Susan Starr, Edward Johnson, John Lina, & Elliot Taylor in All My Passions. Photo: HAC

All My Passions

Written & directed by Vin Morreale, Jr.

A review by Keith Waits

Entire contents are copyright © 2024 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

There are popular culture trends that almost defy parody. That doesn’t mean people won’t try. James Bond is an exaggerated version of Cold War spycraft, but the character has inspired numerous satires (In Like Flint, Austin Powers). Soap operas are another example of self-parodic storytelling.

As people above 50 may remember, soap operas once filled the broadcast networks’ daytime schedules. Today, only three of them remain: The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS), General Hospital (ABC), and The Young and the Restless (CBS).

All My Passions is a behind-the-scenes satire of daytime television soap opera, focusing on a fictional show titled, of course, All My Passions, that centers on an aging lothario of a lead actor (John Lina) who has grown increasingly delusional from his 49-year reign as the top-billed star. He even legally changed his name to that of his character, Everett Montague. A letter-writing campaign by family values proponent Hamilton Bennett (Michael Schmid), railing against the increasingly high degree of sleaze dominating the storylines results in the network executive Newman Forrester (Beau Solley) hiring Bennett as Story Editor. The highly improbable action is meant to neutralize the bad press. Still, the straight-arrow Bennett winds up ingratiating himself to Forrester and producer Melissa Mulcahey (Shannon Corbett) and having an unexpected influence on the show.

In real life, daytime drama has also fallen on hard times, with the cancellation of iconic shows in favor of talk shows and Reality TV. Today, only three of them remain: The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS), General Hospital (ABC), and The Young and the Restless (CBS). For Playwright Vin Morreale to have made them his target seems curiously dated. Certainly, the sad and pathetic character of Montague can represent the dying, antiquated form that peaked in the 1970s.

The play was first staged in 2016 by the Little Colonel Players. It is difficult not to compare the two renditions, and, for me, this remount comes up short. Almost eight years later, the Everett Montague character feels more dated and lacks any real edge. Some of the playing is flat and the blocking lacks invention. Michael Schmid makes Hamilton an earnest, forthright character without being lame, Lindsey Vertner is a striking and confident woman who arrives late in the action, and just before the play draws to a close, the marvelous Rita Hight enters to bring some much-needed heart to the story.

The rest of the ensemble struggles but does find good laughs and a few moments of connection, and Susan Starr, Amber Hurst, and Angela Grimm make an impression as actresses rotating through the role of Juanita, a maid about to become the new Everett Montague, and not just because they are costumed as “sexy French maid.” Starr, particularly, does a nice Marilyn Monroe impression. The color and textures of Jill Marie Guelda’s set design are an improvement over the original production and Colton Bachinski’s lighting exploits those deeper tones.

The more interesting subtext of Morreale’s play, the examination of the relationship between the public and the popular media, is underserved here by the outdated setting and the over-earnest nature of much of the playing. As a straightforward entertainment, it is undeniably fun, but it lacks the snap of good comic timing and razor-sharp delivery that would make this material sing. Hopefully, this production of All My Passions will find some of that dynamic as the run progresses.

Featuring Shannon Corbett, Tracey Dunn, Angela Grimm, Rita Hight, Amber Hurst, Edward Johnson, John Lina, Vin Morreale, jr., Leigh Nieves, Jakob Rosenberger, Michael Schmid, Beau Solley, Susan Starr, Elliot Taylor, & Lindsey Vertner. 

All My Passions

February 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, & 24 @ 7:30 PM
February 18 & 25 @ 2:30 PM

Highview Arts Center
7406 Fegenbush Lane
Louisville, KY 40228

Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of Artists Talk with LVA on WXOX 97.1 FM /, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music, and visual arts. His work has appeared in LEO Weekly, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for