By Ernio Hernandez
09 Dec 2007
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
Joe Mantello (Wicked, Assassins, the upcoming November) directed the new production, which began previews Sept. 15 and opened Oct. 11 at Studio 54. The limited engagement was originally scheduled to run through Dec. 2, then extended for one more week of performances.
One of the few shows unaffected by the stagehands strike, which lasted 19 days through the show's run, The Ritz will have played 30 previews and 69 regular performances by its conclusion.
Billed as "an over-the-top comedy that takes place in a bathhouse in Manhattan," the farcical The Ritz concerns a man (Chamberlin) — hiding out from a mobster in the titular Turkish bath — who realizes he is actually in a gay bathhouse. He then takes on the guise of a big Broadway producer to avoid being discovered.
The cast also featured Brooks Ashmanskas (Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, The Producers) as bathhouse regular Chris, Ashlie Atkinson (Fat Pig) as Vivian Proclo, Patrick Kerr ("Jeffrey," "Frasier") as "chubby chaser" Claude Perkins, Terrence Riordan (Take Me Out tour) as private eye Michael Brick and Lenny Venito ("The Knights of Prosperity") as raging brother-in-law Carmine Vespucci.
Rounding out the ensemble were Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, David Turner, Seth Rudetsky, Adam Sietz, Ryan Idol, Teddy Coluca, Billy Magnussen, Mark Leydorf, Matthew Montelongo, Angela Pietropinto, Jeffrey Evan Thomas, Josh Breckenridge, Justin Clynes, Andrew Cooksey, Lukas Hassel, Nick Mayo and Dillon Porter. Andréa Burns (In The Heights) served as standby for Perez.
Christopher Gattelli choreographed with Rudetsky handling musical direction. The design team included Scott Pask (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher (lights), Tony Meola (sound) and Paul Huntley (hair and wig).
Actress Perez has taken time between her screen career to add some stage work to her resume, playing in Broadway's recent revivals of Reckless and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and Off-Broadway's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot. Her film credits include "Fearless," "Human Nature," "Do the Right Thing," "Untamed Heart" and HBO's "Lackawanna Blues." She made her directorial debut with the 2006 documentary "Yo Soy Boricua Pa'que Tu Lo Sepas!"
Chamberlin returns to the Broadway stage after a recent turn in the City Center Encores! revue Stairway to Paradise. He received Tony nominations for his work in Dirty Blonde and Seussical and has also appeared in Chicago, My Favorite Year, Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Triumph of Love. The actor has also been seen in the films "Lucky Number Slevin," "Road to Perdition," "DieHard With a Vengeance," "In and Out" and "Christmas with the Kranks."
Tickets to The Ritz at Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street, are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300 or online at roundabouttheatre.org.