Frederick And Co-Stars Triumph In Classic Play
May 25, 2011 - 9:56:08 PM
SANTA MONICA—A.R. Gurney himself could not have chosen a better creative team both backstage and onstage for his acclaimed theatrical work “Sylvia.” The play that is directed by the legendary Gary Imhoff and produced by Alexandra Guarnieri is being presented until July 10 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in sunny Santa Monica, and if opening night is any indication, be prepared to be dazzled by Frederick, Arden, Howard and Ayers.
Tanna Frederick As Sylvia
After seeing the play at the Sierra Madre Playhouse several months ago, I thought to myself, how can it be improved? It was that good. However, immediately upon hearing from the maverick and talented filmmaker, director and writer Henry Jaglom that Gary Imhoff would be directing it, I prepared to be impressed. When I left the theatre along with famous friends Gregory Harrison, Judd Nelson, Golden Globe Award-winning actress Karen Black and former child star Corey Feldman, we were all in awe of the brilliant direction this new production has taken, starring the ever overachieving thespian star Tanna Frederick.
The play that originally played on Broadway, starring Sarah Jessica Parker as Sylvia, Blythe Danner as Kate and Charles Kimbrough as Greg, has an exciting star-studded cast to inhabit the bodies of man’s best friend and the couple who grows to love their new forever friend Sylvia. Tanna Frederick is the muse for so many of her fans and people who work with her. She embodies positive energy, unrivaled loyalty and a caring heart. See why playing a dog is so easy for her? Perhaps that’s a bit too simplistic, there is absolutely nothing easy about playing a dog, but Frederick does so with such ease that it seems effortless to her co-stars, fellow actors and audience members. “I think it’s because she gives so much to everything she does,” said acting legend Gregory Harrison. With award-winning beauty Karen Black offering, “This is truly Tanna’s role. No one can do what she does with such ease.”
Sylvia Stuns And Engages All Men
Frederick works so well in an ensemble and her work with Gary Imhoff is legendary. Their most recent 11-month run as director and leading lady at the Edgemar was for “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway,” the amazing play that Jaglom wrote and produced. It also was put on film by Rainbow Film Company last year, with respected actor Judd Nelson in the lead opposite Tanna. The release date has been set.
From the moment Sylvia, played by Frederick, tells Greg who finds her in the park and brings her home, “I love you,” the heat is on. Literally, it’s on. Sylvia finds herself in the lustful state of being “in heat” and Greg is devastated by the turn of events. Stephen Howard, who portrays Greg, has simply one of the most solid stage performances of this decade. The star of many stage and television appearances doesn’t skip a beat from the time he is first on stage until the final curtain comes down. He makes Hollywood men over 50 look great when you realize he’s still capable of being a leading man post 50, such as audience member and fellow actor Gregory Harrison.
Tanna becomes so entrenched in character, that she has every canine gesture down to a science, with movements that are not only realistic of a dog, but fantastically hilarious to audience members. From the second she shows up as a scruffy mutt on the Eastside Manhattan home of Kate and Greg’s until her final curtain call, you will be taken on a ride of excitement, pleasure and fantasy filled with laughter and tears.
Tom Ayers is also known as an actor, writer and established stand-up comedian in Hollywood. Any of his fans would be astonished by his level of splendid acting ability in the role as rough blue-collar Tom, who seems like a mixture of Archie Bunker (“All in the Family”) and Al Bundy (“Married with Children”). His portrayal of social climber Phyllis left the audience gasping for air with laughter so loud, the actors had to pause a moment to start dialogue again.
Cathy Arden, an actress who recently moved from NYC to Santa Monica to kick-start her acting career, is on her way after this incredibly authentic performance! The beautiful star has captured my heart, and her demeanor as the long-suffering wife of a man obsessed with another female (albeit a dog named Sylvia) made us take pause and often take her side in the marital arguments over Greg’s doggy obsession. Imhoff’s choice to soften the character of Kate is brilliant and the performance by Arden is ingenious.
Tommy Lightfoot Garrett And Cathy Arden (Kate)
The set design by Joel Daavid is so authentic that audiences really feel transported to a real home in the city of New York, and Sylvia’s Central Park excursions make you feel as if you can actually hear the park-like sounds. From these mentioned greats to other stars behind the scenes, such as Phillip Sokoloff and Leslie Turner, the audience is in for a treat that has only one flaw: the play ends. However, be prepared for a teary-eyed conclusion to this Tony-worthy entertaining hour at the theatre on the Pacific Ocean.
Don’t miss it! Go to Edgemarcenter.org for ticket information.
Production photographs are Courtesy: Rainbow Films and Tommy Lightfoot Garrett and Cathy Arden by Anya Doren Kaats
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