World Premiere of “Lucky Ladies” is Game Changer

By Caitlyn Maltese
Elm Staff Writer

Last weekend, on Nov. 7 and 8, Washington College hosted the world premiere of “The Lucky Ladies (someday you will be loved)” written by Dominic Finocchairo and directed by senior Matt Ridge in Tawes Theatre.
The play was centered around reality television and what happens when the contestants are suddenly removed from the spotlight. Chaos happens.
Juniors Jesse Sengstacke and Allie Halt and seniors McKenzie Turnbull and Elise Musciano starred in the play as the final four contestants on the reality show.
This play explores themes of societal perception, love, life, and death.
It combined “the fun and charm of a comedy with all the elements of a gory horror story, [it]…is a new play that tells the story of four women who will do anything to make sure they are seen by the world, seen by a lover, and seen by God,” said Dr. Michele Volansky, drama department chair and associate professor, in an email to students.

Junior Allie Halt plays Cindy, the upbeat and positive contestant even when tied up in “The Lucky Ladies.”
Junior Allie Halt plays Cindy, the upbeat and positive contestant even when tied up in “The Lucky Ladies.”

After the Friday show, Assistant Professor of Drama Brendon Fox, director Matt Ridge, and playwright Dominic Finocchairo hosted a post-production discussion. Ridge talked about the “genesis” of the play. He talked about how during his search for a play, Fox noticed his passion for pop culture and suggested the work of one his personal friends, Finocchairo.
Finocchairo, a grad student completing the MFA playwriting program at Columbia University, was working on the script for “Lucky Ladies.” Finocchairo sent Ridge the current copy of the play.
“I instantly fell in love with it,” said Ridge. “The kinds of plays that I was interested at the time, and still am, are like darker, grungy plays. And this play gets pretty dark. I’m a big fan of dark comedies. It’s really funny until it’s not.”
While rehearsing the play, Ridge was presented with multiple revised versions of the script, which made it difficult to memorize lines as they were constantly changing, but that didn’t hold back Ridge or his actors.
“My favorite part of working on the play was working with the four women,” said Ridge. “This play is so trying, both physically and emotionally. So watching them become these characters and not back down to any of the challenges I threw at them was a really amazing and rewarding experience.”
Throughout the play, audiences gasped and laughed as the play quickly transformed from a comedy to more of a tragedy. “About two thirds in you really start to see that it’s really quite tragic. It’s a social commentary on life as we know it,” said Carolyn Choate, mother of Turnbull.
Finocchairo is a huge fan of reality television, and writing this play was a way for him to come to terms with that.
“It is incredibly superficial and fake,” he said. “I felt there was a truth to what it means to be human, to need love, or be lost. I wanted to see what that would look like on stage.”
Watching shows like “The Bachelor,” Finocchairo sees how the producers vilify the women for the entertainment of the audience. How they are, as he said, “portrayed as these shrews and…monsters.”
He took this idea and gave the women a voice.
Although the play had done workshops and readings, Finocchairo had never seen the play in a fully staged production. “It was kind of shocking to me. I feel like I know the play so well, having written it and living in it for such a long time, but never to have experienced it in that way. It almost reminded me about things about it I think I took for granted,” said Finoccairo.
According to Dr. Volansky the play will receive a professional production later in the winter.

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