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Nord makes '45 Seconds From Broadway'

"45 Seconds From Broadway" isn't your typical Neil Simon experience but The Phipps production has some charming moments, a good cast and some big laughs sprinkled throughout.

At the top of the list of good things to say about "45 Seconds," is the performance of Fredrice Nord, one of The Phipps' treasures. No one does stylish eccentric quite like Fred. From the moment she enters as Rayleen with the silent but nonetheless funny James Blaha as Charles, her husband, the Polish tea shop becomes a very entertaining place. What this woman can do with a bad outfit and a few minutes of sharp dialogue is the highlight of the evening.

While the play itself seems disjointed and tends to drag, the cast gives it their all. Jim Bitney as Jewish comic Mickey Fox works hard to deliver some very quick and funny lines. Russel Balenger, Shannon O'Brien, Marc Paez, Beth Reidenbach, Anne Spradley, Dustin Booth and Charla Bailey clearly give it their all to the point where I found myself wishing they all had more to work with from Mr. Simon. And making a very believable and lovable Zelda and Bernie, owners of the tea shop, were John Paul Hogan and Lori J. Martin.

Kudos to the set designer and technical director Mark Koski for creating a such an inviting locale, and to costume designer Deb Murphy and light designer Becky Hardy for their efforts as well.

Director Keith Isaacson has delivered several wonderful shows to Phipps' audiences. While this play missed the mark in many ways, he once again motivated a good cast to give it their very best shot.

"45 Seconds From Broadway" runs weekends through July 30. For ticket information call 386-8409 or go online at

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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