Written by Dina Morrone
Directed by Peter Flood
Way Up Bay, a remote little town in Ontario, Canada, is the setting for the wonderfully funny and entertaining World Premiere of the new comedy, MOOSE ON THE LOOSE, at Theatre West. Loosely based on true events, Dina Morrone has written a witty, warmhearted story giving us a “moose-eye” view into Italian-American family experiences and traditions.
The Moose (superbly played by Tom Badal) is our moderator, and introduces us to the Tappinos, a large and loving Italian family who immigrated to the U.S. from Calabria, Italy many years ago to make a better life for themselves. Daddy Giuseppe (John Cygan) has now lost his job and is worried that his paternal instincts have been compromised. It’s illegal to kill Moose in Canada, but when a Moose wanders into the Tappinos neighbors’ yard, Giuseppe sets out to prove he is still able to take care of his family…even if it means killing the Moose. I’m not giving anything away here. Of course he doesn’t do it. It wouldn’t be a family play, now would it? But he is arrested, and the entire family goes to the jail to lend its love and support. In the midst of all this, daughter Gina returns to this frozen tundra from her professional career in the big city. She has big news that will bring her back home to Way Up Bay for at least the next year.
The large, well-cast group of actors present funny, thoroughly Italian, and tender performances. Several times during the play, the entire 12 member cast in on stage at one time, and the best part is that we don’t feel like we are watching a play. We feel like a “member” of the family. The OUTSTANDINGLY talented cast is John Cygan as Daddy Giuseppe, Understudy Constance Mellors as Mama Maria, Johnny Ferretti as Bruno, Nick McDow as Joseph, Laura James as Grandma Pina, Jack Kutcher as Grandpa Rodolfo, Dina Morrone as Gina, Corinne Shor as Carmela, Michael Lorre as Darryl, Grant Venable as Timothy, Jemma Bosch as Honabigi and of course Tom Badal as the Moose/Chief. Each member of the ensemble is terrific.
Peter Flood has beautifully and skillfully directed this funny play. Excellent Production Stage Managing by Roger Cruz, Set Design by Jeff G. Rack, Lighting Design by Yancey Dunham, Sound Design by David Johnson and Costume Design by Celina Yun. All excellent!
La Bella Figura (An Italian Way of Life) is the essence of MOOSE ON THE LOOSE. It is fun, funny, and thoroughly enjoyable. We celebrate the Italian immigrant, its tenacity, strength and love. With streams of “Oh Canada” echoing in our ears we – Salute the Moose. Salute the Family. Ciao! Enjoy!!!!!
Cast: Tom Babal, Jemma Bosch, John Cygan, Johnny Ferretti, Mary Garripoli, Laura James, Eric Allen Kramer, Jack Kutcher, Michael Lorre, Nick McDow, Understudy Constance Mellors, Dina Morrone, Corinne Shor and Grant Venable.
Director: Peter Flood
Producers: Stephen E. Rivkin and Zeke Rettman
Production Stage Manager: Roger Cruz
Set Design: Jeff G. Rack
Lighting Design: Yancey Dunham and Maarten Cornelis
Sound Design: David Johnson
Costume Design: Celina Yun
Publicist: Philip Sokoloff
Theatre West Executive Director: John Gallogly
Theatre West 3333 Cahuenga Boulevard West
Hollywood, CA 90068
June 3 – July 10, 2011
Written by NOHO ARTS writer Cathy Wayne