Theater preview: With ‘Living on Love’ at the 2nd Space Theatre, Good Company is out to make you smile
Sometimes you just need a farce.
In trying times, it’s nice to know that the newest title from Good Company Players is about people whose lives are probably crazier than yours. “Living on Love” is fresh from Broadway – it opened in 2015 – and was a big deal because opera great Renee Fleming played the leading role. The character just happens to be an opera diva (of course). Here’s a rundown on the show, now at the 2nd Space Theatre in its opening weekend:
The other half of the couple: Raquel (the Fleming role), played in Fresno by Renee Newlove, is married to Vito (Patrick Tromborg), a celebrated conductor. This is the ultimate celebrity marriage, with two equally talented and headstrong artists sharing the same household. (On Broadway, the role of Vito was played by Douglas Sills). They are household names, yet the realities of aging mean they’re closer to the end of their careers rather than the beginning. (Which, of course, can be stressful. And amusing.)
The author: Joe DiPietro is known for the musicals “Memphis,” “Diana” and “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”
The era: The play is set in the 1950s. GCP director J. Daniel Herring says you might think of the two leading characters as modeled after Maria Callas and Leonard Bernstein.
The complication: Each one decides to write an autobiography and hires a ghostwriter to help. It just happens that Raquel’s co-author is the young and attractive Robert (Ben Geddert), and Vito’s is the young and attractive Iris (Cassidy LeClair). You can see where this is going.
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The rest of the cast: Ethan Magill and Charis play two butlers who seem cut from the same cloth – and add another level of comic complexity.
The theme: Herring loves the play’s focus on love, but it’s not just about romantic vibes between two people, he says. “Really what is most important in life is that you have things you love and care about. It might be a partner. It might be a career,” he says.
Precautions: Covid is still a mighty challenge for Good Company and other local theater companies. “I rehearsed the understudies more than I usually do,” Herring says.
The run: “Living on Love” plays through Aug. 14.