Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

From a conceptual standpoint, musical adaptations of popular movies have grown far too ubiquitous to impress by novelty value. Every so often, however, an adaptation manages to buck the trend by deriving from the source film a sensibility keenly suited to the stage. Such was the case for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the musical adaption of the 1998 Michael Caine/Steve Martin comedy. Refining the film's farcical sheen, collaborators David Yazbek (music and lyrics) and Jeffrey Lane (book) crafted a polished variation that transforms the narrative without mimicking the movie. Set on the French Riviera, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels follows two unscrupulous con men whose contrasting styles have placed them in direct opposition. Lawrence Jameson is the suave seducer, romantically fleecing his lonely-heart marks. Freddy Benson is the uncouth opposite, a grifter who specializes in exploiting compassion. Setting their sights on a young heiress, the two chiselers agree to a contest: Whoever fails to swindle $50,000 from the target agrees to leave town. Defining lighthearted escapism, the play promises to be breezy summer entertainment, especially with Minneapolis Musical Theatre's cofounder and artistic director, Steven Meerdink, playing the role of Jameson. All things considered, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels looks like one musical sure bet that isn't a con. (Photo by Laurie Etchen)
Thursdays-Sundays, 7:30 p.m.; Mondays, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., June 26, 2:30 p.m. Starts: June 10. Continues through June 26, 2011

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