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‘Bedazzled’ a devilish choice to launch staged readings of films

Nate Herman

Nate Herman

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When: 7:30 p.m. Monday

Where: Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette

Tickets: $15

Info: (847) 251-7424;

Updated: May 2, 2013 6:03AM

Director Nate Herman is confident he chose the perfect person to play the devil in a staged reading of “Bedazzled.” Himself.

“It’s my favorite movie ever,” he declared of the classic 1967 Peter Cook and Dudley Moore film.

And who better to play Stanley Moon, the nebbish who sells his soul, than Herman’s buddy Tim Kazurinsky? “Tim is the perfect Dudley Moore,” Herman said. “He’s physical and he does accents wonderfully — and the Dudley Moore character changes from scene to scene.”

The Monday performance is part of Wilmette Theatre’s new Films for the Ear series. There will be a staged reading of a different classic film every month. Herman will direct each one “until I can cajole somebody else in the company to do it,” he said.

By the company, he means the dozen or so friends who dreamed up this idea at a party.

“It really is a loose confederation of old pals who’ve known each other and worked together in the Chicago area for the past 40 years,” Herman explained. “Actors love to act, and Monday nights are dark for most people. And these are all favorite films for all of us.”

Herman admitted that he has seen “Bedazzled” about 20 times. “I know every line in it,” he asserted. “I’ve been playing the part ever since then. I figured I might as well do it onstage one time.”

Evanston resident Kazurinsky is equally enamored of the comedy. “Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were deliciously funny,” he said, “and took great delight in doing all these characters and tweaking societal mores.”

He said that “Bedazzled” was “pretty radical for its time — sort of an examination of good and evil and selling yourself to the devil for personal gain.”

In the film, Stanley is granted seven wishes in exchange for his soul, but that sly devil, incarnated as George Spiggott, finds a way to twist his wishes each time with hilarious results.

Even though these are staged readings and actors will have scripts in hand, they will be moving around the stage. Herman is confident that nothing is lost in the translation.

“We choose films that are dialogue-heavy,” Herman explained. “They’re made to be heard. Especially in ‘Bedazzled,’ the action is secondary to the dialogue.”

Future readings will include “The Graduate” and “His Girl Friday.”

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