Free Compliments of our Advertisers
Sonoma County Gazette
Harry (Ken Bacon) demands a shave during his interview.

Review – ‘Born Yesterday’ at Sonoma Arts Live


May 1, 2019
by Alexa Chipman


Harry Brock is on top of the world after bullying a senator, henchmen and his girlfriend into providing for his every whim. When he decides that the lovely chorus performer Billie should be more than “eye candy” on his arm, the plan to transform her into an elegant society grande dame works too well. She soaks up knowledge and culture, quickly realizing that her life is a dazzling sham and her boyfriend nothing more than a selfish mobster. Set in a glamorous Washington, D.C. hotel, this sparkling comedy has held up well since its 1946 debut.

Director Carl Jordan has tightened the lengthy vintage play into a fast-paced story with elements of farce, filled with outrageous, entertaining personalities. The bellowing, dominant Harry Brock (Ken Bacon) blusters with enthusiasm, terrorizing his staff with constant demands.

Poor Eddie Brock (Matt Farrell) tip-toes around his boss, constantly looking for excuses to sneak away, often with amusing results. Helen (RoyAnne Florence) is the maid with attitude. Although her appearances are brief, Florence captures the audience with her unflustered, sarcastic reactions to Harry’s temper tantrums.

Harry (Ken Bacon) and Eddie (Matt Farrell) try to frighten Paul (David Abrams) and Billie (Melissa Claire) into obedience.

Channeling a cheerier version of Judy Holliday’s Billie from the film, Melissa Claire hums her way through the story, always on the verge of dancing. Her Billie Dawn has an inner joy that is on the verge of breaking through, but she is forced to hide it because of Harry’s preferences. When she discovers that her life is hers alone, that fearlessness is allowed to shine. Despite an outrageous wig, Janis Snyder’s costumes are fabulous, from colorful evening dresses to a slinky 1940s boudoir wrap.

Paul (David Abrams) falls under Billie’s (Melissa Claire) spell during her culture lessons.Journalist Paul Verrall (David Abrams) is an example of how strong masculinity does not have to be demonstrated by physicality and loud rants. His intelligence and unrelenting courage are an instant draw for Billie, who is fascinated by someone who is powerful in an entirely different way. Abrams gives Paul an intensity and poise as he moves about the stage, while imbuing him with an understandably nervous reaction to Billie’s sudden interest.

A bold teal scenic design by Jason Jamerson incorporates the theater’s permanent gold proscenium arch as if it is part of the hotel. The result opens up the stage, creating the illusion of a spacious area for the action.

Ed (Richard Kerrigan) shares a light-hearted moment with Billie (Melissa Claire).‘Born Yesterday’ is an animated, empowering story of what happens when women are given the education and space to become their best selves. It has moments of silliness and horror, maintaining a healthy balance between the two. Have a few laughs and enjoy this talented ensemble at Sonoma Arts Live.

Born Yesterday

Presented by Sonoma Arts Live through May 12, 2019
Thur/Fri/Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 2:00pm
Tickets: $28-40

Rotary Stage in Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center
276 East Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476
(866) 710-8942

Photos by Eric Chazankin

Author Website -

Travel Blog -
Twitter / Instagram / Facebook - alexachipman
Alexa Chipman Live Theater reviews


Login to Make a Comment

Please support our sponsors:

City Ventures New Homes in Santa Rosa

CLICK on this ad to LEARN about NEW HOMES in TWO Communities in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County

2019 Small Shops of Sonoma County

Your GUIDE to Locally-owned businesses to support Sonoma County's economy this Holiday Season

BeeKind of Sebastopol

Come VISIT our STORE in Sebastopol at 921 Gravenstein Hwy South. TASTE our Honey! YUM!

Fine Tree Care - Sonoma County Tree Services

Visit Fine Tree Care WEBSITE for a List of our SERVICES - Testimonials and to request a FREE Estimate

LOCAL GUIDE to Cannabis Dispensaries and Delivery Services, Sonoma County & Beyond.

LOCAL GUIDE to Cannabis Dispensaries and Delivery Services, Sonoma County & Beyond.All dispensaries have verified their information.

Locally-Owned Jewelry Businesses in Sonoma County

Find Goldsmiths and Jewelers who create custom designs, offer jewelry repair, estate appraisals, and gems.

Bookstores of Sonoma County - LOCAL GUIDE

Find a LOCALLY-OWNED Bookstore near you - CLICK HERE

Flower Shops and Florists of Sonoma County

Please support locally-owned businesses and tell them the Gazette sent you - THANK YOU!