A … My Name Will Always Be Alice

Rated 4.0
Studio Theatre’s Jackie Schultz loves her audiences. And Schultz’s audiences love her productions. This mutual admiration has resulted in a successful seven-year run of Studio Theatre’s musical revue, Six Women With Brain Death. Banking on her success with Six Women, Schultz has come out with a similar all-women revue that touches on the angst of womanhood, both tragic and comic, as sung to basic piano tunes and acted out in funny skits. Women still flock in droves to witness and experience Six Women. They drag their friends along for repeat hormone-therapy visits, and there’s no doubt it will happen again for this newest Studio Theatre musical montage.

The new offering, A…My Name Will Always Be Alice, will play in repertory with the theater’s mainstay, so it takes over the stage on Six Women’s days off. Still, you may need a program to figure out which one you’re seeing; both explore much the same material—the sagas and sorrows of suburban soccer moms.

However, to Schultz’s credit, A…My Name Will Always Be Alice, expands the subject matter to include a wider range of rants and rages, sighs and cries, empowerment and achievements. This new show tones down the bitterness of Six Women and ups the triumphs while including more women on the fringe—singles, single moms, divorcées and widows.

That said, there is little diversity explored, and if you don’t fall into this white, middle-class, over-30, heterosexual range, you might not find much with which to align yourself. But, even if you can’t relate, you’ll be entertained.

The talented six-member cast presents 25 clever songs and skits that look at friendships, relationships, motherhood, marriage, widowhood, sisterhood, singletons, sexual longings, aging and day-to-day female frustrations. It’s funny, sad, poignant, pointed, wistful, insightful, silly, sassy and even a bit sexy. Cast members Summer Wiseman, Kathy Morison, Abby Parker, Chris Hille and Meleva Barbula Steiret are a joy to witness, all solid in their solos and enthusiastic as an ensemble. They are a hoot in their comedy numbers and empathetic in the more emotional moments. All are worth watching.

A…My Name Will Always Be Alice plays at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $15-$17. Studio Theatre, 1028 R Street, (916)446-2668, www.thestudiotheatre.net. Through May 18.