Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"110 in the Shade," but Very Pleasant

Cleveland Press February 2, 1966

Karamu has a system of double and even triple casting many parts. And whoever plays the role of Lizzie in "110 in the Shade" will find it difficult to top the performance of Providence Hollander who handled it on opening night.

The role is one with a range of emotions and Miss Hollander expresses them all. She is a character who figures herself to be a plain Jane and holds that she is destined to be an old maid.

She can't attract a man as she is and she will not resort to feminine wiles to catch one. She is sharp tongued and funny and angry in sudden outbursts and sad in a quiet, tearful way.

That Miss Hollander is enough of an actress to handle all this would seem quite enough. But there is a bonus. She can sing, and quite beautifully too.

"110 in the Shade" is a musical adaptation of "The Rainmaker." The show opened in New York in 1963 and never toured. It has had only one other performance in this area and that was at Musicarnival last summer.

As a musical it is pleasant, but never great. It is that curious breed of musical common to our times, a musical with no outstanding music.

The numbers are all serviceable and good and some even have a pleasant lilt to them. Indeed some of the tunes are quite charming, but they're all rather forgettable.

The show boasts a better play-book than most because it is based on a good play, "The Rainmaker." But its evolution into a musical cuts it down to a skeleton of the original.

Into a western town in the midst of a drout comes Starbuck, the rainmaker, a con man really and a man with dreams.

Lizzie scorns him, then becomes radiant with his attention to her. The transformation is enough to convince the local sheriff that he ought to pay more attention to her.

Starbuck's "Rain Song" is a rousing number with an evangelistic fervor to it. Lizzie has a couple of plaintive numbers -- "Love Don't Turn Away" and "Simple Little Things," a good duet with the sheriff, "A Man and A Woman," and good novelty number, "Raunchy."

The ensemble numbers are well staged and the evening ends with an honest to gosh rainfall.