Little Known Musical “Dogfight” is a Big Hit At SF Playhouse by Kevin M. Thomas

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Live theatre often needs our help. When they put on shows that are more commonplace like a “My Fair Lady” or “Into the Woods” that have a built-in audience.

But when they take a chance on newer or lesser known material, they rely on word of mouth. 

That’s exactly what the SF Playhouse hopes with their excellent production of “Dogfight” the musical.

They took a big chance bringing this show to the Playhouse. It was a little seen musical from 2012. But before that, it was a movie with River Phoenix.

Likely you hadn’t seen the movie as it only played in two cities in 1991 and came out on DVD in 2003.

048A27271But like the movie, the musical has an odd plot that is actually a love story.

A young marine enters a contest with his friends to bring the ugliest girl to a party on their last night in San Francisco. “Winner” gets the cash prize.

Our lead Eddie (Jeffrey Brian Adams) doesn’t seem the type to degrade women,  yet perhaps peer pressure makes him seduce Rose (Caitlin Brooke) into being his “date.”

Of course, Rose finds out the truth and had she had the powers of Stephen King’s “Carrie” at the prom, she would have gotten even with the young marines.

Instead, she takes the mature route and departs after a few hateful words. But that’s just the beginning of the love story of Eddie and Rose. 

The story blossoms,  as does Rose and becomes a truly heartfelt tale of love, regret and forgiveness.

048A27511At the heart of the whole story is the luminous Brooke, who shines in singing, highlighted by her character’s many awkward moments and her gestures. She gives a beautiful, deep performance and makes us instantly love her and want to learn more about the beauty inside,  the same way Eddie does.

Adams exudes charisma by the truck loads. While he has moments of being a seedy loser, his appeal makes him easy to forgive just as Rose does. If it wasn’t for his earnest performance, it might make it unbelievable for him to be forgiven.

Then there’s Amy Lizardo as Marcy. This girl is a powerhouse! She commands the stage the second she enters and brings down the house in a duet with Brooke.

From start to finish, “Dogfight” makes you applaud SF Playhouse for taking a chance on a lesser known show,  so San Franciscans can attend a fresh and exciting production, full of surprises and treats.

Show ends Nov. 7 so get tickets now at www.sfplayhouse.org.