By Kimberly Ortiz
Following a hilarious sequence of twists, the original play Oh Baby recieved its premiere at the Spitz Theater over the weekend of March 4. Written, directed and produced by senior theater performance major Mark De la Rosa, this play about family secrets had audiences laughing.
With a small cast of seven, and the incorporation of a music director, sophomore musical theater major Matt Sweeney, the production successfully showcased each actor.
The show opened with senior theater performance major Mary Mechalakos and freshman musical theater major Lancelot Douglas, as married couple Mary and Hugh Jacoque, breaking into the house of married couple Hank and Wilma Cash. With live-action robbery schemes and skilled trickery, the couple’s yelling and bantering seemed realistic enough to believe that they, in fact, were committing a crime, especially when Mechalakos got away with knocking out sophomore theater studies major Matthew Woodside as Hank Cash to steal what they would soon find out to be the Cashes’ son, Johnny.
Although the production was a play, the incorporation of popular songs including “Cherry Pie,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Strangers Like Me” fit perfectly to emphasize certain aspects of the scenes. The music filled the non-speaking space to portray the growth of Johnny, played by freshman musical theater major Jack Gerhard.
As Johnny gets older, the Jacoques leave their urban city home to raise their son in a family-friendly neighborhood, with hopes of leaving their previous crime-filled life behind. However, their new life soon takes a turn for the worse as they realize that their new neighbors are in fact Hank and Wilma Cash. Sophomore musical theater major Jenna Atkinson successfully portrayed Wilma as a Jessica Rabbit-style character mixed with innocent housewife, which allowed for the perfect trap when both families later meet for dinner in the show.
One character who stood out was Blair, Hank and Wilma’s daughter, played by sophomore theater performance major Mary Foster. Foster’s adorable romantic chemistry with Gerhard brought hope for anyone looking to fall in love the old-fashioned way. However, after meeting each other, the two teens are constantly interrupted by Johnny’s parents, who know the secret behind Johnny’s relation to Blair.
With a plan to hide their secret of kidnapping Johnny, both Mary and Hugh hilariously distract the couple by pretending to persuade the opposite sex with alcohol. However, things get complicated when Blair and Johnny overhear Mary revealing that Johnny was stolen from the Cash family, making the couple siblings. After just making love to each other, the pair is in utter shock at the news and proceed into a major state of panic, with high screams and worried actions.
Through a series of fights, musical interludes and hilarious reactions, the truth about Johnny’s real parents is revealed, sending each character into a state of shock and the audience into laughter in the way the situation was presented.
De la Rosa did an excellent job in revealing a serious secret in a comedic way, along with the extra secret that Johnny was originally adopted by the Cash family. In the end, this news allows Johnny and Blair to progress into the real relationship that they had hoped for.
Although the story itself follows a series of twists and turns, the overall production was performed in a way that could have easily been transferred to mainstage. Student-run production or not, De La Rosa’s talent is certainly one to keep and eye on.
Printed in the 3/9/16 edition.