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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
August 31, 2016 - October 2, 2016
Music and lyrics by David Yazbek
Book by Jeffrey Lane
Two con men, a beautiful woman and the elite of the French Riviera collide in this sexy and irreverent musical.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a Tony Award winning comedy musical, based on the Academy Award winning film. The plot takes us to the French Riviera for high jinks and hilarity. Sophisticated, suave with a good dash of mischief, this hysterical comedy features a delightfully jazzy score by David Yazbek (The Full Monty) and was nominated for a staggering 11 Tony Awards.
Lawrence Jameson makes his lavish living by talking rich ladies out of their money. Freddy Benson more humbly swindles women by waking their compassion with fabricated stories about his grandmother's failing health. After meeting on a train, they attempt to work together only to find that this small French town isn't big enough for the two of them. They agree on a settlement: the first one to extract $50,000 from a young female target, heiress Christine Colgate, wins and the other must leave town. A hilarious battle of cons ensues that will keep you laughing, humming and guessing to the end!
DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, the Tony Award winning comedy musical based on the Academy Award winning film, opens September 2nd at Camelot Theatre. The plot takes us to the French Riviera for high-jinx and hilarity. Sophisticated, suave with a good dash of mischief, this hysterical comedy features a delightfully jazzy score by David Yazbek (The Full Monty) and was nominated for a staggering 11 Tony Awards.
Cast of Characters
Andre - Erny Rosales
Christine - Sabrina Hebert
Croupier/Freddy Understudy/Ensemble - Joey Larimer
Ensemble Understudy - Eric Solis
Freddy - Eoghan McDowell
Gerard/Ensemble - Dylan Spooner
Hotel Manager/Nikos/Andre Understudy/Ensemble - Jake Hastings
Jolene/Sophia/Christine Understudy/Ensemble - Shannon Carter
Lawrence - Erik Connolly
Lawrence Understudy - Peter Wickliffe
Lenore/Ensemble - Carrie Ann Eve
Muriel - Amanda McGee
Renee/Usherette/Ensemble - Jasmin Evans
Directors and Designers
Kayla Garrett - Choreographer
Bart Grady - Lighting Designer
Addie Hall-Kester - Costume Designer
Olivia Harrison - Director
Jeffrey Lane - Writer
Sharon Swingle - Assistant Costume Designer
Brian O’Connor - Sound/Video Designer
Michael Wing - Music Director
David Yazbeck - Composer/Lyricist
Don Zastoupil - Set Designer
Alex Burt - Assistant Stage Manager
Laura Crawford - Light Board Operator
Antonio Cucumo - Assistant Stage Manager/Dresser
Bart Grady - Production Manager
Addie Hall-Kester - Costume Shop Manager
Olivia Harrison Prop - Master/Production Assistant
Bronte Kennedy - Stage Manager
Sierra Milburn - Sound/Video Operator
Steve Sutfin - Photographer
Tickets for DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS range from $18 - $36, and are available by phone at 541.535.5250 or online @ www.CamelotTheatre.org. Rush tickets are available for $18, 10 minutes before performances. Performance times are Sunday matinees at 2pm, and evening performances are Thursday thru Saturday at 8pm.
- Erik Connolly - Lawrence
- Erik Connolly has been seen at Camelot as Che in Evita, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Caleb in The Spitfire Grill. He has also appeared in a number of Camelot Spotlight series productions: Roy Orbison, Simon and Garfunkel, Jerry, Perry, and Dean, Irving Berlin, and Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. His favorite roles in other theaters include Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Frederic in Pirates of Penzance, Georg in She Loves Me, Lead Performer in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well... and the title role in Candide, among others.
- Sabrina Hebert - Christine
- This will be Sabrina Herbert's first performance with the Camelot Theatre and her first ever comedy. She is currently a music major at SOU and has been a part of multiple productions in Southern Oregon including Maria in West Side Story and Mimi in Rent. She is grateful for the support of her friends in the performing arts, her family and most importantly her parents. Without their unconditional support and encouragement, being a full-time student, employee, and entertainer would not be possible.
- Eoghan McDowell - Freddy
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels marks Eoghan (pronounced "Owen") McDowell's fourth production at the Camelot Theatre. He was most recently seen in as Chantal in La Cage Aux Folles, as an ensemble singer/dancer in Sweet Charity, and as Cord Elam in Oklahoma! In the fall, McDowell will be returning to SOU after a year away from school to pursue a B.F.A in acting.
It's no con: 'Dirty Rotten' is hysterically funny
By Jeffrey Gillespie
For the Tidings
Posted Sep. 7, 2016 at 6:03 PM
As any child of '80s movie culture would know, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" was one of those slightly under-the-radar films that shone. With performances by two of the greatest talents of the era (Steve Martin and Michael Caine) the movie raked in strong critical reviews and did pretty well at the box office, too, thanks to the robust creative talents of its two leading men. Until Camelot brought it to my attention, I had been unaware of the spin-off musical that the film had birthed, and despite having had a long and intimate association with the original movie, I looked forward to seeing what director Olivia Harrison and choreographer Kayla Garrett would do with the stage production.
I'm happy to report that Camelot has once again delivered an absolutely riveting show, one that was hysterically funny and brimming with comedic energy - a warm-hearted and spirited romp through the fictional town of Beaumont-sur-Mer on the French Riviera. This area of the world is often nicknamed the "Crook D'Azur" in reference to the plethora of unsavory characters who hide their money in the assorted tax havens along that pristine coastline; DRS offers a sly nod to this fact in the person of Lawrence (Erik Connolly) a seasoned con man masquerading as a deposed aristocrat to bilk rich American women out of their fortunes in service of his "cause." Connolly, a Camelot veteran, is a convincing Lawrence. His performance is funny, yet understated, exactly as it should be - Lawrence is a man who must live discreetly, or risk the consequences.
His calibrated existence comes under threat upon the arrival of Freddy (Eoghan McDowell) a crass hustler from the United States. Resplendent in bad resort wear and straw trilby, Freddy bursts onto the scene and ruffles the feathers of the well-fed old birds who nest in Lawrence's domain.
Where the hell has Camelot been hiding Mr. McDowell? According to the program, he has been working quietly as an ensemble player in three previous productions; an oversight, because McDowell is an fabulous actor. His Freddy is a guided missile that blasts the whole production to giddy heights not thus far reached at the company. My date - who had no reference point to the original film - was in stitches every time McDowell was onstage, so much so that she blamed him for her cheeks hurting by the final scene. I was measuring McDowell against Steve Martin, and came away from the show feeling that this young actor had given the "wild and crazy guy" a run for his money. Camelot would be foolish to relegate McDowell to the chorus in future shows.
Freddy and Lawrence one-up each other hilariously, with two particularly funny scenes. The first is in Act One, where Lawrence casts Freddy as his emotionally unhinged younger brother in order to run off a troublesome heiress. The second involves Lawrence masquerading as a psychologist in order to literally beat Freddy - faking it in a wheelchair - at his own game.
Things escalate when an American "soap queen" named Christine (played brilliantly by newcomer Christina Hebert) arrives in town with apparent buckets of cash and a naivety that would make any marauding mountebank drool. Both Freddy and Lawrence bet their reputations on who can get the money, the girl, or both.
Ms. Hebert has a freshness and style that are hard to ignore. Christine is a character whose credibility depends on her convictions, and Hebert walks that line beautifully. She is an elegant presence on stage and another great find for Camelot.
It was a particular joy to note that in this show, there was not a single weak link. All of the cast from leads to ensemble showed up beautifully. Aside from the main characters, Erny Rosales strikes gold with his portrayal of Andre, Lawrence's love-struck sidekick, who finds his match in Muriel, played by Amanda McGee. Rosales and McGee are hilarious as they gambol around the stage in love-struck rumba. Rosales - not a small man - is surprisingly nimble, with great comic timing.
Also worth a mention is Shannon Carter as Jolene, another vacuous heiress who is the victim of the hustle. Carter has a great pair of lungs and shines in her limited role.
Take the time to jet over to Camelot Theatre for a fun and frolicsome production that's as breezy and warm as any pebbled beach in "Nice la Belle."
Camelot Theatre's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: A New Era Ushers In Two Surprising Fresh Stars in An Effervescent Comic Musical
By Lee Greene For the Performing Arts Review
When I see a really good theatrical show, it’s like I’ve been jacked into an a.c. electrical outlet and come away with a big jolt of energy. I got that big charge when I saw the opening night performance of Camelot Theatre‘s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Friday evening, Sept. 2, 2016. It is the first Camelot show completely under the control of new artistic director Roy Rains and marks the beginning of a new era for the theater. If this show represents a fair example of what’s ahead for Camelot Theatre, the company (and its audience) can look forward to a GREAT future. Rains did a fantastic job of picking a play and choosing a talented director, designers & production team members. Breaking from Camelot tradition in the past, when most artistic decisions were made top-down from the artistic director, and pressed upon the rest of the company’s production crew and cast, Rains trusted his chosen production team to use their respective talents and skills to make creative and artistic decisions thus incorporating exceptional contributions from a collection of brilliant collaborators to produce one of the best shows in Camelot Theatre’s long history. Rains’ great choices began with the selection of director Olivia Harrison, who was given the freedom to cast the roles and imprint the production with her own imaginative, creative vision. She in turn, breaking from another long-standing Camelot practice of relying primarily on a limited, exclusive and discreet group of actors, employing them again and again in role after role, instead elected to cast two vibrant young newcomers in key roles. It all works, not only producing an energetic, effervescent, delightful musical comedy, but also permitting two extraordinarily gifted young talents (Sabrina Hebert and Eoghan McDowell) to shine as stars for the first time. This show is definitely worth the price of a ticket.
The 1988 film starred Steve Martin and Michael Caine.
Now, for those who are willing to read further, and interested: the details. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels began life as a 1988 non-musical comedic film, starring Michael Caine, Steve Martin and Glenne Headley. The film tells the story of two con artists who prey upon wealthy women tricking them out of their money: Lawrence Jameson, a well established, educated, upper class resident of a French Riviera resort, and a young unvarnished, underachieving newcomer, Freddy Benson, who upon arriving in the resort is impressed by the older man’s success at the game, and his resulting lifestyle and worldly belongings. Initially, Freddy asks Lawrence to teach him the trade, and Lawrence agrees, giving Freddy a subservient role in the cons while teaching him. But eventually, the student becomes too big for his britches, and they become rivals. Concluding that the town isn’t big enough for both of them, Lawrence proposes a bet, winner to stay, loser to leave: the first to successfully swindle $50,000 from a woman target. They both settle on the same target, a new visitor to town, a wealthy American traveler, the Glenne Headly character. And most of the rest of the film presents their often comic competition to try to extract the prize-winning sum from her. The film reaches a surprise ending, which I won’t give away here, as I don’t want to spoil that delicious conclusion for those who go see the play and don’t already know how it ends. The film received relatively favorable critical reviews. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said, “The plot … is not as complex as a movie like The Sting, and we can see some of the surprises as soon as they appear on the horizon. But the chemistry between Martin and Caine is fun, and Headly provides a resilient foil.” [RogerEbert.com, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/dirty-rotten-scoundrels-1988]
The movie was transformed into a theatrical musical comedy in 2004, which made its Broadway premiere in March 2005, with John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, and Sherie Rene Scott, respectively, in the Caine, Martin and Headley roles. The show ran for 626 performances, closing in Sept. 2006. It was less well received by the critics than the film, receiving markedly mixed reviews. Ben Brantley of The New York Times compared the musical with the 2001 hit musical The Producers, also an adaptation of a film about two con men, and found it lacking in confidence and energy (“What’s missing is the galvanizing, hypnotizing energy . . . . the show just doesn’t have the self-belief, not to mention the oomph, that can make vulgarity a fine art”), though he did praise Butz’s turn as Freddy (“Mr. Butz . . . is definitely the real thing”). [Ben Brantley, The New York Times, The Art of the Con, Reprised, March 4, 2005,http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/04/theater/reviews/the-art-of-the-con-reprised.html] The Broadway musical was nominated for the requisite ten Tony Awards, including best musical, best book and best score, but it won only one, Leading Actor in a Musical, for Butz’s performance as Freddy. The musical was subsequently produced in the West End in the UK, with a more favorable critical reception, and has been taken on multiple national, UK and international tours.
In Camelot Theatre’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Freddy (Eoghan McDowell) sits in a wheelchair while Lawrence (Erik Connolly) and Christine (Sabrina Herbert), at top, dance in the ensemble number, “The More We Dance”, with (left to right): Jake Hastings, & Carrie Ann Eve, Jasmin Evans & Dylan Spooner, Amanda McGee & Erny Rosales, Joey Larimer & Shannon Carter.
Which bring us now to the current Camelot Theatre production. Let me start by saying that the criticisms leveled at the Broadway production do NOT apply to Camelot’s show. In the hands of director Olivia Harrison, Mr. Rains, and the rest of Mr. Rains’ team and Ms. Harrison’s cast, this production is NOT lacking in energy, but quite the contrary, is delightfully bubbling over in energy. The performances ARE galvanizing, and the staging and choreography of the musical numbers leaves never a dull moment from start to finish. Ms. Harrison has cast Camelotveteran Erik Connolly (previously Che inEvita, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Caleb inThe Spitfire Grill, and numerous Camelot Spotlight productions, most recently Jerry, Perry and Dean) in the older con artist, Lawrence Jameson (Michael Caine, John Lithgow) role. The part fits him like a glove, and it is easily Mr. Connolly’s best performance on the Camelotstage. Ordinarily, that would be the high point of a review of the show, but Ms. Harrison found two extraordinarily talented young newcomers (Eoghan McDowell and Sabrina Hebert, respectively) for the Freddy Benson and Christine Colgate (leading actress) roles, whose performances are so compelling, exuberant, pitch perfect and outstanding, that they even outshine a standout performance by the veteran, Mr. Connolly.
Con artists Freddy Benson (Eoghan McDowell) & Lawrence Jameson (Erik Connolly) in Camelot Theatre’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The two actors have effective chemistry in their scenes together, rivaling & exceeding that of the original film actors.
First, Mr. McDowell playing Freddy Benson. Mr. McDowell has actually appeared on theCamelot stage in three previous productions, but never in a leading or particularly substantial role (the cross gender Chantal in the recent La Cage Aux Folles, as Cord Elam in Oklahoma! and in the ensemble in Sweet Charity). The Freddy role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels requires a well-rounded performer with a full set of skills – there are hilarious, prat fall physical comic scenes; straight dramatic pieces; solo vocals; duets with each co-star, male and female; dance numbers: solo, paired, and ensemble; and transformation from an unpolished rube to a faux gentleman aristocrat, with all the costume and make-up variations apt to the moment; fierce rivalry with the older conman, while needing to cultivate and maintain the audience’s empathy and sympathy for the less experienced younger underdog. Mr. McDowell succeeds in all of that, and knocks it out of the ballpark. He does it all with a high level of energy and enthusiasm, a deft touch – hitting the edge on all the near over-the-top comic scenes without going over, never over-acting but not underacting either – just right, and all very credible and believable. And to top it off, he sings marvelously, in tune, well enunciated, and melodious. His solo passages were well sung and his duets, especially with Mr. Connolly, were crowd pleasers. For those who have seen the film version and may have liked Steve Martin’s Freddy Benson performance, boy, are you in for a surprise. Eoghan McDowell’s Freddy Benson runs circles around Steve Martin’s. Wow!
Charismatic and exuberant Camelot newcomer Sabrina Hebert (center) commands the stage and holds the attention in Camelot Theatre’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Here surrounded by (left to right) Shannon Carter, Dylan Spooner, Jasmin Evans, Carrie Ann Eve, Joey Larimer & Jake Hastings.
But even THAT wasn’t the best performance in this production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Somehow, the brilliant Ms. Harrison plucked SOU vocal music major, Sabrina Hebert, who had never before appeared on theCamelot stage, from virtually out of nowhere and put her in the leading actress role in this production (Christine Colgate – Sherie Renee Scott on Broadway; Glenne Headley with a different name for the character in the film). Ms. Hebert has it ALL and commands the stage from the moment she first enters. With a million watt smile, as big as a half-moon, and a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of charisma, Ms. Hebert grabs the audience’s attention and never lets go. And what a voice! Gorgeous! If one went to the show and closed their eyes for the full duration, just listening to Ms. Hebert sing, you would still have to rate the show a triumph – a musical happening. All of the plaudits bestowed upon Mr. McDowell above – they apply DOUBLE to Ms. Hebert. She bestows the character with a never-ending supply of energy and enthusiasm; she is utterly and completely believable in the role. Her acting is pitch perfect, never underacts, never overacts, appears to have an uncanny intuitive sense of how much is just right. She’s a natural performer, and she is going to be a star (well, she already IS one!). But you want to go see her NOW, in THIS show. The thing is, both Ms. Hebert AND Mr. McDowell are so early in what promises to be their wonderful careers, that they still have a fresh innocence and enthusiasm about what they’re doing that is precious to see, and in part responsible for the energy and exuberance of their performances. Six productions later in leading roles, when they too have become stage veterans, that freshness will be missing. Chatting with Ms. Hebert after the show, she just bubbled over with excitement, that her parents surprised her by attending the opening and turning up in the audience unannounced. She can’t be expected to bubble over with that innocence very much longer. Go see her now while you can still see THAT.
In an amusing romantic subplot, “eccentic supporting characters” Muriel (Amanda McGee) & Andre (Ernie Rosales) present an adorable, beguiling couple, who in this scene are cutting up the dance floor.
Ms. Harrison’s sixth sense at casting performers in roles didn’t stop at the three leads. The entire large (11 performers) cast is populated by well chosen, talented performers, who universally deliver superior performances. Lawrence Jameson is assisted in his schemes by an “eccentric supporting character”, the less aristocratic, less debonair, French accented, “crooked police chief” Andre Thibault, who is also given “a comic romantic subplot” with “a swinging American divorcée”, Muriel Eubanks. [quoted descriptions from Ben Brantley, The New York Times, The Art of the Con, Reprised, March 4, 2005,http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/04/theater/reviews/the-art-of-the-con-reprised.html] While these are not romantic leads, they are entertaining characters in the story, placed in an amusing subplot, and in another instance of inspired casting by Ms. Harrison, the roles are performed superbly in this production by Ernie Rosales and Amanda McGee respectively. Those two present the audience with an adorable, beguiling couple; the pair of short stout performers delight the audience at one point by exquisitely cutting up the dance floor together.
In the number, “All About Ruprecht”, swindled Oklahoman and would be spouse of Lawrence, Jolene (Shannon Carter) is introduced to Freddy, posing as repulsive brother Ruprecht (Eoghan McDowell) by Lawrence (Erik Connelly).
At another point in the story, one of the women swindled by Lawrence, Jolene Oakes, is pressing him to marry her and move to Oklahoma. Lawrence uses Freddy to pose as an outrageously repulsive brother (Ruprecht) in order to fend off Ms. Oakes. The scene is one of the most hilarious in the show, with Mr. McDowell and Mr. Connolly at their best. But for the scene to succeed also takes a fine comic performance by Shannon Carter as their foil, Jolene. Again, great casting; Ms. Carter has proven herself a top dancer and fine singer in previous Camelot productions, such as Sweet Charity and La Cage Aux Folles, but this is the first time she’s given a substantial comedic role with dialogue. Who knew she was not just a great statuesque dancer, but also a gifted comedic actress? (Apparently, Ms. Harrison did!)
As noted above, earlier productions of this show were criticized for their lack of energy and oomph. Ms. Harrison has overcome that by filling out the cast with an exuberant, energetic group of ensemble players and giving them a full complement of lively choreographed ensemble dance numbers bridging the various comic and dramatic set pieces performed by the show’s leads.
In one of 10 ensemble numbers throughout the show, “Great Big Stuff”, Freddy (Eoghan McDowell, center) expounds to Andre (Ernie Rosales, far left) & Lawrence (Erik Connolly, 2nd from left) on his ambitions and what he is seeking, aided by the smartly costumed ensemble (left to right): Jake Hastings, Carrie Ann Eve, Joey Larimer, Shannon Carter, Dylan Spooner & Jasmin Evans.
So when the audience is not being amused by the charismatic, comic and compelling performances of the leads, they are treated to high velocity eye candy: the well-orchestrated, non-stop, energetic movement of the oft-changing bold-costumed ensemble cast, including actors Joey Larimer, Dylan Spooner, and Jake Hastings, and actresses Carrie Ann Eve, Jasmin Evans, and Shannon Carter (again – the girl CAN dance, so it’d be a sin not to use her for that too!). I’m not sure just how Ms. Harrison has energized the cast for this production, but she has certainly succeeded in doing so; I can think of a few football teams which could really use her skills to rally and energize the players’ performance on the field, so it’s as sharp as the performances on stage by this cast.
Mr. Rains has aided and abetted Ms. Harrison by surrounding her with a talented group of collaborators, and giving them the freedom to exploit their respective talents to contribute to the success of this show, as mentioned in the opening paragraph. That wonderful and extensive choreography hailed above was the outstanding work of choreographer Kayla Garrett. That all of the singing in the show (solos, duets, ensemble chorus numbers), from beginning to end, was exceptional was not an accident, nor a coincidence, but the fine handiwork of skilled vocal music director, Michael Wing. The bold, eye catching and frequently changing costumes were produced by Costume Designer Addie Hall-Kester and Assistant Costume Designer Sharon Swingle. Set Designer Don Zastoupil provided a wonderful set, which was equally effective in hosting the leads’ conscribed set pieces and the ensemble’s expansive dance numbers. The set was enhanced by very effective use of rear projections, nicely setting scenes, and occasionally providing amusing, clever, special effects – I don’t want to spoil the fun by revealing what you’ll see, but pay attention during the 2nd scene (Andre and Muriel in “Magic Land”) of the Second Act. All this great projection work was the handicraft of gifted sound/video designer Brian O’Connor. Kudos to ALL, for producing one of the most entertaining and outstanding shows upon the Camelot stage, but most especially to Ms. Harrison, for her vision, her leadership in bringing all the pieces together, her amazing casting choices, and her ability to draw such exceptional performances and unqualified exuberance and energy from her cast.
It’s abundantly obvious that I enjoyed this show and I believe that you will too. But I can be forgiven for one lament, just one little thing that could possibly have made it even better. At least for this production, Camelot dispensed with live musicians, and instead the performances were accompanied by “canned” music. Do understand, there was nothing wrongwith the music. It was fine. But live musicians present some advantages and benefits which are simply NOT possible with canned music. Musical theater at its best, reaches the highest pinnacles when the performers are interacting and engaged with a great audience, fine tuning their performances in the moment, and that is facilitated when live musicians are part of the equation, reacting with and adjusting the music too, in the moment, with the performers. It’s a synergy which is simply not possible when the music is canned instead. So I hope the new era at Camelot will see more live musicians and less canned accompaniment. Just saying.
Laughs come often in Camelot's 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'
By Bill Varble For the Medford Mail Tribune; Posted Sep. 3, 2016 at 2:28 PM
Erik Connolly looks every inch the con man. In Camelot Theatre's new production of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," which opened Friday, Connolly's Lawrence has the chiseled profile, the wavy hair and the expensive suits you'd expect of a grifter who preys on rich women at Beaumont-Sur-Mer on the French Riviera. Eoghan McDowell's Freddy, in contrast, is a crass young American with tacky clothes and oafish manners. In a competition for the hearts and minds and bank accounts of well-heeled young women, it would seem to be no contest.
The main object of all the chicanery is Christine Colgate, the "Soap Queen," played with elan by newcomer Sabrina Hebert. And things quickly get complicated.
Con men as subjects for stage plays go back to Moliere and Ben Jonson and beyond. "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is linked not only to that tradition, but to a comic take of the battle of the sexes a la the screwball comedies of the 1930s.
The 1988 movie comedy starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin, with Glenne Headly as the American heiress they target. Jeffrey Lane, who wrote the book, and David Yazbek, who wrote the music and lyrics, adapted the film into this lightheaded musical comedy, which hit Broadway in 2005.
The plot remains essentially the same. Lawrence, the alpha swindler of the imaginary Beaumont-Sur-Mer, is alarmed to hear that a con artist known as The Jackal has entered his turf. Enter loud, gangly, dim-bulb Freddy.
Lawrence believes this part of the Riviera isn't big enough for the two of them, so a bet is made. The first to extract $50,000 from a mark will get the territory, and the other will leave. The target is beautiful young Christine, the apparent Colgate heiress, and the bet is later changed to whether or not Freddy can bed her.
The funniest moments come from the extremes the characters (especially Freddy) are willing to go to. The comedy is broad, but some of the action comes from character as well.
Yazbek's score is first-rate. "Give Them What They Want," sung by Lawrence, his crooked cop confederate Andre (Erny Rosales) and an ensemble, introduces the theme of the con man honing in on the mark's vulnerabilities.
"Chimp in a Suit," sung by Andre, is a snarky take on the seemingly hopeless Freddy. "All About Ruprecht," with Lawrence, Freddy and others, is a goofy look at the drooling idiot brother Freddy pretends to be in one scene. Lawrence uses Ruprecht to get rid of a woman he's fleeced. And all that is in the first half of the first act.
Connolly's Lawrence is the kind of suave character that once would have been played by David Niven. McDowell's Freddy could be played by Jim Carrey. Hebert gives Christine the sort of wide-eyed, naive optimism of Ellie Kemper's Kimmy Schmidt. Rosale's droll Andre will charm your socks off.
Olivia Harrison's brisk direction is based on the sensible premise that if you put colorful, witty characters in absurd circumstances and get out of the way, good stuff will happen. And it does. The laughs come often, and there’s plenty of quality singing and stylish choreography by Kayla Garrett.
Don Zastoupil's wide-open set leaves plenty of room for the dance numbers. In fact, the stage is often rather bare, with furniture and props oddly off to extreme stage right and/or stage left. With a terrific score and some fine singers, it would be nice to see actors come downstage to the apron for big numbers more often.
There's a heavy use of video and projections (Lawrence's villa, some comic effects) to help tell the story. The songs are done to a recorded music track, which gives the illusion of a huge production but loses the intimacy of working with live musicians. "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is old-fashioned Broadway musical comedy. There's some mildly risque humor and a rousing ending. Leaving the theater, I wanted to find a public restroom and scrawl graffiti on the wall: For a good time, see "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."