News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 27, 2013

RONN MOTT: Entertaining night at the theater

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — I got myself to the Indiana State University Theatre the other night to see “Suds.” It’s the repertory theater.

Suds takes place in a Laundromat … no particular place, but the timeline is the early 1960s. Three ladies and one malleable actor tell the story of “Cindy” and her birthday that doesn’t quite get right, even with celestial help.  

It is not easy to create a play wrapped around songs written for other purposes, but Melinda Gilb, Steven Gunderson and Bryan Scott have done exactly that. They didn’t try to write something to fit the San Francisco Opera House, but what they did write was funny and entertaining. And the songs were dragged out of your memory bank and everybody at the theater enjoyed it. I certainly did.

Cindy was performed and sung by Carolyn Conover with a voice I think would have fit Rogers and Hart better than the Marvellettes. Dee Dee, an alive-and-breathing animated Barbie doll, was Caitlin Jeannie Boho. The other female was Cathy Sponsler who played the angel that knew more, was not lost in her job and could belt out a good song.  

Aah, the best goes to Graham Emmons because Graham played all of the male parts. He did this without heavy make-up and just costume changes to depict the character he was portraying. He would, on stage and in front of all of us, portray six different people in an attempt to keep up with the girls of heartbreak and slight insanity. I hope this is being read in time for you to see Suds because it was excellent to watch and listen to.  

This writer, broadcaster, disc jockey (pick a title), ended last Sunday’s performance with a talk about radio, the music of this era, and all the insanity I worked my way through in this thing I call a career.

I don’t know if I would call “Suds” a must-see, but it was delightful … an excellent cast and truly entertaining.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.