Chagrin Valley Little Theatre is not so little anymore. The present production of THE LAST ROMANCE by Joe DiPietro is produced at the River Street Playhouse, right next door to the main theatre. Voila, a theatre complex right beside the falls. The play is very funny and will be a delight for an older crowd, because it treats the mature characters as alive and capable of love. No retirement homes here, just great comedic gold from area veterans that prove that picking up chicks is not just for the young. But this journey also includes issues of family, trust and the heartbreaking reality of life as we age gracefully with our partner, or without.
This is the story of Ralph (CVLT vet Don Edelman), a widower in his senior years, who spots the slightly younger Carol (Mary Jane Nottage) walking her Chihuahua, Diesel, at the local dog park. Impressed with the elegant and distant woman, Ralph decides to take a chance on love one more time by pursuing her. His lonely sister and caretaker, Rose (Margo Parker), does not approve. Carol isn’t particularly interested in Ralph at first, but they soon bond as Ralph tells her about his missed chance to sing for the Metropolitan Opera (with vocalist Andrew Kondik appearing as young Ralph), and Carol tells of her romance–however, leaving out an important part. There are secrets to be revealed about both of them…will their relationship blossom? THE LAST ROMANCE is a heartwarming comedy about life, loss, and the transformative power of love.
Cindee Catalano-Edelman does a fine job as a first time director. She is blessed with three veteran actors, and a young up and coming vocalist blessed with a beautiful voice.
The main actors in this production are a treasure chest of bravado. Don Edelman is a delight as Ralph. A gifted actor, he is smooth as silk as he navigates meeting a new woman who spikes his interest, while cleverly peeling away the wall built up around his love interest. Parker makes Rose a lovable sisterly curmudgeon with gruff and realistic emotion when necessary. She is a blast when taking control of the situation and “telling it like it is.” Nottage is radiant as Carol, delivering a funny, confident layered performance. Watching her take on her potential suitor, his over protective sister and her own truth is a delight. Kondik, described only as “Young Man,” performs his opera vignettes with confidence and a clear and confident voice. And, belting out opera at 2 in the afternoon should be worth applause as well, which he received throughout the performance.
Special shout out to Peaches, the dog playing Diesel, who was incredibly behaved and cute as all get out.
Technical elements were great for an intimate space. Stage Manager Karen Paktinat called a great show. Light and Sound design James Barron adding just the right amount of atmosphere and barks. Candy Clemson and Marge Zellmer create a cozy bench habitat. Edmond Wolff does a great job of pulling it all together as Tech Director.
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$12 General Admission
Chagrin Valley Little Theatre
40 River Street
Cahgrin Falls, OH 44022