But who knew, for instance, that Maggie Birgel (whom I’ve only seen before in straight plays like Synchronicity’s “Strait of Gibraltar” or Stage Door’s “Last Night of Ballyhoo”) might be so well-versed at comedy—let alone singing and dancing, to boot—as the dumb-blonde moll of a gangster who finances the show-within this show, on the condition that she gets a plum role?
There are plenty of backstage and behind-the-scenes in-jokes sprinkled throughout “Bullets Over Broadway” about the ups and downs and highs and lows involved in mounting that parallel production of “Gods of Our Fathers.” While Peacock’s protagonist struggles to resist “compromise” in favor of preserving his artistic integrity, he soon realizes that the henchman who’s assigned to keep an eye on the mob boss’ ditzy girlfriend is possibly a better writer.
He’s pleasantly played by Hayden Rowe (breaking out from smaller chorus roles in Atlanta Lyric’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Wedding Singer”). Also of note in other supporting parts: Megan Wheeler sweetly portrays Peacock’s easygoing love interest; newcomer Blake Fountain is funny, albeit too young, as an over-the-hill, down-on-his-luck actor; and, in the rather unimpressive selection of “Yes, We Have No Bananas” as the splashy finale of the show, veteran character actress LaLa Cochran singularly distinguishes it with a memorable pig-Latin refrain.
For all of Allen’s bullet points (so to speak) about “tepid cardboard figures,” or about “not pandering to a commercial Broadway audience,” “Bullets Over Broadway” may have little room to talk (or sing)—but at least Donadio and company give it all they’ve got, with gusto to spare.
“Bullets Over Broadway”
Through April 28. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 4 p.m. Saturdays; 4 p.m. Sunday (April 21); 2:30 p.m. Sunday (April 28). $33-$52. Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. 770-641-1260. get.org.
Bottom line: Old hat, but exuberantly packaged.