Born Yesterday

Sonoma Arts Live, Sonoma
Runs through May 12, 2019

Born Yesterday
David Abrams and Melissa Claire
Photo by Eric Chazankin

A timely piece about corruption and politics, Garson Kanin’s classic comedy Born Yesterday deserves some fresh attention in these contentious times, and gets a credible airing in the current production at Sonoma Arts Live. It’s also a story of a woman’s awakening to her own power and potential, and Melissa Claire starring as Billie Dawn makes the transformation both believable and fun to watch.

Junk king Harry Brock (Kevin Bacon) brings his mistress Billie Dawn (Claire) with him to Washington D.C., where he plots to bribe congressmen to pass legislation that will benefit his business. When Billie’s rough edges get in the way of his schmoozing Senator Hedges (Dan Monez), Harry hires journalist Paul Verrall (David Abrams) to give her enough learning to converse without embarrassment. But Billie’s education begins to unravel her relationship with Harry, as she realizes how corrupt he is and that his businesses have illegal foundations that run counter to the ideals of democracy.

There’s a sweet love story as teacher and student are clearly attracted to each other, developing into a full-blown romance. Verrall also gives Billie respect and understanding she has never had from Harry, or from herself. It’s truly a new “Dawn” as the sun rises on Billie’s self-awareness and appreciation of her rights as a woman, an American citizen, and a human being. …

To continue reading about this production, see the full review at Talkin’Broadway:
Born Yesterday