Gentleman’s Guide After-Party in Los Angeles

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" CTG/Ahmanson Theatre Opening, Los Angeles, America - 23 March 2016
Murderous Cast Feted by Darren Criss, Barrett Foa and Friends at “Gentleman’s” After-Party

 

 

The minute John Rapson stepped into Vespaio following Opening Night of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre, Darren Criss of TV’s “Glee” rushed to greet the actor with an exuberant hug. Rapson had just starred, along with Kevin Massey, in the Los Angeles production and the after-party for the cast and other VIPs took place at the nearby restaurant.

I’m bursting with excitement to see John Rapson,” said Criss, as he first entered the theater earlier that evening, accompanied by musician Mia Swier. A Broadway veteran himself, after having starred in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in 2012 and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in 2015, Criss said he and Rapson had both attended the University of Michigan. 

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" CTG/Ahmanson Theatre Opening, Los Angeles, America - 23 March 2016
“I am in awe of his talent,” Criss added at the after-party, thick with another dozen or so Michigan alums. (The university is well-known for its musical theater program.)

As gracious as he is talented, Criss continued his praise. “He is amazing,” said TV’s Blaine Anderson to all within earshot.

“It was really extraordinary,” said Rapson, between handshakes and more hugs from former classmates.

“There were individual laughs that I started picking out about 15 minutes into the show,” he said. “It means a lot to me to have all these people here. The show has only been here for a day, so this party is the first time that I’m actually seeing them.”

The four-time Tony Award-winning play, named 2014’s “Best Musical,” tells the story of Monty Navarro, who – upon discovering himself to be a distant heir to the D’Ysquith family fortune – sets about killing off all the family members who stand between him and the fortune. Massey plays Navarro; Rapson, all the D’Ysquiths. (Click here to read the glowing review by Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty, with which I heartily agree.) 

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" CTG/Ahmanson Theatre Opening, Los Angeles, America - 23 March 2016
“People say a role like this doesn’t come along but once in a lifetime,” Rapson continued. “I don’t know if it even comes along that often for most people.”

Said Barrett Foa of “CSI: Los Angeles,” also no stranger to the Broadway stage, of Rapson’s multiple roles:  “Each time, he comes out as a new guy, you think – there he is, in a new character. There’s a wig and a beard and another costume change you don’t even see. It’s such a clever show.”

As party-goers celebrated the opening over champagne, pizza and pastries, they continued to heap praise on Rapson, Massey and all the other players. “Every one of them is so damn talented,” continued Foa, who gave them all an “A-plus” for their “vocal chops.”

Robert L. Freedman’s thoughts were on the theater. “I’ve been going to the Ahmanson since I was a teenager,” said the Tony winner for Best Book. “So to have a show of mine being done on the Ahmanson stage was a special thrill. The audience was wonderful, too. L.A. audiences are really smart and savvy — they get every joke.”

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" CTG/Ahmanson Theatre Opening, Los Angeles, America - 23 March 2016
Among others in the savvy audience: Broadway actress Shoshana Bean; Jane Kaczmarek of “Malcolm in the Middle”; Jonathan Del Arco of “Major Crimes”; Wilson Cruz of “My So-Called Life”; actress Jane Carr, a member of the show’s original Broadway cast; the show’s choreographer Peggy Hickey; and the show’s Tony-winning director Darko Tresnjak.

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” continues through May 1. For tickets or further information, click on www.centertheatregroup.org

 

Top photo: Darren Criss of TV’s “Glee” with John Rapson, who plays all the D’Ysquith’s in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at the party following opening night at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles (Photo by Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging) 

Second photo: Kevin Massey, a.k.a. Monty Navarro, in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” with his two love interests, Kristen Beth Williams, left, and Adrienne Eller, right, at the party following opening night at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles(Photo by Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging)

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" CTG/Ahmanson Theatre Opening, Los Angeles, America - 23 March 2016
Third photo: Barrett Foa of “NCIS: Los Angeles” and Broadway actress Shoshana Bean at the Opening Night performance of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles(Photo by Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging)

Fourth photo: From left, book writer/ lyricist Robert L. Freeman, director Darko Trenjak and choreographer Peggy Hickey at the party following opening night of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles(Photo by Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging)

Fifth photo: Jane Kaczmarek of “Malcolm in the Middle” at the opening night performance of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles(Photo by Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging)

 

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Gentleman’s Guide After-Party in Los Angeles

Published Apr. 3, 2016 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA