Nice Work If You Can Get It


Max Kuenzer and Sydney Hamil performing in Nice Work If You Can Get It. (Photo by Vincent Galicha)

Amanda McNatt, Staff Writer/Features Editor

     Nice Work If You Can Get It was put on by the Plano theatre department on Jan. 19 – 21 and had audiences enthralled.

    The show took place in the 1920’s and focused on a bootlegger named Billie Bendix. Along with Billie’s partners Duke Mahoney and Cookie McGee, her life gets tangled with that of the rich, unintelligent playboy, Jimmy Winter. With 400 cases of gin hidden in Jimmy’s house cellar and fake backstories, things quickly became complicated, especially when Billie finds herself falling in love.

    Besides the engaging plotline and raunchy jokes, there were many things that made the production unique and enjoyable. The mountainous amount of effort that had been put into the show by the cast and crew members was apparent through every detail on set and in the acting.

    The costuming was well done. It both captured the fashion of the 1920’s and made all of the actors and actresses look astonishing. In some cases it helped accentuate the tone of scenes. When Eileen Evergreen, played by senior Alexa Sananikone, sang in a bathtub, chorus girls came on stage with soap bubbles glued onto their tutu’s. Moments like this truly helped to capture the humor within the script.

    While often overlooked, the chorus was an essential part of the show and gave it the fun 1920’s feel necessary to pull Nice Work If You Can Get It off. They did an immaculate job of imitating complicated dance styles that reflected the time. On top of that, the actors and actresses in the chorus stayed in character the entire time, reacting to the main characters jokes and actions. This helped to make the show feel more realistic and dynamic.

    Sam Rider, who played Cookie McGee, was also a key player in making the play as wildly successful as it was. Rider did a flawless job in transforming into his character. He easily makes his character lovable, even though he was a crook and discouraged Billy from exploring her feelings until the very end of the play.

    Cookie added a new layer of humor to the show by surprise kissing both males and females alike and spiking known prohibitionist’s drinks. With an accent that could put Tony Soprano to shame, Rider truly captured and brought his character to life.

    Max Kuenzer and Sydney Hamil, who played Jimmy and Billie, respectively had an amazing chemistry that had audience members rooting for them to get together during the entirety of Nice Work If You Can Get it. Their portrayal of the hot and cold relationship was riveting and full of both passion and humor. Their reactions to the obstacles their characters face felt genuine and made the climax of the show that much better.

    The set of the show truly brought the actors back in time. The scenes were all framed by art deco golden linework reminiscent of The Great Gatsby. All set pieces were well done, the house they had looked realistic. The inside of the house was especially good. It featured a magnificent staircase and an area that could easily be used for a bathtub or a bed by sliding the two parts on or off.

    Although the show was rather amazing, there were a few minor hiccups. On the evening of Jan. 19 there were two instances where the house started shaking during the play. The actors did a good job of ignoring it, but it was apparent to the audience, putting them on the edge of their seats for a whole new reason.

     Something else that could have been improved was the instrumental music in the show. Often it was too loud and made it hard to hear the actors. This was especially annoying during musical numbers where breathtaking singers were belting their hearts out and ended up being drowned out by the band.

    Overall, the cast and crew did an outstanding job in interpreting and producing Nice Work If You Can Get It and deserve respect and recognition for their talents.