Well known for their fabulous Broadway-style productions of such shows as "Dreamgirls," "Jekyll and Hyde" and others, Doma Theatre Company, owned by Marco Gomez and Dolf Ramos, has embarked on a new path – original musicals. Their new play, Dorian’s Descent, based on the Oscar Wilde classic, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” was written by Chris Raymond, Marco Gomez and Michael Gray with lyrics and music by Mr. Gomez and Mr. Raymond. Marco Gomez directed this new play. Michael Abramson also assisted with production.
The story, similar to the book, centers around the beautiful, wealthy, and enigmatic Dorian Gray (Michael D’Elia.) When his portrait is painted by artist Basil Hallward (Jeremy Saje), Dorian makes the wish to the demon Sofia (Toni Smith) that he would sell his soul and might never grow old, but that only the picture would show his age. The hedonistic aristocrat Henry Wotton (Kelly Brighton) takes the pretty young man under his wing and shows him the pleasure of sin as he introduces him around. As Dorian’s inhibitions fall away, he falls in love with singer Sybil Vane (Cassandra Nuss), but when he breaks up with her, he sees the first results of his sin in the artistic work.
Meeting Madeline Hallward (Lauren Hill), Basil’s niece, Dorian begins realizing, as he watches the picture changing, that he cannot continue with the life he is leading. Only when he meets James Vane (Tony Graham), Sibyl’s brother, does he take the effort needed to stop his sins.
Others in the cast include Johanna Rose Burwell, Kevin Corsini, Robert Glen Decker, Andrew Diego, Anthony Dooley, Jillian Easton, Kia Dawn Fulton, Susan Huckle, Michael Liles, Garret Riley, Jenny Torgerson, Tiffany Williams and Lindsay Zana.
Tania Possick, along with Mr. Gomez, did the choreography, while John lacovelli did the scenic design, and Jean-Yves Tessier did the lighting. Famous for its costumes, Doma once again outdid themselves with Michael Mullen’s designs. He was assisted by Jen Bendik and Jackie Gudgel. Allison Schenker did the props while Karen Sanchez did the make up. Ruth Gilmore was the portrait artist. Stage/production manager, Gabrieal Griego was assisted by Liza Miranda. Amy Francis Schott assisted with production as did Alex Favela while Susan Huckle and Tiffany Williams were dance captains. Hallie Baran controlled the props. Julio Rodriguez handled audio while Peter Matyas as excellent at casting. Public relations was done by Lucy Pollak while Fred Tatlyan did the graphics and Trish Geiger was videographer. Technical director was Aaron Lyons. House manager, Edgar Edgerly. Jose Gonzalez managed the social media.
The fabulous full orchestra, for which Doma is famous, included Conductor Chris Raymond, Yuhong Ng, Antonio Rodrigo, Logan Shrewsbury, Tom Luer, Steve Clothier, and James Blackwell.
The large cast provides many rich, complex and vocal harmonies throughout the show. The singing, as in all Doma productions, excelled, but the songs were long and often redundant, which caused the play to lag at points. I loved many of the songs – I think my favorite was “Open Your Heart” in the second act. Transition between scenes was not always as smooth as I’ve experienced with other Doma plays.
In all, the play was enjoyable, but as I said, often dragged because of the length of the songs. Shortening them would have made the three hours go by a lot faster and with more interest. Even so, Dorian’s Descent is based on a classic that everyone should be familiar with if not before than definitely now.
The play runs until July 20 and performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm with matinees at 3 pm on Sundays. The MET theatre is located at 1089 Oxford, just off of Western and Santa Monica. Parking is available at the Med Center 2 blocks east of the theatre. (5250 Santa Monica Blvd.)
Ticket prices go from $20-$34.99 – depending on senior/student, general admission and VIP (this includes preferred seating and a complimentary beverage.) Call 323 802 4990 for tickets or go to Doma.