Born to Win Review – Beauty Pageant Moms Go for the Gold

Daiva Deupree and Julanne Chili Hill in BORN TO WIN - Photo by Matthew Brian Denman
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Written by Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock, BORN TO WIN enters the world of beauty – in the under-five set. All is not peaceful as desperate moms fight to the finish to get their daughters the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Even if the kids don’t really understand what all the fuss is about.

Matthew Wilkas and Drew Droege – Photo by Matthew Brian Denman

Pinky is just such a mom – fighting the good fight and sure that her little tyke will come out ahead of all the others in the race. And this has certainly been the case for the last few years – that is, until the appearance of newbie mom Marge and her very pretty and accomplished youngster. Suddenly, Pinky’s dream may be circling the drain as Marge’s little girl begins to rack up the competitions as winner extraordinaire.

Julanne Chidi Hill and Matthew Wilkas – Photo by Matthew Brian Denman

But Pinky is not a person to give up easily. Even if it means befriending Marge and pointing her in the direction of Bobby (Drew Droege) and Bob (Matthew Wilkas), two beauty show specialists who can insure Marge’s child the number one spot in the cute kiddie race. That is, of course, if Bobby and Bob don’t succumb to a little bribe in favor of Pinky’s daughter. But Bobby and Bob have some other more pressing problems: their relationship seems to be going the way of the Titanic. At the same time, Marge’s true love is currently in the hoosegow for domestic violence. Everyone must rise above personal issues to go for the gold.

Drew Droege and Matthew Wilkas – Photo by Matthew Brian Denman

Directed by Michael Matthews, the BORN TO WIN cast works hard at the laughs, both verbal and physical. Reminiscent of classic Charlie Chaplin, the principals are sometimes run ragged while they pursue winning and each other. Stephen Gifford’s scenic design is appropriately sparkly and vividly over-the-top, as befits a true pageant. Fight director Sondra Mayer and choreography consultant Janet Roston join in the fun as the tale spins out of control. The entire production team does its best to emulate a real-life extravaganza populated by aggressive moms and their innocent charges. Who knew that warfare could be such fun? AUDIENCE ALERT: Most of the time, the kiddies are portrayed by empty dresses tossed around and about by their distracted parents.

Julanne Chidi Hill and Matthew Wilkas – Photo by Matthew Brian Denman

Above all, BORN TO WIN is a cute and farcical story which relies on lots of mugging and physical humor to charm the audience. Fans of the “Three Stooges” will definitely love the show. Don’t expect deep character exploration – but do expect chuckles and entertainment.

BORN TO WIN runs through March 31, 2019, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Celebration Theatre is located at 6760 Lexington Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Tickets range from $25 to $35. For information and reservations, call 323-957-1884 or go online.

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