a role that could just as easily have descended into clichè.  As Sylvia, Elise Rovinsky displays mature beauty through her controlled gestures and a dancers posture.  Charlie helplessly bosses her around like his other conquests, but she appears to be in on the joke.  Having some of the productions most memorable lines works in Rovinsky's favor as well: a monologue in which she reveals her fears about being single at 33 is a jarring moment in an otherwise lighthearted work.  The quality of its performances is, without a doubt, what makes The Tender Trap memorable.  In addition to the strong lead performances, supporting players like  Alex Herrald as erratic scientist Earl Lindquist help establish the production as a powerful display of New York's dramatic talent... its convincing performances extract real intelligence from its bubbly dialogue." - Laura Palotie, offoffonline

"Retro Production's revival of Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith's neatly constructed and still surprising 1950s relationship-comedy The Tender Trap is a vivid and highly entertaining blast from the Atomic Age.  Retro smartly presents the play straight up with gentle slapstick and rampant sexism in tact.  Director David Storck allows the attitudes of the day to resonate and it's a good thing because what seems on the surface a trivial and often hilarious doors-opening-and-closing farce warms into a disarming vehicle for human observation...  The Tender Trap introduces us to New York eligible bachelor Charlie Reader (played by likeable and lithe Ric Secrest), an unassuming yet formidable playboy who has got so many attractive ladies filling up his social calendar he practically needs a full time secretary to juggle them.  He explains the secret to his Midwestern boyhood pal Joe McCall (played by hilarious and touching Jim Kilkenny), an underappreciated and over-burdened husband and father of three, that life can be idyllic if a guy doesn't fall into the trap of making long term plans with any one girl... Caught in this conundrum is a glamorous and sophisticated violinist, Miss Sylvia Crewes (played by a charming and charismatic Elise Rovinsky), who by accident of years and experience most knowingly puts up with Charlie's crap.  She believes she sees the honorable man inside the wolf, but even if it's all wishful thinking, is held hostage to his ethos of fun and romance.  Her competition: Poppy Matson (played by comic sparkplug Matilda Szydagis), Jessica Collins (a perfect Heather E. Cunningham) and Julie Gillis (disarmingly forthright Casandera M. J. Lollar) round out Charlie's little black book and keep the evening sparkling and laughpacked... Stepping into the Spoon Theater is going back to pre-Mayor Lindsay New York City, thanks to brilliant set design by Jack and Rebecca Cunningham.  They make a very small stage feel expansive and luxurious.  Retro Productions is more and more becoming a reliable source of first class work as they deepen and improve with each show.  A tight ensemble of actors on a gorgeous set in beautiful period costumes (thanks to Ben Philipp) make The Tender Trap of the past live vividly in this Information Age." - Jon Reuning, United Stages