Hollywood mixes Jersey mobsters with beauty pageant glamour for laughs galore


Pictured: Carla Astudillo and Sean Hackes. Photo by Jorge Acevedo.
December 8, 2011

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Emily Kelly , a student at Lee High School , reviews “Miss Hollywood Marries King Neptune” performed by Wakefield High School as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program . 

Mobsters, lobsters, and movies oh my! Wakefield High School’s production of The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune was filled with all these things and more this past Saturday as the cast showed what happens when harebrained schemes go awry and how creativity is a must in show business.

The screwball comedy by Robert Schenkkan follows the story of frazzled Hollywood agent Manny Weisenberg, who can’t seem to catch a break; he owes money to gangster Joey Bananas, his girlfriend wants to quit acting and move back home, his star client has fallen into a pit of despair over having to be in westerns instead of Shakespeare classics, and as if things couldn’t be bad enough Manny only has one week to fix everything. When Manny suddenly gets a brilliant idea to have a beauty pageant titled The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune he thinks all of his problems are solved. That is, until Joey Bananas shows up and demands Manny fix the pageant so that his girlfriend Lola Gottalotta will win and one of the pageant’s backers demands that Manny do the same for his spoiled daughter. The clock is ticking and Manny is at his wits end as he questions what Hollywood is really about and how he can save his career (as well as his fingers).  

As the hapless agent Manny, Jose Rodriguez did an admirable job. Rodriguez had excellent diction and was believable in his performance. Tyler Lazarri and Sean Hackes who played two of Manny’s con-man backers Gus and Bulldog did a wonderful job playing crooks who don’t really know what they’re doing. Carla Astudillo was amusing as Bulldog’s whiny daughter Geraldine who is convinced she will be famous one day. Astudillo’s energy never lacked and she had strong characterization throughout the show.

While some of the cast had trouble creating character relationships, this was not an issue for any member of Joey Bananas’ mob who worked together to create a hilarious and cohesive ensemble. Sean Balick led the band of miscreants as fast talking Joey Bananas. Balick had excellent stage presence and great line delivery. Sofia Navas Sherry was fantastic as Joey’s obnoxious girlfriend Lola and never lost her thick Jersey accent. Jesse Remedios and Marquis Allgood were hysterical as Joey’s two thugs, Carter and Grum, who are swindled into playing mermen for the pageant by Manny. While Allgood’s character never spoke, he exhibited wonderful stage presence and excellent physicality to make Grum’s actions and opinions clear. Remedios had many funny lines which he delivered with quick wit and never once broke character as a slow minded gangster whose number one rule is to always remain professional.

While the show had many ups and downs, the cast worked to create an entertaining performance. As the curtain closed it was clear that Hollywood does sometimes have happy endings.

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