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Dana Delany, Steven Weber debut 'Parisian Woman' in Costa Mesa

(c) Examiner

April 23, 2013

By Jordan Young

(c) Photo by Ben Horak, SCR

Dana Delany's stunning good looks would alone make her welcome at South Coast Repertory. I'm happy to report she's got genuine stage presence—as does Steven Weber, her co-star in the world premiere of "The Parisian Woman" (which runs through May 5). Actors with TVQ are always welcome behind the Orange Curtain when they've got the chops to deliver such nuanced performances.

Steven Culp, Linda Gehringer and Rebecca Mozo also score under Pam McKinnon's sparkling direction, with SCR regular Gehringer notably savoring every last morsel of Beau Willimon's witty script as though it were a bite of filet mignon. David Kay Mickelsen's eye-catching costumes help the ladies look sharp.

Willimon's reworking of Henri Becque's 1885 play "La Parisienne" does take a while to develop into something of substance. This seriocomic cocktail of sex and politics set in Washington, DC, is undeniably entertaining but it's no Feydeau-style French farce; it's more akin to "Dangerous Liaisons" than "A Flea in Her Ear." Seeing who does what to whom is worth the wait. Call 714-708-5555.

Barbara Cook could have simply trotted out her greatest hits when she visited Segerstrom Center for the Arts April 13 and sent the audience home happy. Instead she skipped the Sondheim and sang what she pleased. Though I felt there were too many love songs, her selections—from "House of the Rising Sun" to Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" to Lennon's "Imagine"—were as inspired as her renditions.

Hot tip: South Coast Rep's annual Pacific Playwrights Festival offers five staged readings of new works April 26-28…

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