What better way to start the New Year than to look back at some very old ones -- the 1890s to be precise, which are celebrated in the musical revue Only A Bird In A Gilded Cage, conceived, written and directed by Jon Jory and opening Jan. 2 at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Jory, ATL's producing director, sets Cage in Dayton, Ohio, at the parlor of an arts patroness, designed by Paul Owen. She invites family and friends to her home for an evening's entertainment, leading to such songs as Irving Berlin's "I Love A Piano," Victor Herbert's "A Good Cigar Is A Smoke," and recitations of Ernest Lawrence Thayer's "Casey At The Bat" and Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman."
The names of these participating guests? Chastity Masticate, Calla Corliss Delahew Mayfair Aubergine Titwillow Tennyson (the songbird of Dayton), Kaimo T. Stephanopoulos, Cithoneria Bulkhorn, and vaudeville star Seamus Cantress "Hot Pipes" Harrigan. The actual actors are Twyla Hafermann (Phelps), Claire Anne Longest, Scott Kasbaum, V. Craig Heidenreich, Fred Major, Adale O'Brien, Kathleen Early, William McNulty, Deanne Lorette, Bart Shatto and Bob Burrus. Scott Kasbaum serves as music director (on the piano) and arranger for the piece, which features choreography by Karma Camp. Delmar L. Rinehart designed the costumes, Ed McCarthy the lighting, Christopher R. Hermanson the sound.
The idea behind the show is to showcase the singing, dancing and storytelling talents of ATL's resident acting company. For tickets ($16 33) and information on Only A Bird In A Gilded Cage, at the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Pamela Brown Auditorium through Jan. 25, call (502) 584-1265.
--By David Lefkowitz