Don Juan (Anthony Cipollo), a handsome, rich nobleman in sixteenth-century Spain, is a thinker and a seeker. interested in finding the meaning of life. He is attended by a more “earthy” servant, Leporello (Tim Schumann), who urges him to find a girlfriend. Worried that a normal life span will not provide enough time to find the answers he seeks, Don Juan calls up a devil, Mephistopheles (Brian Richichi) and cuts a deal; as long as Don Juan seduces a different woman every day, he – and Leporello, unwittingly – are granted immortality. The caveat: he cannot sleep with the same woman more than once. Don Juan’s first conquest is the beautiful Dona Elvira (Cassandra Cain), who turns out to be his true love. Infuriated by Don Juan’s abandonment, Elvira cuts her own deal with the Devil; she won’t die until she sleeps with Don Juan a second time.
Four hundred years later, after numerous missed opportunities, the pair meet in present-day Chicago, where Don Juan has grown weary of endless seductions, and Leporello has not seen his own true love in centuries. In Chicago, on the way to their fateful meeting, Don Juan, Leporello and Elvira encounter Sandy (Lorie Baldwin), Todd (Fran Carroll), Mike (Juan Caceres) and Zoey (Ashley Lora-Lee), and their stories intertwine in surprising ways.
Most impressive about VPH’s production are the performances. Cipollo and Schumann are a standout excellent comic duo; their timing and delivery suggest an ongoing chemistry reminiscent of the glory days of comedy. Equally engaging is Richichi, arguably the funniest demon I’ve ever seen. Cain is a lovely, coquettish and slightly conniving Dona Elvira. Supporting players Baldwin and Carroll, as a squabbling romantic couple, provide entertaining tangential storylines, as do Juan Caceres and Ashley Lora-Lee, who bring sweetness and innocence to their roles as a young couple trying to decide whether to take their relationship to “the next level.”
Director Bob DeMarco has done a terrific job in guiding his cast, resulting in a well-paced and very entertaining production. DON JUAN IN CHICAGO is a very broad comedy, and it would be easy to push the envelope too far; DeMarco and cast strike just the right balance in this very entertaining production.
DON JUAN IN CHICAGO
by David Ives
Directed by Bob DeMarco
June 13-28, 2014
Village Players of Hatboro
401 Jefferson Ave