Having had the great fortune of seeing so many of the truly magnificent productions presented by the DOMA Theatre Company I was overflowing with eagerness and anticipation with the launch of their latest offering, “Dorian’s Descent.” The lights dimmed and the musical magic of Chris Raymond and his spectacular band filled the auditorium. Soon there were singers and dancers and ultimately the captivating voice of the young and rising star Michael D’Elia in character as Dorian Gray. Oh yeah let the show begin.
Soon the cast was revealed and it contained many familiar faces. Cassandra Nuss is Sybil Vane the victim of a cruel relationship with Dorian Gray. The beauty of Cassandra’s voice remains awe inspiring. Toni Smith is a gifted actress last seen at the MET in DOMA’s production of “Nine.” This night she would be The Demon. Michelle Holmes is a veteran and gifted actress in the role of Margaret Vane for Dorian’s Descent. Garret Riley returns to the MET Theatre in character as Richard. The beautiful Tiffany Williams last seen on the MET stage in “Dreamgirls” is now both Crystal and Charlene and is joined by fellow DOMA alumnus Jenny Torgerson in character as Erika and Scarlett. Two new comers to the DOMA team are Kelly Brighton as Henry Wotton and Jeremy Saje as Basil Hallward both of whom delivered praise worthy performances.
The cast was superb, the music magnificent and the set was in every way beyond expectation, but what about the show? To sum it up to me it seems to be an artful portrayal of the old saying: “Be careful of what you wish for because you might just get it.” It seems that Dorian Gray is a very shallow and very vain young man deathly afraid of aging. He is offered the opportunity to remain forever young looking as his just completed portrait will reveal the aging process. The price is his soul which he eagerly surrenders. The destruction that decision causes is established in Act One and brought to a tragic end in Act Two. Overall it is excellent production but does have a few fuzzy edges.
For instance to my mind the utter emptiness of Dorian’s soul could and should have been more clearly defined early in Act One. Okay so he is a spoiled rich young man with no desire to age. But to so quickly sell his soul without any known foundation seems a bit more of a stretch than I like. I would also suggest a wee bit of tightening. Some of the songs seem to go on a bit too long and indeed taken as a whole Act One was just too long.
But some less than perfect elements aside it is overall a very captivating show that displays an abundance of superb talent at every level. And one very strong selling point is that “Dorian’s Descent” is not simply yet again another old Broadway musical repeat. It is a courageous effort and very much worth ones time to see and enjoy. “Dorian’s Descent” is at the MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029 now through July 20, 2014. Sometimes are 8:00 pm Friday and Saturday evenings and 3:00 pm Sundays. Ticket prices range from $20.00 to $34.99. Information and reservations are available on line at: www.doriansdescent.com or by calling: 323-802-4990.
Copyright 2014 Ron Irwin