I Remember Lou Explores Life Issues

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From l, Ria Erlich as Gertie Goldfarb, Todd Andrew Ball as Joe Goldfarb, Deena Russo as Gail Goldfarb, and Hisato Ma-suyama as Jeremiah Ford in “I Remember Lou.”

Blending discussion of serious life issues with comedy and song, the musical I Remember Lou explores one man’s life in an existential way. The production features both good performances and thoughtful writing as it remembers what is truly important in life.

I Remember Lou tells the story of Lou Goldfarb, aNew York attorney. Born into a loving though overly protective Jewish family, he struggles with trying to meet their high expectations, dealing with conflicting demands balancing religious upbringing, idealism, social values, and family life.

Writer/composer Alan Stillson thoughtfully examines moral values and social issues through articulate lyrics. His songs feature complex rhythms and construction, not the typical easygoing rhyming of most musical comedies. While the presentation mostly focuses on more serious issues, the ending comes out of left field.

The cast does a good job bringing the story to life, exhibiting good timing and chemistry with each other, though opening night jitters did cause a few problems. Laura Wolfe shines as Ann Perino, giving an expressive performance demonstrating beautiful singing. Deena Russo brings an understated vulnerability to Gail Horowitz. Supporting cast players Zedakiah Koterba, Lana Ford, Michael Segovia, and Hisato Masuyama bring high energy and personality to the show, with Masuyama’s fine voice underutilized.

Director Alissa-Nicole Koblentz does a fine job managing such a large cast, but keeps the action too static and self contained.  More movement would give more propelling energy to the production, as in the “Meat Market” number.

I Remember Lou plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. through July 8 at the Whitefire Theatre located at 13500 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. Tickets cost $28, $25 for senior citizens. Buy tickets by calling (818) 884-4284, or by visiting www.stillsonworks.com; save $5 per ticket by using the promotional code IDEALISM.

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