The Flamingo Kid opened May 24, 2019, at Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut. Book and Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman. Music by Scott Frankel. Directed by Darko Tresnjak. Choreographed by Denis Jones. Based on the screenplay by Neal Marshall and Garry Marshall.
The Plot: In the summer of ’63, against the wishes of his father, Brooklyn teenager Jeffrey Winnick leaves behind his blue-collar roots for an exciting job working as a cabana boy at the colorful El Flamingo — a posh private club on Long Island. There, Jeffrey meets Karla, a forward-thinking young woman from California. The music, the romance, the beach are magical — until tensions grow between father and son when a slick club member takes Jeffrey under his wing.
New York Times Review Excerpt:
Since the invention of American musical theater, lyricists seeking a rhyme for “love” have been stuck with just a few wan possibilities, including “dove,” “above,” the odd “glove” and the truly desperate “shove.” So, first, let me congratulate Robert L. Freedman for conscripting “mazel tov” to the cause, in a doozy of a song called “The Cookie Crumbles.”
That song, a highlight of “The Flamingo Kid,” which opened last week at Hartford Stage, is a blistering warning from a suburban matron, circa 1963, about what happens when a woman makes the wrong choice at an early age. “Time rolls along. You’ll play Mah-Jongg. And that’s your life.” Let’s just add that “life” is soon paired with “knife.” Even aside from Mr. Freedman’s sharp rhymes — and the sinuous, sulfurous music by Scott Frankel — “The Cookie Crumbles” checks off all the boxes of what great musical theater songs should do.
It addresses the plot moment: Phyllis Brody is telling her love-struck niece, Karla, not to get too involved with a sweet but feckless cabana boy at the El Flamingo beach club where the show takes place. It deepens our understanding of Phyllis’s character while reaching out to larger issues, in this case feminist ones. And as sung by Lesli Margherita in the show’s standout performance, it provides a bravura moment…
Creative Team: Alexander Dodge (Set Design). Linda Cho (Costumes). Philip Rosenberg (Lighting). Peter Hylenski (Sound). Aaron Rhyne (Projection Design). Charles LaPointe (Hair Design). Bruce Coughlin (Orchestrations). Thomas Murray (Music Director).
The Cast: Jimmy Brewer (Jeffrey), Samantha Massell (Karla), Liz Larsen (Ruth), Adam Heller (Arthur), Mark Kudisch (Phil), Lesli Margherita (Phyllis), Alex Wyse (Hawk), Ben Fankhauser (Steve), Joyce (Lindsay Brent Carothers), Alejandro (Omar Lopez-Cepero), Ben Bogen, Michael Hartung, Jean Kauffman, Ken Krugman, Taylor Lloyd, Anna Noble, Erin Leigh Peck, Gregory Rodriguez, Steve Routman, William Squier, Kathy Voytko, Price Waldman, Jayke Workman, Kelli Youngman, Stuart Zagnit (Ensemble).