Walking into the Geffen Playhouse theatre, I admired how lighting designer Josh Epstein draped an array of jewel colored string lights from the stage out into the side walls of the theatre, creating an ambiance of a dive bar or nightclub. Above the center stage is a framework of lighting trusses with red rope lights, cans and little bulbs. Beer neon signs hang on the back wall.
Scenic designer Donyale Werle is clever in creating three locations all on one set. Off to the side is a run down dressing room and a handsomely shirtless Casey, played by the extremely talented Andrew Burnap, getting ready to become a hip twisting Elvis impersonator. On a good night, Casey has 7 guests watching him perform in a tight white jumpsuit with silver sparkles. That’s not enough for good ol’ boy bar owner Eddie, played by Nick Searcy. Soon after he welcomes the crowd to Cleo’s in Panama City, Florida, we are taken to Casey and wife Jo’s apartment. With a negative bank balance, late rent due and wife Jo, played by Juilliard trained Nija Okoro, announcing she is pregnant, Casey has faith that everything will work out. “We are going to be the best parents since Joseph and Mary,” Casey says. “Yeah, but then their kid died,” Jo snaps back. While he is optimistic, Jo worries about their future. Epstein’s lighting helps differentiate each scene and location.
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