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Theater Review: 'The Black Suits' At The Kirk Douglas Theatre

Shaina Eng |
November 4, 2013 | 10:29 a.m. PST

Contributing Writer

Will Roland, Harrison Chad, Coby Getzug and Jimmy Brewer in "The Black Suits" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Photo by Craig Schwartz.
Will Roland, Harrison Chad, Coby Getzug and Jimmy Brewer in "The Black Suits" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Photo by Craig Schwartz.
The teen years are filled with relationship woes and fears of growing up, and “The Black Suits,” directed by John Simpkins and now playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, does a great job of capturing that teenage angst within the confines of a Long Island garage.

Joe Iconis’s new musical follows the four teenaged members of a garage band called “The Black Suits” during the course of a summer as they prepare for the St. Anne’s Battle of the Bands. The group’s lead singer and principal songwriter Chris (Coby Getzug) acts as the driving force behind getting the group to play for actual people, hoping that if the band does well and gets discovered, they will be able to stay together and play instead of go their separate ways.

The cast is strong; Getzug’s portrayal of Chris has real emotional depth, the chemistry between Nato (Will Roland) and Brandon (Harrison Chad) was palpable (especially during the number “Amphibian,” which had every audience member laughing), and Annie Golden as Chris’s eccentric neighbor Mrs. Werring stole the show. Rounding out the cast are Veronica Dunne as Lisa, Chris' girlfriend, and Jimmy Brewer as John, Chris' best friend.

Ben Stanton’s lighting design is very well done; the lighting queues and colors subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) indicate to the audience the sudden mood shifts of the characters. Additionally, Derek McLane’s set is simple and versatile enough to pass for several different kinds of places as it transforms from the garage to a suit store, from a kitchen to a bedroom.

Iconis’s musical is spot-on when it comes to the teenage experience, and he explores a wide range of problems that teens face in their formative years. But there are also many questions left unanswered: why exactly does Lisa break up with John? Was the conflict between Chris and his dad ever resolved? How did these four meet anyway? As the lights fade out on the final scene, there is a feeling of uncertainty, but then again, isn’t that something that all teens face when looking towards the future? “The Black Suits” certainly delivers great rock-n-roll music that will have you clapping along and cheering like groupies, because after all, the cheering is just as important as the music itself.

"The Black Suits" is playing through November 24 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (9820 Washington Blvd, Culver City). Tickets are $20-55. For more information, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org.

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You can contact Contributing Writer Shaina here or follow her on Twitter here.

Editor's note: The article was updated to include the names of cast members Veronica Dunne and Jimmy Brewer.



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