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ANOTHER ROLE OF DICE
Entertaining and Funny

By Iride Aparicio

Photos Courtesy: The TABARD THEATRE COMPANY

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CINDY WEISBERG who represented Zelma, Deborah Weems, Policeman,  Valeria Scarwater, and Mitzi Two-Shoes.

SAN JOSÉ, CA – Those who enjoy stories of Gangsters and Dolls (as the Gangsters in the l950’s  Hollywood’s movies called their girls) will roll with laughter watching the antics of the outlaws in the cast of ANOTHER ROLL of the DICE at The TABARD THEATRE COMPANY.

Interesting to add, is that ANOTHER ROLL of the DICE is Based on the short stories written by DAMON RUNYON (l880-l946) an American newspaper man best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the prohibition era. Seventy two years after his death, RUNYON continues delighting audiences with his fictitious characters  of  Sarah Brown, Nathan Detroit, Sky Masterson, and Nicely, Nicely in the musical Guys and Dolls, (With book written by JO SWERLING and ABE BURROWS) loosely based in “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” and “Blood Pressure,” two of his  short stories  

Like Guys and Dolls, ANOTHER ROLL of the DICE uses gangsters and their “Dolls” as characters. The script of the musical is well acted, and the Music and Lyrics by FRANK LOESSER (and HOAGY CARMICHAEL, FREDERICK HOLLANDER, BURTON LANE, JIMMY McHUGH, and VICTOR YOUNG) are well interpreted by the musicians SAMUEL CISNEROS (Keyboard) CHRISTINE LOVEJOY (Drums) and RON BOWMAN (reeds) and sound exquisite in the quality voices of the singers. The  show is entertaining and funny.(Pictured below is SUSAN TONKIN who represented Snooksy Perkle, Georgia St. George, Fiona Fitch, Amelia Bodkin, Baseball Hattie)
image013.jpgIn her last characterization, TONKIN who had previously represented the roles of a Cabaret’s singer, plays a comic woman appropriately named “Baseball Hattie” who loves baseball and. logically, falls in love with a baseball player, But when another woman takes her man, she, accidentally, shots him in the shoulder ending his career. Years later, however, in a baseball field, we observe that Hattie had replaced her husband with her son, who is playing baseball.

This comic skit is one of the short skits of the musical. This one is a simple one, but others are more difficult to understand. The reason is that MARK SALZMAN who wrote  the book, for ANOTHER ROLE of the DICE, that he first presented in a workshop at the Pasadena Playhouse, and then in the Big Horn Mountains for the Wyoming Festival, tells several stories as part of the musical. All of them charming, and all having gangsters as the main characters.

So, in some skits inside Mindy’s Delicatessen, we often see a group of gangsters drinking and eating as they plan their next hit: With the “Head” of the group selecting which one of them is going to do the hitting, who is going to drive the get-away car this time, and which woman will they use  to distract the guards at the  bank.

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L-to-R Aaron Weisber, Christopher Pynchon, and Gregg Zigler

As we mentioned before,  ANOTHER ROLL of the DICE, the musical, is based on RUNYON’s short stories, but while writing the book for Guys and Dolls, SWERLING AND BURROWS combined only two stories, in writing his book for ANOTHER ROLL of the DICE, playwright SALZMAN selected about five of them, so he needed a large cast because each story required a different set, and different characters.

Producer CATHY SPIELBERGER CASSETTA solved the casting problem, and under the Direction of KEVIN KIRBY, THE TABARD THEATRE  agree to present  the musical using six actors, acting multiple roles. The main actors are:

CINDY WEISBERG played the roles of  Zelma, Deborah Weems, a Policeman, Valeria Scarwater, and Mitzi Two Shoes. 

GREGG ZIGLER, who represent Moose Moran, Monotone Milano, Jack Swanko, Jabez Thursday, and Band Crooner. 

AaRON WEISBERG who represents Sammy the Shirt, Joey Uptown, Charlie, Conductor, Hair-and-Markel up, Haystack Duggler.

CHRISTOPHER PYNCHON, who represents Speed Girlroy, Tobias Tweeny, Pittsburgh, Dresser and Armond Fitch.

SUSAN TONKIN who represents Snooksy Perkle, Georgia St. George, Fiona Fitch, Amelia Bodkin, and Baseball Hattie.

MICHAEL HIRSCH, representing Ledge Dugan, Duncan, Announcer, Lt Delvaney and Phillies Fan.

This casting caused a problem. because since there are many skits, in SALTZMAN’s  book, and they move at a fast pace, and some of them do not  have a clearly-defined  beginning, middle or end, and the characters are different, some of the characters  mesh in the minds of the audience. We can no longer decide which one is this one.

The  problem could easily be solved if, in future productions of ANOTHER ROLL of the DICE, the ushers distribute to the audience  a printed sheet of paper  with a list of  every one of  the characters in the musical, by name, followed by a little explanation of who they are. I believe that if the audience reads this, it will be easy for them to remember the characters and the different skits in the musical. Thus, making what it is now and entertaining production, perfect.  

ANOTHER ROLL of the DICE will be presented at the TABARD THEATRE 29 N. San Pedro Street – Downtown San Jose, until October 7 for tickets and information call 408 679-2330