Blank Canvas Theatre is bringing risqué dreams to Cleveland this December with its production of “Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical” (Debbie). Running now through December 22, 2012, Debbie is pretty much exactly what you’d expect… well, minus the actual nudity and sex.
Based on the 1978 pornographic film “Debbie Does Dallas” starring Bambi Woods, the Cleveland premier of Debbie is the coming-of-age story of an all-American small-town sweetheart named Debbie Benton. Good-girl Debbie is captain of her high-school cheerleading team, but she dreams of making it to the big time by becoming a Texas Cowgirl Cheerleader. The only thing that stands between her and her dream are lodging costs and bus fare to the big city of Dallas. Debbie gets her teammates (Lisa, Roberta, Donna and Tammy) to help raise the money by forming a company called Teen Services and getting jobs. Realizing that minimum-wage jobs just don't pay enough, the “services” that the teens begin to provide through their company start to score big with their bosses at their jobs.
Debbie is directed by Patrick Ciamacco, adapted by Erica Schmidt, conceived by Susan L. Schwartz and has music composed by Andrew Sherman.
If you’re expecting a dramatic, award-winning story with family-friendly music, Debbie is not for you. If you’re up for a night of crass, innuendo-filled camp provided by half-naked actors, Debbie will fit your bill. Um, “that’s what she said”.
Ciamacco does an honorable job with a predictable script. The one-hour and 45-minute story is presented without an intermission and showcases pseudo-memorable musical numbers such as “Small Town Girl”, “The Locker Room Orgy”, “I Wanna Do Debbie”, “Dallas… I’m Coming” and the grand finale of “There’s a Light”. Taking place in 1978 at the Beaverton Jesuit High School in Beaverton, OK (Go Beavers!), the cheerleaders and football players interact with all of the stereotypical teen angst, drama and horniness the 78th Street Studio space can handle. Heh… “handle”.
Leslie Andrews plays a blondtastic Debbie Benton, exhausting the audience with her energy. Tasha Brandt does a cattily smooth job of portraying the slutty Lisa. Ashley Conlon is hysterical as the repressed Tammy. Becca Frick is a wonderfully ditzy and bendable pig-tailed Roberta (she loves candles!), and Jordan Renee Malin is a peppy and likeable as the dark poet Donna… who has an interesting moment with a banana.
Kudos to the guys in the show, as Doug Bailey, Pat Miller and Bill Reichert play several roles throughout the production.
Why see Debbie? Directly from Ciamacco, “Because of its subject matter, most theaters are afraid to touch this production. This is the Cleveland Premiere of this show, and it may be the one time it's done in this area. This production features a 1/10 scale football field set, three versatile male actors playing over 12 characters, five sexy and talented women as our cheerleaders, an amazing 4-piece band, 70's themed costumes and as many laughs as we can fit into a 90-minute show! It will be a night of entertainment that might be just what you need to release that... holiday tension.”
“Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical” is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 years old. It runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 p.m. through December 22, 2012.
Blank Canvas Theatre at 78th Street Studios is located at 1305 West 78th Street, Suite 211 in Cleveland, OH 44102. Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased by visiting http://blankcanvastheatre.com/purchase-tickets/.
Blank Canvas Theatre provides professional quality productions, placing emphasis on entertainment at affordable prices. For more information on Blank Canvas, visit www.blankcanvastheatre.com.
Do you have a Cleveland area performing arts story or event? Contact Kate Miller at KateMillerExaminer@yahoo.com. For consideration, please introduce yourself before forwarding your release or launching your pitch.