Imagine if the most famous of shipwrecked sailors, Viola, were not washed ashore but rather picked up by the SS Illyria, owned by Count Orsino. She seeks ‘Someone to watch over me’ through a Jazz Age collection of white-uniformed stewards, broken-hearted pianists, and the gin-soaked carousers who party day and night throughout an elegant yacht.
Olivia, in mourning for her brother, wears men’s clothes and shuns the attentions of Orsino, even when he drops to one knee and croons ‘Oh, lady be good…to me.’ Life feels like one long party on the SS Illyria, except for the star-crossed and cross-dressed lovers, who yearn for each other through the songs of Gershwin and Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Noel Coward.
Feste, a sophisticated pianist/composer in the style of Oscar Levant, yearns for Olivia and ‘plays her fool,’ most melodically. Malvolio, still clinging to the manners and music of an earlier, less swinging time, expresses his yearning with a Sigmund Romberg song, ‘Wanting You.’ Toby Belch and Andrew Aguecheek tweak Malvolio with a rendition of ‘Toot-toot-tootsie, Goodbye’.
When all is resolved, and several happy pairs are united, the entire cast reminds us that ‘’S Wonderful s’Marvelous……….’
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