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Scoundrels steal the limelight

Broadway hit portraying the antics of confidence tricksters comes to Segerstrom Hall.

September 01, 2006|By Amanda Pennington

After performing as part of the Broadway cast of the Tony Award-winning hit "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," UC Irvine alumna Jenifer Foote is happy to be back doing the same show in Orange County.

This week, she and the other cast members began their romp around the Orange County Performing Arts Center's stage on the show's national tour.

"It's fantastic," Foote said. "I was so excited to see in our itinerary we were playing both L.A. and Orange County."

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Under the direction of Jack O'Brien, the show, which is an adaptation of the 1988 movie starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, comes to Segerstrom Hall as part of the center's 2006-2007 Broadway Series. Tony Award-winning actor Norbert Leo Butz reprises his role as Freddy Benson, a charming but crude con man who travels to the French Riviera looking for money and women.

Tom Hewitt plays Lawrence Jameson, a smooth-talking gentleman who swindles rich dames out of their cash by posing as a prince leading a phony revolution. He laments the ill-funded revolution in order to collect diamonds, jewels and checks made out to cash.

Because of the show's popularity and Butz's award-winning performance, the spotlight is often on the leading men, but it's the women that create the opportunity for the scams.

"I think it's really easy to focus on the two men in the show, obviously, but if it wasn't for the women, there wouldn't be a reason for them to be swindling each other," Foote said. "They are their target, but what's unique with these characters is they're not just the obvious choices."

The three leading ladies — the production has six main characters where the movie has three — only seemingly get taken by the scoundrels, even if they do get their hands on the cash.

"They [the women] basically come out on top," said Hollis Resnik who plays Muriel Eubanks. "They are sort of the winners in the end, and, you know, I just love stories that have relationships and people talking to each other and have real true feelings about each other."

Foote explodes onstage as Jolene Oaks, an oil heiress from Oklahoma who falls for Jameson's princely act, but in a turn of events, tries to get him to marry her back in Oklahoma.

"She's a blast to play," Foote said. "She's very fun, she's just a ridiculous character."

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