Dean Linnard

In ‘The Huntsmen” the doo-wop burns bright

A dark, eccentric play with music unleashes the tiger at Portland Playhouse

Dean Linnard, right, on the lam with Sharonlee McLean and Gavin Gregory/Brud Giles

Dean Linnard, right, on the lam with Sharonlee McLean and Gavin Gregory/Brud Giles

During a break between the staged readings of the new plays in Portland Center Stage’s JAW new-play festival in 2011, I caught Center Stage’s artistic directory Chris Coleman humming a song to himself. It was “Speedoo,” a ’50s doo-wop tune made famous by the Cadillacs, and it had featured prominently in a strange little musical play by Quincy Long, “The Huntsmen,” earlier in the festival.

“I can’t get that song out of my head,” Coleman said at the time. And I knew exactly what he meant, because I’d been singing it, too.

Here’s the song in all its ’50s glory.

I was a little disappointed when Coleman didn’t decide then and there to do the fully staged world premiere of Long’s play, but my disappointment didn’t last long. Portland Playhouse’s artistic director Brian Weaver saw the same staged reading, and he selected the play for the company’s 2012-13 season, and it opened with all its odd and disturbing pleasures intact and amplified on Saturday.

Continues…