Weathervane's 'Scoundrels' a hilarious, irreverent romp

by April Helms | Special Products Editor Published:

Two competing con men.

A naive heiress. The French Riviera.

These are the elements that combine for nearly constant hilarity in Weathervane Playhouse's final show of the season, the musical "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

The musical, with music and lyrics by David Yazbeck and book by Jeffrey Lane, is directed and choreographed by Jim Weaver, with musical direction by John Ebner. It is based on the 1988 movie with Steve Martin and Michael Caine.

Although the musical is based off of a movie screened more than 20 years ago, there are many current-day nods and references, and at least one political jab that received more than a few snickers from the opening night audience June 6.

In the show, Lawrence Jameson (played by Patrick Michael Dukeman) is an experienced and sophisticated con man whose game is purloining the wealth of older women, usually by claiming he's royalty. He crosses paths with Freddy Benson (played by Adam Vigneault), another con man, who is as crass and rough as Lawrence is smooth and polished.

After witnessing Lawrence at work, Freddy begs the older gentleman to take him on as an apprentice. Lawrence, who is looking for a bit of a challenge, takes on the Pygmalion-esque project (even quoting from George Bernard Shaw's play). However, their cooperation is brief, and the two decide that there's only room for one con man in town. They make a bet: whomever can swindle $50,000 from a woman wins and can stay, the other must leave.

Their chosen target is Christine Colgate (played by Amanda Davis), who is known as the Soap Queen, who is vacationing at the French Riviera at the time. Colgate, who is impossibly sweet, naive and klutzy, seems to be the perfect target as Lawrence and Freddy try to out-con each other as well as the heiress.

The play ends with a twist neither con man sees coming.

Also featured in the play are Meg Hopp as the wealthy Muriel Eubanks, Kyla Williger as the hilarious Jolene Oakes, and Daniel Colaner as Lawrence's friend and "manager" Andre Thibault.

Also deserving recognition are the staff and volunteers who worked on the many impressive set pieces and costumes.

"My assistant Kathy and all of our volunteers helped out," said Alan Scott Ferrall, scenic designer and Cuyahoga Falls resident after the opening night show. "We were painting until about 5 this afternoon. This is bigger than we usually do. There are more locations. This was a musical based on a movie, so it changed locations more."

Vigneault said the show was hard work, but fun to do.

"I lost about 10 pounds just running around," he said. "There are so many characters I have to pull from one character. But it's been a lot of fun to do. It's been wonderful working with my fiance, Mandy (Davis, who plays Christine). Mandy and I have done shows together, but we've never worked across from each other."

Ticket and show information

"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" can be seen through June 29. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.

For performances after June 5, $21 tickets for seniors are available for Thursday and Sunday performances. Tickets for children (ages 17 or younger) and college students are $7.50 each at all performances. Additional discounts for groups of 10 or larger are also available.

The Weathervane Playhouse box office is open Mondays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and is also open beginning one hour before each performance. For tickets, visit or call the box office at 330-836-2626 or visit www.weathervaneplayhouse.com.

Weathervane Lane is at 1301 Weathervane Lane in Akron.

Upcoming events

Weathervane will have its 2014 8X10 TheatreFest July 11 through 13.

The theater will stage "The Wizard of Oz" July 25 through Aug. 10 as a part of Weathervane's Young Actor series.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438

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