Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman
aka “The Howard”
Production: Honky Tonk Laundry
Theater: Seven Angels Theater
Written by: Roger Bean
Director: Russell Garrett
The Howard’s Exhale – “HTL – Its a wild wet, tumble dry country jamboree.
Yee Haw! Calling all you country Cow-folks and Little buckaroos – Nashville comes to Waterbury as Seven Angels Theater presents, for their 29th season – a fun, fast, Boot Scootin’ Boogie of a great time with their production of “Honky Tonk Laundry”. Written by Roger Bean, famous for his “Juke Box” style, utilizing established music intertwined into a story, such as – “The Marvelous Wonderettes”, “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”, and “That’s Amore”, directed by Russell Garrett, and featuring an amazing technicolor laundry set by Scenic Designer Carl Tallent, and starring two absolutely gifted, not to be missed triple treats – Actors, singers, dancers- Caryln Connelly and Laura Hodos – they are dazzling and wow can they yodel – Yee Haw!
Firstly, I have just come from a matinee performance of “Honky Tonk Laundry” – it was jam-packed and a good time was had by all at the 7A, but let me tell you I made a terrible mistake today. Hand to the sky, I promise I will never never ever wear a red shirt to a theater opening again – as they say “Nothing attracts attention like red” and when those duo country divas saw me in the audience from up on stage – oy vey! “Look, it’s Santa Claus in red with the white beard”, pointed out that cutie patootie Laura Hodos, in her character of Katie Lane, as she made me her defacto ex beau and gave me the “V to the eyes” – I’m watching YOU throughout the performance. Well Miss Hodos, I throughly enjoyed your “V” anointment – and you were adorable – and I watched YOU “V” throughout as well. At one point in the production, one lucky guy had the great opportunity to be chosen to dance with Laura, but alas not me. So there is some audience participation- guys with beards watch out!! BTW- As many of you know, for the last several years I have been the official Saint Nick” for the City of Hartford – Miss Hodos do you have ESP?
“Honky Tonk Laundry” is basically two shows in one, first where we meet our two country “Connie and Carla’s” – you know Show tunes, dinner and a story – here it’s country tunes, Laundry Soap and a tale. The tale? Intro one Miss Lana Mae Hopkins, (Carolyn Connolly) the wisecracking owner of the “Wishy Washy Washateria” located in “Small Town Tennessee, who dreams about becoming a country singer – her one constant besides laundry soap and stains is her ever-cheating, eagle emblazoned BVD wearing, who is he in bed with now husband. Walking into her life in need of a job and a donut jam wash and soak, is that cutie patootie we already talked about – Katie Lane Murphy (Laura Hodos), who is still in love with her ex-boyfriend or maybe Saint Nick. Please note both our C & C’s have two first names – that’s how “you know they are from the south”. Yes- both are going through a tough patch with their men, we know the tale, now hear the country – throughout their man-troubles we hear such standard’s including “Stand By Your Man”, “These Boots Were Made For Walkin’” and “Jezebel”.
As they say “let’s put another nickel in – in the Nickelodeon – all I want is music music music”- It’s in the second half of HTL where the production truly kicks into high gear with “Wishy Washy” now transformed into the “Honky Tonk Laundry” ie – a mini Grand ‘ol Opry with each gal in their best bib and tucker, donning Western hats, boots and denim skirts, having the opportunity to sing their hearts out to a grateful audience. Lana Mae provides a “Loretta Lynn-esque” – tone “I remember Mama – she told me this or that” accompanied by such tunes including; “Born to Fly”, “Wide Open Spaces” and “Smile”. Katie Lane not only brilliantly belts out Dolly Parton’s “Potential New Boyfriend” superbly but throws out several “V’s” to one particular audience member! The Grand ‘Ole Laundry Medley is a “Fine as Cream Gravy” moment as our duo transform into various country legends including, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Miss Connolly and Miss Hodos provide us serious country music that we are still raving about! Miss Connolly’s vocal tones sway and swell – impressively. As you can imagine, the coveted “Howard Noticed You Award” is graciously provided to the extraordinary Laura Hodos- we thank you for your captivating, comical and country-fine performance and lastly “V” right back at cha!! Friends, it’s a Gran Ole time at the Grand Seven Angels. Enjoy!
“Honky Tonk Laundry” is currently being produced at Seven Angels Theater. For tickets call the box office at 203-757-4676, online at SevenAngelsTheatre.org, or at the box office at 1 Plank Road, Waterbury. Free Parking. Just off I-84. GPS directions use: Hamilton Park, Waterbury.
Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.