‘Romance’ in the air at Showbiz Theatre

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From Left to Right: Cast members Jc Costa, Mike Moon, Esther Henderson, R. Isarael Rodriguez, Cindy Braden, David Qualls, Cole Bryant, Mearle Mog and Derick Stoker take a bow after another performance. Photo by Catlan Nguyen
From Left to Right: Cast members Jc Costa, Mike Moon, Esther Henderson, R. Isarael Rodriguez, Cindy Braden, David Qualls, Cole Bryant, Mearle Mog and Derick Stoker take a bow after another performance. Photo by Catlan Nguyen

That’s Showbiz Theatre Company wrapped up “Prelude to a Kiss” by Craig Lucas on Feb. 10.

Directed by Jenna Zepponi Lehman, the play follows Peter and Rita falling so madly in love they decide to get married after six weeks of dating.

Their relationship and lives get turned upside down, however, when Rita seems to have switched bodies with an unknown older man, Mike, at their wedding. Peter struggles to switch them back throughout the rest of the play. 

“It’s one of the simplest plays I’ve ever seen, with the set and the stage and everything but they do so much with it,” said audience member, Stacy Hunt. “It’s all conversation and talking and that’s a lot for an actor to do. It’s different than seeing a whole bunch of props.”

Standout performances included lead actor R. Isarael Rodriguez who played Peter as he never left the stage once. All of his costume changes were executed during fourth-wall breaking monologues and the amount of lines he had to memorize were undoubtedly the most out of anyone in the play.

Another notable actor was Esther Henderson who played Rita because she essentially played two strikingly different characters. When Rita and Mike switch bodies, Henderson perfectly portrayed an older man versus the unsure, young idealistic woman.

“My favorite part of the show was definitely having to do the switch in an instant,” said Henderson. “It was super challenging. It’s definitely the hardest role I have ever had to play.”

Henderson finds a lot of herself in Rita and her strong opinions and desires to change the world, according to Henderson. She also relates to Mike because she’s learned from her experiences like he has throughout his life.

“Another really good part of this was working with Jenna, our director,” said Cole Bryant who played Taylor. “This is her first time ever doing anything on her own and she’s just been a blast to work with. I also really love this cast. We’re all friends, so it really makes things a lot easier.”

The play had a simplistic set that came to life thanks to the help of the lighting crew. 

Nikki Pendley, the lighting designer, played a key role in the play. Changes in lighting colors signaled different settings the characters stumbled upon and time passing. 

Costume Designer, Jenna Key, created realistic ensembles for the characters which fit the overall tone of the play. The entire plot is fairly relatable up until the “Freaky Friday” moment.

“Prelude to a Kiss” gets a thumbs up from me because the actors and crew brought to life a simple storyline and set and continually captivated each audience member throughout.

The next play That’s Showbiz Theatre Company will host is called “Baby” and  will run March 29 through April 14.