Lovers and Other Strangers Review – The Bliss and Blarney of Love

Justine Estrada, T.J. Martinez, Jade Ramirez Warner, Haile D'Alan in LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS - Photo by Chad Doreck

A story about the many iterations of love, LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS first sprang to life as a play and later morphed into a highly successful 1970 film adapted from the 1968 Broadway play. Written by married couple Renee Taylor and the late Joseph Bologna, this popular tale has never failed to delight and amuse audiences. The film starred lots of Hollywood powerhouses, including Gig Young, Cloris Leachman, Bea Arthur, and Diane Keaton in her film debut. Sylvester Stallone even had a role – as an extra – in the movie. On top of that, LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS won an Academy Award for best original song, “For All We Know.” Jamaica Moon Productions got together with the GGC Players to present this crowd-pleaser as their first zoom production.

Lovers and Other Strangers Poster – Photo courtesy of Jamaica Moon Productions

LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS is loosely divided into five untitled one-act scenes, each tapping into a different aspect of love. In the first, super-cool Jerry (Chris Jones) does his best to seduce the reluctant Brenda (Joey Marie Urbina). But is his best enough for a woman looking for the spiritual connection of her life? Then there are Hal (Chad Doreck) and Cathy (Kelly Musslewhite), whose five-year relationship may be winding down when Hal tells Cathy that he wants everyone to be happy, including his wife of 22 years and his two children. Next we’ll share a few bedtime moments with Johnny (Billy Budinich) and Wilma (Stella Pecollo), married so long that they finish each other’s sentences – but perhaps too long for a little hot sex. Is there an expiration date on that kind of love?

Keith Walker and Emme Daigle – Photo by Chad Doreck

And let’s not forget about Mike (Keith Walker) and Susan (Emme Daigle). They’ve been living together for over a year – but Mike is getting cold feet about their upcoming wedding. Maybe he’s really cut out for the single life – or is he? Finally, we share some space with Bea (Jade Ramirez Warner), Frank (Haile D’Alan), Richie (T.J. Martinez), and Joan (Justine Estrada). This is a traditional Italian family with a problem: their son Richie is contemplating divorce from his wife Joan. By confessing the problems they faced during their marriage, can Bea and Frank save their son’s marriage?

Kelly Musselwhite and Chad Doreck – Photo by Chad Doreck

In about 80 minutes, the many shades of love are explored, often with tongue in cheek. Since the play is double cast, every other week will find a new cast facing the same issues. LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS is directed by Gloria Gifford, who encourages her large and talented cast to slip on their roles effortlessly. The audience gets to be a fly on the wall, chuckling all the way at the foibles of these charming but mixed up people as they try to find the solution to love – if there is one.

Billy Budinich and Stella Pecollo – Photo by Chad Doreck

LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS is presented at 8:30 p.m. (PST) every Saturday between May 22 and June 26, 2021. Admission is $9 (plus service charge). To make a reservation and receive a streaming link, go online.

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