Critic At Large... Ruta Lee
All This and Heaven Too
By Ruta Lee... Critic at Large
Dec 23, 2007 - 3:13:15 PM

I took a little time out from the Christmas hubbub to see a show at the Macha Theater in West Hollywood. What a delightful surprise to find an itsy bitsy theater providing such big and outstanding entertainment.

All This and Heaven Too is a musical play by Dick DeBenedictis and Bill Dyer. It is referred to as a "gay play" but even the biggest homophobe will be swept into the joy of this show. The music is some of the best I've heard in a very long time. Each song is a show stopper in its own way and everyone shines in their vocal moment.

Kevin Carlisle (Director/Choreographer) moved his fabulous cast around the stage artfully... and right into our hearts. He capitalized on each actor's assets bringing us delicious surprises throughout the story.

The plot revolves around a memorial for "Boomie," the deceased best friend to six men.  

Sammy Williams (Terry) as the party host, sets the mood and fun of this hilarious piece with his first entrance. 

Kelly Mantle (Jo) is the amazing, flamboyant, over the top, wardrobe queen, that could steal the show but he underplays at the right moments to keep the story moving in other characters' hands.

Steven Connor (Michael) is the masterful voice of quiet reason and a pleasure to watch in his skillful performance.

Steven Lamar Hirschi (Phillip) the handsome stud muffin, painfully aware of his aging, has some touching moments amid the laughter.

Charles Herrera (Juan) is divinely funny as a Latino homebody always just a step behind the group.

Chase McCown (Blane) is the gentle soul, weaning himself from "the life" on Santa Monica Blvd. His sweet tempered portrayal adds a lovely color to the show.

The night I saw the show, the spirit of (Boomie) was played by understudy, Wayne Moore, who was wonderful in the role of friend/patriarch of this unlikely family.

Patricia Harrison (Myrna) also the understudy delivered one of the most poignant and memorable moments.

All these wonderful actors are charming, funny and thought-provoking.

Considering the limitations in size of the stage, the set and lighting by Danny Truxaw heightened the mood of each special moment.

This musical play has deservedly been extended another month, so an evening to experience what will be a pleasant memory.   

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