August 7, 2020 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Andy Garcia Stars in “Key Largo” on Stage at The Geffen Playhouse

The first time I saw Andy Garcia was in “The Untouchables” I was mesmerized by his acting and powerful on-screen presence. I made a note to myself that he was a young actor destined to become a major movie star and, indeed, he has. With dozens of movie credits going back to 1984, there are too many to list but here are a few of my favorites: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Book Club, Kill the Messenger, Rob The Mob, At Middleton, City Island, Ocean’s Twelve( and Thirteen,) Smokin’Aces, When a Man Loves a Woman, The Godfather, Part III, and Internal Affairs. So, it was with great anticipation that I was going to cover Jeffrey Hatcher and Garcia’s adaption of the 1948 film noir version of Key Largo starring the incomparable team of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, as well as super bad guy, Edward G. Robinson. It was directed by John Huston, who changed the original story of Maxwell Anderson’s 1939 play, which centered around the Spanish Civil War. 

Presented by the Geffen Playhouse, Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures, in association with Frank Mancuso, and Andy Garcia, there is nothing overtly wrong with the play. The casting is excellent, beginning with Garcia in the lead role of Johnny Rocco, a bad guy who was deported to Italy for a year and a day, but sneaked back to America via Cuba and was now running a drug cartel. Played out on set designer John Lee Beatty’s sprawling, incredibly detailed period set of the hotel lobby, which was perfect for the ensuing unfolding drama. The hotel is closed for the winter and is occupied by caretakers blind Mr. D’Alcala (Tony Plana) and his widowed daughter-in-law, Nora D’Alcala (Rose McIver). While a full-blown hurricane is brewing, the hotel has been taken over by Rocco and his gang. 

Curly (Louis Mustillo) and Toots (Stephen Borrello) are the boss’s henchman who keep Nora and Mr. D’Alcala at bay. Also present, is Gaye Dawn, Rocco’s girlfriend exquisitely played by Joely Fisher. Gaye is a former entertainer but has turned into lush and is treated very poorly by Rocco. She gives one of the best, heart breaking performances of the evening when Rocco forces her to sing for a drink that she desperately needs. 

Rounding out the cast is the very talented Danny Pino as the troubled, brooding Frank McCloud who was a captain during World War II and has been traveling around the country to talk to parents of soldiers killed in combat. Mr. D’Alcala’s son served under McCloud’s command but made a decision to counter his captain’s orders, which had tragic results. We don’t exactly know what’s wrong with McCloud as Pino keeps that sub-text well under wraps. Now, what would a town be like without a sheriff? Well, Richard Riehle does an okay job as the corrupt Sheriff Gash who has no compunctions about taking a bribe here and there. Finally there’s the character of Ziggy, well played by Bradley Snedeker, who brings a bit of much needed levity to the proceedings. This snappy, handsome dude is a drug dealer who drives down to Key Largo during the raging hurricane for a drug buy from Rocco. Carrying a suitcase filled with money, on seeing the young Nora and blind Mr. D’Alcala quips, “Is this the new gang? They look pretty tough.” Let’s just say there’s an unexpected twist to the quarter-of-a-million dollar cocaine transaction. 

Joely Fisher as the suffering Gaye Dawn and Danny Pino as Captain Frank McCloud.

There are confrontations between McCloud and Rocco, which included pistols and an undeveloped relationship between McCloud and Nora to whom Rocco has taken a fancy. Rocco, with all his bluster, is actually afraid of thunder, which could tarnish his tough-guy image just a bit, and makes him human instead of a cliché characterization of an Italian gangster. Mahem ensues and there’s lots of unconvincing shooting. All this action takes place during an increase in the hurricane’s ferocity, beautifully replicated by Alex Hawthorn’s thunderous sound effects, including the sound of a buoy being tossed around in the water or hearing thunder or seeing the pouring rain through a window and the skylight. Peter Kaczorowski’s lighting design, and Linda Cho’s costumes, especially those nifty suits in which she dressed Garcia, are both outstanding. Rounding out the excellent production values are Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson’s projection designs, and Arturo Sandoval’s music, all working together for a satisfying audio-visual experience.

Again, there is nothing terribly wrong with this production. All the technical elements are outstanding, as well as a highly professional cast, but Doug Hughes’ direction left a number of dead spots both in some of the stagnant blocking and uneven pacing. There are no particularly strong highs or lows but all this said, seeing Andy Garcia, Danny Pino, and Joely Fisher deliver strong performances makes this re-imagined production of Key Largo just a tad short of spectacular, but definitely worth a trip to The Geffen Playhouse.

Gil Cates Theater

The Geffen Playhouse

10886 Le Conte Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Run: 

Tuesday – Friday: 8:00pm 

Saturday:  3:00pm: & 8:00pm 

Sunday:   2:00pm: & 7:00pm

Closing:   December May 10, 2019

Tickets:   $30-$145

310.208.5454 or

www.geffenplayhouse.com

Box Office Rush Tickets: 30 minutes before curtain 

$35.00 General/$15.00 Student

Related Posts

Nearly 60% of New COVID-19 Cases Occur in Younger Residents

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

Younger adults continue to make up the majority of new COVID-19 cases County health officials say. The Los Angeles County...

Open Air Homes: Bringing High-End Rentals to LA

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

By Toi Creel In 2012 Brad Greiner, an independent filmmaker found himself in a financial pinch where he could no...

UCLA Decreases In-Person Learning Options: Century City, Westwood Beat – August, 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

Century City, Westwood Beat – August, 6, 2020 – Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * UCLA Decreases...

UCLA Football Players Test Positive for COVID-19

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

LA County Dept. of Public Health confirms positive tests  By Sam Catanzaro  Los Angeles County health officials have announced members...

Additional Sexual Assault Charges Filed Against Former UCLA Doctor

August 4, 2020

August 4, 2020

James Mason Heaps faces up to 67 years in prison By Sam Catanzaro An obstetrician-gynecologist formerly employed by the University...

Edify TV: The Art of Making Noise

August 3, 2020

August 3, 2020

Local Venice Beach residents and artists came together to create a live art exhibition bringing awareness to racial violence in...

Karen Bass For Vice President? Century City, Westwood Beat – August, 3, 2020

August 3, 2020

August 3, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Karen Bass For Vice President? * LA Rents Decreasing?  All this...

Edify TV: Mike Bonin Talks Police Funding, Homelessness, Resident Satisfaction and More

July 31, 2020

July 31, 2020

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin sits down (virtually) with Mirror Media Group Executive Producer Juliet Lemar to discuss decreased...

Covid-19 Patients Paid to Quarantine?  Century City, Westwood Beat – July, 30, 2020

July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020

 Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * CAA Layoff Executives and Furlough Employees * LA County Paying Covid-19...

Police Investigating Hate Crimes in Fights Between Armenians and Azerbaijanis at West LA Protest

July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020

LAPD investigating three hate crime/battery incidents By Toi Creel and Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles Police Department detectives are investigating three...

Edify TV: A New Form of Trash in Santa Monica Bay

July 29, 2020

July 29, 2020

Aside from the usual plastic bottles, shopping bags and straws, a new form of trash has been turning up on...

UCLA Medical Center Top Hospital in Country

July 28, 2020

July 28, 2020

U.S. News & World Report releases annual rankings By Sam Catanzaro Westwood’s UCLA Medical Center is the top hospital in California...

Black Lives Matter Protest on Wilshire Blvd : Century City, Westwood Beat – July, 27, 2020

July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Black Lives Matter Protest on Wilshire Blvd* County Health Cracks Down on...

Westwood Property Included in $100M Federal Embezzlement Lawsuit

July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020

“The Mountain” property, Westwood apartment among assets sought by Justice Department By Staff Writer Two Westside properties are included in...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *