Sons Of The Prophets understuides b An outstanding Alternate Cast make a return visit to The Blank Theatre’s Los Angeles Premiere of Stephen Karam’s Sons Of The Prophet well worth a Thursday night out on Hollywood’s Theatre Row.

Michael Matthews’ direction remains every bit as imaginative, perceptive, sensitive, and flairful the second time around, the “B Team” having been whipped into shape by assistant director June Carryl, and since both ensembles are as superb as a pair of equally matched ensembles can be, what distinguishes one cast from the other may simply be that Team B manages to rock the Blank without weeks of rehearsal. Otherwise it’s apples and oranges, and both are tangy indeed.

So richly layered is Joey Hirsch’s powerful, in-the-moment performance as Joseph that it seems incredible that the charismatic young actor is just now completing his BFA studies at Chapman College. Remember the name. You’ll be hearing a lot more from Joey Hirsch.

Wolfie Trausch simply could not be more appealing as sassy younger brother Charles, the up-and-comer’s razor-sharp comedic timing just one aspect of his quicksilver work on The Blank stage.

As for Shauna Bloom, the L.A theater staple has never been more sensational than she is as Gloria, a performance that Bloom makes both deliciously ditzy and utterly grounded in reality.

Irascible as all get-out Uncle Bill may be, but Ted Heyck’s terrific supporting turn leaves no doubt of the oceans of love and devotion the boys’ uncle feels for his family.

As for Dale Waddington and Lisa Costanza as Females #1 and #2, the dynamic duo delight in multiple roles each, their side-by-side turns as a pair of gossipy locals proving a particular treat, though as is the case in the main cast, it’s Costanza who lucks out with the meatier cameos, both of which she nails—as a hilariously disapproving station agent and as Joseph’s retired kindergarten teacher.

As Timothy, Max Bunzell not only looks the part of a young TV reporter with anchorman dreams but demonstrates first-rate acting chops as well.

Last but not least, Alex Brooks shines brightly in his very first stage appearance, though you would hardly know it’s his theatrical debut from the L.A. native’s nuanced, deeply touching work as Vin.

Throughout last night’s performance, I couldn’t help thinking to myself how lucky I was not only to be getting to see two such outstanding casts in one of the best plays of recent months (if not years) but also that it hadn’t been up to me to make the final decision as to whom to cast. (Apples and oranges, as I said.)

If you’ve seen and loved Sons Of The Prophets anytime since last month’s opening, do yourself a favor and enjoy a whole new cast this coming Thursday. And if you’ve seen and loved the Alternate Cast, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll want to go back to catch Ellen Karsten, Jack Laufer, Braxton Molinaro, Erik Odom, Irene Roseen, Adam Silver, Mychal Thompson, and Tamara Zook doing their own unforgettable thing through March 29th.

Alternate cast performs again Thursday March 12 at 8:00.

–Steven Stanley
March 5, 2015