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Theater Review (LA): Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks by Richard Alfieri at the Falcon Theatre

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Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks is a delightful “dramedy” (part drama part comedy) that is having a revival at the Falcon Theatre. It first played the Geffen In Los Angeles, went on to play in New York, and subsequently had productions around the world. It is slated to become a feature film sometime next year. The play was written by Richard Alfieri and again directed by Arthur Alan Seidelman. The cast at the Geffen was Uta Hagen (shortly before her death) and David Hyde Pierce. I didn’t see it there, but friends tell me that they liked the current Falcon production better overall. It production stars the lovely Constance Towers and the hilarious Jason Graae.

Constance Towers is best known for playing Mrs. Anna in the 1977-79 revival of The King And I opposite Yul Brenner and for her work on film (Horse Soldiers) and television (General Hospital). Ms. Towers plays Lily, a lonely widow who hires an ex-Broadway chorus boy, played by Jason Graae, to give her dance lessons. There is great animosity at first because they are both rather volatile and defensive, but eventually they find they have things in common. Dance is the medium of the progression of their growing respect and caring for each other. The simple but effective choreography is by Kay Cole.

Ms. Towers has a beauty and elegance that contrast nicely with Mr. Graae’s character’s hyper and often campy nature. They play beautifully off each other. The bonus is that the actors really know how to dance, which was not true, I am told, in the Geffen production. Arthur Alan Seidelman has done a lovely job of orchestrating the mood and cadence of each scene. Mr. Seidelman also has a background in musical theatre. We have all heard the expression to “waltz through life” – well, here the characters not only waltz but cha cha cha and foxtrot, leaving just enough room to do the jerk and other more contemporary dances. The only problem I found was that the play seems to have two endings, which can be a bit confusing.


Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks plays at the Falcon Theatre through November 23rd.

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