Kevin (Jamison Stern) is having a bad time! He’s broken up with his partner and he’s a wannabe but unsuccessful comedian. Kevin finds solace in the secure confines of his parents’ attic. Kevin’s problems are compounded as they occur in a COVID-crazed environment as he is consumed with disinfecting shopping bags, lifting a huge package of toilet paper and washing his hands multiple times.
Note: Weren’t we all?
If you are isolated, lonely, scared and insecure like Kevin, you can’t imagine a more empathetic, kind, joyous or positive person like your idol Dolly Parton (Tricia Paoluccio) to be the main character in your dreams.
Dolly Parton is Kevin’s cheerleader, encouraging him, helping him see the positive side of life, to like himself. The interaction between Dolly Parton and Kevin happens through dialogue and song. “9 to 5” and “Jolene” are just a few of the songs sung by Dolly with Kevin occasionally joining in with other tunes.
Paoluccio is brilliant as Dolly Parton. The voice, the accent, the laugh, the tilted head, the walk. It’s all there. Trappings like the big blonde wig, glitzy clothes and very high heels complete the overall persona.
Note: After the first few verses of the first song, ‘Burgh Vivant’s Lonnie the Theater Lady looked over at me and mouthed “is she lip syncing Dolly Parton”? Definitely not!
From her first appearance on stage to the finale, whether speaking or singing, Paoluccio is Dolly Parton!
Stern is wonderful as the unsure character made more insecure due to COVID and seclusion in his parents’ attic. He grows through his interactions, discussions and sometimes angry moments with Dolly. His comedic skills are highlighted as he dresses up as Dolly (wig, heels and clothes) lip-syncing as Paoluccio sings.
The set is detailed but not overwhelming and provides hints that the occupant is looking at a long-term residency (a Halloween pumpkin, lit Christmas lights, a coffee stand, cozy bed and work desk, a full-length Dolly Parton poster on a door).
What a wonderful new musical!
Kudos to Music Director/Orchestrator Eugene Gwozdz.
Direction and Choreography by Gabriel Barre.
“Here You Come Again” was written by Bruce Vilanch, Gabriel Barre and Tricia Paoluccio.
“Here You Come Again” is presented by Pittsburgh’s CLO Kara Cabaret Series and produced in association with Point Park’s Pittsburgh Playhouse. The show runs from January 12 – January 29 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. For more information, click here.