Clockwise from bottom left: John S. Davies, <span>Mary Lang,&nbsp;</span>Gene Raye Price and Irene (the dog) in \"The Last Romance\"

Review: The Last Romance | One Thirty Productions | Bath House Cultural Center

At Long Last

At the Bath House Cultural Center, One Thirty Productions does right by the sweet, touching The Last Romance by Joe DiPietro.

published Friday, March 16, 2012

The season opener at One Thirty productions is touching, funny and warm-hearted. And how could The Last Romance be otherwise? It was written by Joe DiPietro, co-author of the hit musical I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, whose 2000-2003 marathon at Theatre Three made it the longest running live theater production in Dallas history (they still revive it every year).

Although Last Romance is not a musical, it does feature singing. The male lead is an opera fan, and we hear various arias. The music lover is Ralph, a lusty octogenarian living a bit too quietly in Hoboken. For no particular reason, he takes a new route on his daily walk and spots Carol. Ralph is of Italian descent, so you could say he was struck by the Thunderbolt.

Ralph and Carol begin a tentative sort-of courtship, to the dismay of Rose, Ralph's sister who has lived with him since his wife died 12 years earlier. Things progress with sweet predictability until DiPietro springs the first of several traps. The delicious twists are half the fun of Last Romance.

The other half is the uniform excellence of director Larry Randolph's cast. John Davies and Gene Raye Price belong to an elite squad of regional actors whose mere names sell tickets.

Davies endows Ralph with an authentic Joisy brogue and a sentimental soul. You like this guy, and you want him to find love. Price plays Carol like a fine fiddle, merging from feigned indignation at Ralph's first approach to awkward shyness to...well, let's not telegraph any twists.

Mary Lang, as Rose, creates a garden variety shrew in the early scenes. But Rose opens up in the second act, and Lang takes full advantage of the opportunity. Her anguished reading of a letter from her long-estranged husband is a brilliant piece of writing and character creation. And her scenes with Davies, ranging from thunderously angry to quiet and sisterly, are strong moments for both actors.

Tall, handsome and opera-schooled Will Whitmire provides the arias (a cappella, no less) that are sprinkled strategically throughout the action. He is particularly good in the scene in which he plays Ralph as a young man auditioning for the Metropolitan Opera.

So it's a pretty good theatrical package, right? But, wait, there's even a little dog in the cast. Her name is Irene, and she portrays a pooch named Peaches.

Cute? No, beyond cute. Positively awww-inspiring.

  Thanks For Reading

Dates, Prices, & Other Details

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
At Long Last
At the Bath House Cultural Center, One Thirty Productions does right by the sweet, touching The Last Romance by Joe DiPietro.
by Perry Stewart

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :