"Betty's Summer Vacation" is one trip she'll never forget and a show I'll remember forever! On Saturday, July 16, 2011, I took my own trip out to Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY (about 1/2 hour from East Hampton) to see their production of Christopher Durang's "Betty's Summer Vacation." This hilarious and darkly humorous show made for quite an enjoyable afternoon!
Touching on many tough subjects, this impeccable cast found a way to bring Christopher's writing and Trip Cullman's direction to life with much laughter! They helped open my mind and allow me to laugh at subjects that I would normally find horrific or unimaginable. To me, this is the sign of a great piece of work and performers who know their craft.
Easing its way into the darkness and finishing with the light blazing, "Betty's Summer Vacation" takes the audience through a 24-hour period of events that would make the headlines of every newspaper. The cast's chemistry to perfect, playing well together! Each cast member gets their moment to shine. This show is a great vehicle for Tony Award Nominee Veanne Cox, who was most recently seen in the Broadway revival of "La Cage Aux Folles," for it allows her to really show off her strong comedic timing and talent as "Mrs. Siezmagraff," the owner of the summer home "Betty" comes to for vacation. Everytime Veanne is on stage, I found myself laughing while wondering, how could her character think the thoughts she is thinking. Fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant and Tony Award Nominee Bobby Steggert triumphs as "Keith," the creepy/socially awkward mystery man sharing the house for the summer. Bobby showcases his very serious side in this role, one that I have not seen previously. Upcoming participant and Tony Award Nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger was perfectly cast as "Trudy," as she demonstrates her strong acting skills, switching between comedy and serious acting, sometimes on the flip of a dime. Heidi Schreck, who plays "Betty" delights the audience with her mixture of comedy and fear, while Tom Riis Farrell does a great job of portraying "Mr. Vanislaw," the disturbing man "Mrs. Siezmagraff" invites over. John Behlmann embodies the hunky, horny, and slightly aloof "Buck" who comes to the summer home, hoping to score big time. If John keeps his comedy skills going, I see a bright future ahead for him. Many times, he reminded me of Cheyenne Jackson. Jacob Hoffman, Kate O'Phalen, and Tim Intravia who portray "Voice 1," "Voice 2," and "Voice 3" respectively, all did a phenomenal job with their synchronized laughter, comments, and movements!
"Betty's Summer Vacation" is one I would take again. As dark as the humor is, Christopher, Trip, and this amazing cast have really found a way to make "Betty's Summer Vacation" laughable and enjoyable!