|Lawrence Jameson||Mike Febbo|
|Freddy Benson||James Nester|
|Christine Colgate||E. Nicole Spadafino|
|Muriel Eubanks||Nori Morton|
|Andre Thibault||Nick Englesson|
|Jolene Oakes||Greta Kleckner|
|Music Director||Larry Bachtell|
|State Manager||Terri Yankus|
|Set Construction||Tom & Pam Stiegerwalt|
|Lighting Design||Dan Lewis|
It's no con: You'll have fun at 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'
By Dave Howell, Special to The Morning Call
"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" was a 1998 film starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine which inspired the lesser known musical that opened on Broadway in 2005. Whether you have seen the film or not, you will enjoy the lively and fun production now on stage at Bethlehem's Pennsylvania Playhouse.
"Scoundrels" takes place on the French Rivera. It recounts the adventures of two con men, the suave professional Lawrence Jameson (Mike Febbo) and disheveled Freddy Benson (James Nester). In an improbable plot twist (a staple of all con man stories), Jameson decides to take on Freddy as an apprentice.
Jameson specializes in charming rich women. However, he is too successful with Oklahoma-based Jolene Oaks (Greta Kleckner), who wants to marry him and take him home. Freddy gets Jameson off the hook in a funny scene where he pretends to be his insane brother to frighten off Jolene.
Despite their success, the two argue, which leads to a contest to see who can get money from their next victim, Christine Colgate (E. Nicole Spadafino). From here, things get convoluted, as they should in this type of tale.
There are no spectacular songs here, but many of them are quite funny, with a bit of off-color humor which should not offend anyone. It helps that in this show, every cast member is a fine singer. And the acting is just as good.
Febbo is more American than continental, but he is perfectly charming both outwardly and inwardly. The latter comes to the forefront as he develops feelings for one of his targets. In his first time at the Playhouse, Nester is a wonder. His goofiness is more Jim Carrey than Steve Martin, with high-energy craziness that makes Freddy endearing despite his dirty rottenness. And Spadafino, another Playhouse first timer, plays her good girl with lots of spirit and warmth.
Nori Morton as Muriel and Nick Englesson as Andre are delightful in a romantic subplot with one of Jameson's former conquests and his friend, who is the chief of police.
This nearly three-hour show, directed by Chip Rohrbach, will con you if you don't know the story and steal your attention even if you do, but it will not cheat you out of an enjoyable evening.