‘The Fix’: A funny musical with political bite | NevadaAppeal.com

‘The Fix’: A funny musical with political bite

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Fred Steinke (above) rehearses his role as Cal Chandler in "The Fix" on Monday at the Brewery Arts Center. The show dates are Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24 and March 2-3 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. at the Donald W Reynolds Theatre. Left, Rhonda Keen rehearses her role as Tina McCoy, the mistress.

The Proscenium Players are without a doubt the most adventurous theater troupe in Carson. If you don’t believe that, catch the group’s presentation of the musical “The Fix,” opening Friday for three weekends at the Donald W. Reynolds Theatre in the Brewery Arts Center.

This is not a musical of the “Camelot” or “Oklahoma” or even “Chorus Line” tradition. It’s witty, cruel, snarling – but great fun. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at American politics, at the Kennedy and Clinton families and all those in between. The hero is a druggie, his mother of doubtful fidelity but greedy for power, his uncle a D.C. political Svengali, his dad a philanderer who dies in the act. And that’s just a few of the cast. Obviously, this is a musical for adult audiences.

Veteran director Jeff Whitt says, “I discovered this play in the summer of 2005 while performing in the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. ‘The Fix’ was one of hundreds of shows (there) … We found ourselves singing the music, debating the story and deep in political discussions. I felt this compelling show needed to be presented right here. … As you watch our production, ask yourself, ‘Who is really in control?'”

The action starts with the number “Let the Games Begin,” a deft skewering of the Roman games and contemporary political games with the candidate Reed and reporters romping. Reed dies, and a funeral pays respects to him. But the widow, Violet, decides that if she can’t be first lady, she wants to be first mom. And her son, pot-smoking Cal, is reluctantly enlisted in the drive for the White House.

From there it’s grass, heroin and fun as Cal goes from city council to the Senate, with witty songs and delicious evils. Cal’s not the best candidate, but he’s all Mom has.

But that’s enough of the story. It’s the cast that brings it all to sparking life. Fred Steinke is Cal, and a fine comic actor he is, as well as boasting strong pipes. Mom Violet (Catherine Cook) is a lean vampire with good looks and another keen voice (who would have thought that Carson City has so many good voices?). The political mastermind is Ray Finnegan, who limps around the stage menacingly.

Rhonda Keen is stunning as Tina, the mistress of the games, and Chad Patterson is an oddly familiar character as the head of security. Kevin Gallegos, late of the Sporting Rage, is a smooth crime boss. Peter L. Coats is a powerful sergeant leading a troop in stage-shaking marching scene. And Noah Jennings is the young Cal at the end.

A six-piece band including Alan Catron, Russ Law, Katie Lauder, Joe La Chew, James La Chew and Kate Pope supply the rock accompaniment

Carolyn Tate is the producer, Liz Tonkinson assistant director, Meg Peart the choreographer. The minimal set was built by just about everyone connected to the Players.

“The Fix” book and lyrics are by John Dempsey and music by Dana P. Rowe. Orchestrations by Michael Gibson. The show premiered in 1997 in the United Kingdom, and was directed then by Sam Mendes.

Show dates are Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24 and March 2-3 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 for Players members, students and seniors. Call 883-1976 got tickets and information.

• Contact Sam Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.