Thespian Thoughts review of “Wait Until Dark” at Lonny Chapman Theatre

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“Wait Until Dark” for an enjoyable evening of theater

The Group Repertory Company’s version of “Wait Until Dark” showing at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood, California, was a masterful suspense thriller. “Wait Until Dark” by Frederick Knott is a 45-year-old Broadway hit and the Group Repertory Company held true to the time honored tradition of this play.

Robert Gallo and Liza de Weerd

David Colwell, Director of this suspense thriller, and his crew did a masterful job. All elements came together–from set design, to sound, music, lighting, and casting. Before the play even began I settled into the world due to the detailed set, and before any words were spoken a suspenseful but playful ambiance was created with music and lighting. The moment before was established beautifully with a well selected music cue that got that accompanied the actors’ entrances, got everyone’s attention, and set the mood of the play.

The first scene could run a bit more smoothly, but the rest of play just flew by. The players were well cast and each stepped into their characters flawlessly. It was easy to be engrossed and get caught up in the suspense. The ladies in the cast stood out and the men supported them nicely.

Liza de Weerd did a marvelous job playing Susy, the blind woman who is the target of three ex-cons attempting to retrieve a doll stuffed with drugs. Liza was captivating and believable every step of the way, and the audience rose to their feet in a standing ovation at curtain call.

Lisa de Weerd and Kaylena Rose Mann

Another crowd favorite was the youngest member of the cast, Kaylena Rose Mann. Her great presence and commitment to playing the bratty but helpful neighbor got lots of cheers from the audience.

Chris Winfield, who did a marvelous job designing the set also played Mike Talman. Both him and Bert Emmett who plays Suzy’s husband supported Liza’s performance nicely. Leo Weltman was humorous as Sergeant Carlino, and Robert Gallo playing Harrry Roat had a few hiccups opening night, but will surely deliver the remaining performances.

It was an enjoyable evening of theater and a must see especially for those who have never watched a production of this long-time Broadway favorite “Wait Until Dark.”

“Wait Until Dark” playing at the Lonny Chapman Theater in North Hollywood until May 8.

Liza de Weerd – Susy Hendrix
Bert Emmett – Sam Hendrix
Robert Gallo – Harry Roat
Kaylena Mann – Gloria
Leo Weltman – Sgt. Carlino
Christopher Winfield – Mike Talman
Matias Ponce – Policeman #1
Jeff Warren – Policeman #2

Writer: Frederick Knott
Director: David Colwell
Assistant Director: Luise Heath
Fight Choreographer: Payson Burt
Scenic Design: Chris Winfield
Lighting Design: Tim Christianson
Sound Design: Steve Shaw
Costume Design: Diana Martin
Stage Manager: J.C. Gafford
Assistant Stage Manager: Jimmy Ogburn
Lighting Board Operator: Jazmin Lopez
Public Relations: Nora Feldman
Graphic Design: Doug Haverty
Program: Kady Douglas
Producer: Richard Alan Woody

April 1 – May 8, 2011
Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm
Sunday Matinees at 2pm

Lonny Chapman Theater
10900 Burbank Boulevard
North Hollywood 91601

General Admission: $22     Seniors/Students:  $17    Groups:  $15

WEBSITE & CONTACT: or (818) 700-48er

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