The '20s come gently roaring back

Save Me the Waltz

By Enrico Garzilli
Directed by Robert Kreis
13th Street Repertory Company
Non-union production (closed)
Review by Elias Stimac

Save Me the Waltz was billed as "a musical play about the jazz age days in the 1920s with writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda." Producer Edith O'Hara (who is also Artistic Director of the 13th Street Repertory Company) and her group crafted a warm and winning valentine to not only these literary figures but to the simpler times that they represent.

The personal and professional lives of the Fitzgeralds and the fellow expatriates back in the 1920s are both dramatic and traumatic. The rich and the famous mingle and mix together, yet they never seem to be happy despite their privileged status.

Although Prohibition has made alcohol illegal, the booze still flows and clouds the hearts and minds of all who consume it. And the romantic antics are also out of control during this era. In Zelda's case, she is torn between her brooding, distant husband and an eager, amorous suitor. But many of their friends also seem to have a roving eye as well.

Enrico Garzilli wrote the evocative book, music, and lyrics, peppering his emotionally charged plot with gentle ballads and lively group numbers. Director Robert Kreis staged each scene with a sweet simplicity and a sure hand. Choreography by Lorena B. Egan utilized period movement and was energetically performed and enjoyable to watch. The accompaniment by pianist Heather Edwards was spirited and strong.

The actors bond together to form a tight-knit ensemble, and effortlessly recreated the era with an ease and grace that take viewers back in time. Tim Spanjer and Kristen Hammer stood out as the central couple who are constantly engaged in a battle of psychological wits. The cast also featured Hella Bel, Kristian Leavy, Ken Rothstein, Phyllis Sanfiorenzo, George Bernard Carroll, Jr., Tom Harlan, Jeremy Rosen, Louisa Poster, Marie Bedford, Sarah Goldberg, Lisa Marie McGowan, Marc Seidenstein, Andrea Rose Tonsfeldt, Pamela Szalavetz, and Michelle Yuhasz.

Tom Harlan provided the classic-looking costumes and economic set design, bathed in subtle hues by lighting designer Brian Hamill.

  Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 1
Performance: 2
Set: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2004 Elias Stimac