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Some like it hot, melodious, and theater aims to please

Sugar, the musical version of the movie, is on tap at the St. Petersburg Little Theatre.

By JON WILSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Award-winning actors, an experienced director and a "dancing" set await St. Petersburg Little Theatre patrons this week.

And, said director A. Paul Johnson, there will be plenty of laughs generated by Sugar, the musical version of the movie Some Like It Hot.

The play runs Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. each day. The Sunday matinee is at 2. Performances are also at 8 p.m. Nov. 16-18 and 2 p.m. Nov. 19. Tickets are $16 each. For reservations, call 866-1973. The theater is at 4025 31st St S. "It's set in the early '30s so we decided to play it like an old vaudeville production, like you might see the Marx brothers do," Johnson said.

Debbie Beckett plays the title role, which was the Marilyn Monroe part in the movie.

"It's a fun character," Beckett said. "She has lots of charm, lots of wit, but she does have her sad moments."

Last month Beckett was named a Lary Award winner for best supporting actress in a drama for her West Coast Players performance of Curious Savage. The Larys, sponsored by the magazine Theatre Grapevine, are community theater's versions of the Oscars.

Kiley Holder, who plays the Jack Lemmon role, had two roles in Fractured Folk Tales, a revue whose music Johnson wrote and which played at the Little Theatre this year.

Holder was the Elvis-impersonating spider in The Spider and the Fly, and the donkey in the Bremen Town Musicians. He also performed in Hello, Dolly!, which was given a Lary along with Oklahoma!

Patrick Curran has the Tony Curtis role. He recently played in Charley's Aunt, which Johnson noted involves men dressing as women, as Sugar does.

"People loved him in that," Johnson said of Curran. "So this is a chance to reprise a comic bit he knew was successful.

"He was a little concerned because he'd never done a musical before, but we did some vocal coaching and found he has a really nice, baritone voice."

Tom Frawley, a set builder with wide experience in the Chicago area, put together the Sugar set, which was designed by Gibbs High School student Nick Gonsman.

"The other thing exciting about this show is that the set moves," Johnson said.

"The actors move it all as a part of the choreography of the musical numbers. The set dances with the characters, which is kind of neat."

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