‘MiXtape’ and ‘The Full Monty’ enliven local theatre scene
By Carol Davis
SAN DIEGO–Recently I wove my car down to the Gaslamp District to catch the tail end of Lamb’s Players Theatre’s miXtape, a little 80’s musical review written by resident Lamb’s actors Jon Lorenz (musical arrangements) and Colleen Kollar Smith (she also choreographed) and directed by another long time resident player and staff favorite Kerry Meads. The young (at least to me) bouncy and energetic cast includes Louis Pardo, Season Marshall Duffy, Joy Yandell, Marci Anne Wuebben, Lance Arthur Smith, Leonard Patton, Spencer Rowe and Michelle Pereira.
The musical journey that they, as an ensemble and individually, take us through include songs from U2, Duran Duran, Amy Grant, Huey Lewis, Poynter Sisters and a few I recognized; Madonna, Michael Jackson (especially the dance number they did) and Billy Joel.
They embrace Generation X to its fullest giving us a flashback to the 80’s scene including MTV, big hair, leg warmers, workout outfits (“Let’s Get Physical”), a Richard Simmons look a like and an odd combination of period dress (Jemima Dutra) that, looking back was rather nondescript. (I had almost blocked that out of my memory).
Ronald Reagan was president. It was at the very beginnings of the dawn of AIDS, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded and their idol Christa McAuliffe (the first teacher to ride a shuttle) perished along with the rest of the crew, Atari, boom boxes and miXtapes all played key rolls in the lives of this generation.
A five-piece band with Andy Ingersoll on keyboards (he’s the band leader), Rick Ogden and Nick Spears on guitar, David Rumley on drums, Oliver Shirley, bass, played to perfection. Some of the band members were in that show for short times. The night I attended everyone was in full voice and showed no signs of slowing down on Mike Buckley’s industrial looking set with neon squiggles flashing every now and then.
The theatre is located in the Horton Grand Theatre smack dab in the lower Gaslamp District, a place I frequented many moons ago when there was nothing around but old and oft abandoned warehouses and the original tiny Gaslamp Quarter Theatre that Kit Goldman founded just a block up the street. The Horton Grand, now being used by Lamb’s Players Theatre (whose larger playing space in Coronado) was originally the San Diego Match Box Co. It’s being put to great use by Lamb’s Players.
Dates: Scheduled through the 26th of Sept
Organization: Lamb’s Players Theatre
Production Type: Musical
Where: Horton Grand Theatre, 444 4th Ave., San Diego, 92101
Ticket Prices: $28.00-$58.00
ESCONDIDO, California–The Full Monty hit the stage of the Welk Resort Theatre full force recently. Taking a chance and stretching its PG ratings productions, the David Yazbek (music and lyrics)/Terrance Mcnally (book) musical finally got up and running after one of the leads suffered a broken foot and the opening night had to be postponed. But, as they say, ‘the show must go on’ and that it did without any serious hitches, the afternoon I saw it.
Based on the motion picture of Fox Searchlight Pictures and written by Simon Beaufoy the story tells of a group of unemployed steel factory workers in Buffalo, whose masculinity is in question because they are out of work while their wives (in most cases) are bringing in the bacon.
Jobs in the community for out of work steel workers were rather limited and the need to find some meaning in their lives as well as help with the household expenses drive them to come up with a rather unique if not outlandish scheme.
When the guys see how much attraction the male stripper who performs in the local hangout draws, especially from their wives they decide to put on a show themselves and go the Full Monty. In other words, no Gypsy Rose Lee hiding behind feathers, but all the way.
The leader of the pack is Jerry, (Timothy Quinlan) whose relationship with his son Nathan (Aidan Hayek) is on the line if he can’t come up with his child support. His ex Pam (Sabrina Miller) shows little sympathy for his plight and pushes him to the limits especially since she has a new squeeze, Teddy (Cory Bretsch).
Dave (T.J. Dawson who came in for the injured Jayson Eliot) has weight and intimacy issues with his wife Georgie, (Nicole Winter). Malcom (Jeffery Scott Parsons) has a domineering mother and Harold (Nick Santa Maria) their former boss hasn’t told his wife Vicki (Stacy Huntington) that he’s out of work. And the beat goes on.
Overall the production at The Welk Resorts Theatre, under Nick Degruccio’s direction and Ray Limon’s choreography is enjoyable and fun, yet somewhat uneven. The men fare better than the women. Congrats to Dawson for stepping in at the last minute. One would never know he wasn’t there from the beginning and his is not the easiest role to play. We’re talking ‘bare-ing it all’.
The Full Monty the musical made its world premiere at The Old Globe in 2000 and was directed by Jack O’Brien. He later took it to Broadway in 2002 where it was nominated for several Tony’s including best direction (Jack O’Brien) but never went on to win one. Nonetheless, it was raved about, talked about and praised to the hilts.
See you at the theatre.
Dates: September 9- October 17
Organization: Welk Resorts Theatre
Phone: 760-749-3448 or 888-802-7469
Production Type: Musical
Where: 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido, Ca-92026
Ticket Prices: $44.00-$75.00