‘Breaking Up’ a must see

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
Tara Gray, left, as Marge Gelman, and Gina Storrer, as Lois Warner, are among six actors who will bring the Iola Community Theatre musical comedy “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” to life on the Warehouse Theatre stage Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Tickets, at $15 for adults and $10 for students, may be purchased at Sophisticated Rose in downtown Iola.

How much fun can you have in an evening?
For anyone who likes good music, good acting and a tasty dessert, an evening at the Warehouse Theatre, 203 S. Jefferson, is a hand-in-glove fit.
The latest offering of the Iola Community Theatre, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” features a batch of Neil Sedaka songs from the early 1960s. Anyone who lived through those early years of rock ’n’ roll will be tempted to sing along.
The cast, half a dozen strong, features Rev. Jim Rausch as Del Delmonaco, a headlining hunk at a Catskills retreat, Esther’s Paradise Resort. He is full of himself and not a bit adverse to conniving to further his career, which has already reached its highest point.
Decked out in a blond wig, Gina Storrer portrays Lois Warner. With good mastery of a Bronx brogue, she is a little conniving herself, but directs her sympathies to helping her recently jilted girlfriend Marge Gelman, played by Tara Gray.
Marge falls for Del, and thinks he is reciprocating, but it’s just a sham prompted by his thinking her father is prominent in the music industry. Meanwhile, Gabe, portrayed by Bryan Johnson, has eyes for Marge and is willing to pick up the pieces when Marge’s rebound romance crumbles.
The musical comedy has a predictable plot, but that isn’t a negative.
Chanute husband and wife team Mary Jo and Bob Geiger play resort owner Esther and long suffering stand-up comic Harvey, respectively, and steal many a scene.
Storrer is blessed with a beautiful voice, especailly when belting out the Connie Francis standard “Where the Boys Are.” Rausch, Gray and Johnson are also strong vocalists, as are the Geigers.
Backup singers for the many tunes are Barbara Hafer, Dan Johnson, Anthony Lew and Matt Stuckey. Instrumental accompaniment comes from Jan Knewtson, piano, Tom Wheat, bass, Rick Riley, guitar, and Todd Willis, drums.
Kim Strickler, on stage over the years in other ICT productions, stepped behind the scenes to direct. The flow of the show is testimony that Strickler paid careful attention to that backbone phase of theater.
“Breaking Up” requires many interactions with the audience that make direction tricky. Stage design adds to the intricacy: A major portion of the stage rotates several times during the performance.

THE SHOW opened Saturday night. Weekend performances were all but sold out. The final run is Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
Doors open at 6:30 with dessert served shortly thereafter. Delmonaco opens the show with a catchy version of “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” at 7:30.
Tickets, on sale at Sophisticated Rose in downtown Iola, are $15 for adults, $10 for students.