(Little Black Dress The Musical cast members, from left, Jennette Cronk, Clint Hromsco, Danielle Trzcinski and Jenna Cormey performing at The Chrysler Theatre in Windsor, Ontario, on Saturday, February 8, 2020. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes on Windsor.)
“A little black dress is feminine and chic, whenever you want to impress.” Such is how New York-based comedian, actress and playwright Danielle Trzcinski, in Little Black Dress, the Musical, defines life in an LBD. Trzcinski and her troupe of actors, Jennette Cronk, Jenna Cormey and Clint Hromsco were live at the Chrysler Theatre on Saturday night to perform their story of how two friends, Mandy and Dee, live life to the fullest wearing little more than a tiny black, but so appropriate, dress, the ubiquitous, and universal fashion statement.
The ensemble cast works wonders on the audience’s funny bone with a sequence of skits that all revolve around their attire, except for Hromsco, who is often out of his attire and into his BVDs or dressed as the fourth woman in the play, which he does remarkably well.
Without question, the musical, written by women for women, proves that there is rarely an occasion that is not suitable for the ever-popular fashion staple, be it weddings, job interviews, first dates and, of course, first awkward sexual experiences, experience with an “s” because the show throws in some improv just when it is not expected.
Trzcinski wanders into the audience for a first hand report on a gal’s first kiss. The gal, Jennifer, remembers it happening in Eastern Ontario when she was 12, on her boyfriend’s couch, when the house was parentally empty. With a bag of information on the experience, the cast improvises the scene to gale force winds of laughter from an audience largely composed on women having a girls’ night out. With a generous portion wearing their own fabulous LBDs including Heather who is brought on stage as the fifth cast member and plays nicely right along with the actors. Neither her or Jennifer, it is revealed, are plants. It is all unrehearsed and it is beautiful.
Such moments should not be unexpected given Trzcinski spends much of her time doing improv as well as stand-up comedy in Gotham and has also appeared in Last Comic Standing.
Improv can be dangerous, like high wire walking without a net, because so much of it relies on the quick thinking of the cast who operate without a highly practiced script. But, not a problem for this quartet.
Woven into the hilarity is a poignant story in the life of Best Friends Forever Dee, played by Trzcinski herself, and Cronk in the role of Mandy. Stretched out over the milestones of a number of decades, the play follows their entwined lives and the promise they make, when they were 13, to travel together to Paris.
Unfortunately, life’s little events, like Dee’s pregnancy, a time for a Big Black Dress, scuttle their plans. A very poignant segment is the death of Dee’s mother, one of the many roles of Cormey. It is also an appropriate time for the black dress.
On tour with Spank, The Fifty Shades Parody, Trzcinski tells Eyes On Windsor she noticed an almost all female audience filled the house. It convinced her of the viability of a show directed to a woman’s sensitivities. It was launched in Toronto, which is also the home of its production company, Primerica Productions, and features the writing of Trzcinski along with Amanda Barker, Natalie Tenenbaum and Christopher Bond.
And what is an LBD without music. All of it is original, written by Trzcinski and Tenenbaum, and all of it is amiable causing a lot of hand clapping and humming along spurred by occasional drop in lines from popular pop tunes.
Drop in lines to the script also add a local element to the evening. Windsor restaurants and stores are mentioned with such fluidity it is impossible to think the cast are not hidden Windsorites. An example, at one point, when one of the actors sports a particularly stunning LBD, she is asked if she has a “hot date in Harrow.” This familiar name placement further endears the cast to the audience.
Other lines elicit a “how did she know” look from many in the audience, particularly when Maddy admits to never having officially made out with a boy, but, technically was quite experienced having often kissed the Alex Baldwin poster on her bedroom wall. Most likely this was the “Whaddya gonna do about it” version of the famed star in the 1988 Orion motion picture Married to the Mob.
After their Chrysler Theatre appearance, the troupe travels to La Mirada, California. Details of the show can be found at www.littleblackdressthemusical.com
Upcoming shows at The Chrysler Theatre include more improv in Tony and Tina’s Wedding and Dinner Show (Feb 15), Actor Comedian Shaun Majumder (Feb 23), Award Winning Canadian Country Music Star Meghan Patrick: Wild As Me Tour (Feb 29), and Disney’s High School Musical Jr. (March 2) for more information visit https://www.chryslertheatre.com
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.