EDMONDS — These days, a lot of musical theater is based on the movies that came first.
But if you’re weary of Disney animation repurposed for the stage, Edmonds Driftwood Players’ current production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” might be what you’re looking for.
It’s not a children’s show. In fact there’s enough swearing and sexual innuendo to keep all kids but high schoolers away. And that’s part of the fun.
“Scoundrels” is based on the 1988 comedy film of the same name, which stars Michael Caine and Steve Martin. Their characters, Lawrence and Freddy, are grifters who prey on rich women vacationing on the French Riviera. The Broadway musical premiered in 2005, starring John Lithgow as Lawrence and Norbert Leo Butz, who won a Tony for his role as Freddy.
Driftwood veteran Jay Vilhauer, a fine actor and singer, plays the con artist “Prince” Lawrence, and longtime regional performer Will Halsey is Andre, a local cop on the take who serves as Lawrence’s partner in crime. Andre and Lawrence learn that a new swindler, the “Jackal,” is on the Riviera, too. That’s when they run into Freddy, played by a young and very funny Shoreline-based actor named Gabriel Ponce.
The suave and sneaky Lawrence attracts the attention of several vacationing American women — (the impressive Kate Kingery), Jolene (the talented Katie Gary) and Christine (the fabulous Andee Albert) — but he turns his attention to Freddy, who hopes to learn from the big-time grifter. It’s pretty obvious that Freddy is not the Jackal.
Not going to give up any clues, but the gags are terrific and the timing is good.
The show is ably directed and choreographed by Dan and Elizabeth Posluns, with a fine set of designers and back stage crew.
The community theater cast and ensemble can sing and dance. Other talented folks on stage are Jack Darth, Hyley Baudrau Gaarde, Mitchell Wayne Hysjulien, Sydney Kaser, Marshall Link, Laura McFarlane, Sarah Pousen, Carol Richmond and Jeff Strom.
The orchestra (the “Dirty Pit”) is one of the best Driftwood has ever assembled. The music is well-written, said conductor Mark Press.
“We recognize how well the show has been crafted,” Press said. “It’s one of those shows when Broadway starts poking fun at itself, and the show’s composer and lyricist David Yazbek — who did the stage version of ‘The Full Monty” — is one of Broadway’s top talents right now.”
Some of the best comedic scenes in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” include Freddy singing about his impending “Great Big Stuff,” Andre singing about Freddy in “Chimp in a Suit,” and Jolene, Lawrence and Freddy in “All About Ruprecht.” Beautiful too is “Like Zis/Like Zat” with Andre and Muriel singing and dancing, “Love is My Legs” with Christine and Freddy, and Lawrence singing “Love Sneaks In.”
Don’t miss this show. It’s Driftwood at its best.
If you go
Edmonds Driftwood Players present “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 12 at Wade James Theatre, 950 Main St., Edmonds. More at www.edmondsdriftwoodplayers.com.