It must be something in the air, because this past weekend seemed to be the time for hilarious musical revues with more than a touch of sarcasm. In addition to Reel Blondes in Danville, there was OMG: I Love That Show Productions' "Disenchanted," which opened at Walnut Creek's Lesher Center.
This new musical takes original storybook princesses and shows how happily-ever-after can be a royal pain, at least according to this clever take on the princess culture. For mature audiences, "Disenchanted" features the prodigious talents of Jessica Fisher (Snow White), Amanda Denison (Sleeping Beauty), Shelby Olsen (Cinderella), Suzie Shepard (Belle/The Little Mermaid), Estelle Hernandez (Hua Mula/Pocahontas) and Ladidi Garba (Rapunzel/The One Who Kissed the Frog). The show only runs through Sunday, Feb. 24, so get those tickets soon at 925-943-SHOW or go to www.lesherartscenter.org. For more information on the show, go to omgilovethatshow.com.
A high-energy, laugh-filled Reel Blondes exploded on to the stage of Danville's Village Theatre last weekend. This latest incarnation of the exploits of salon owner Blondie and her crew is called "Back to the Roots" and has Blondie in competition with a new salon owned by a devilishly cunning man named Diablo.
To combat Diablo's carnival atmosphere salon, Blondie installs a tanning booth that turns out to really be a time machine. The loose plot allows producer Vicki Brooks and her talented group of writers, performers and designers to invent one musical parody after another, much to the delight of the opening night audience. For instance, "YMCA" becomes "AARP," led by a performer wearing a Depends box, one of the many "hard" costumes designed by Brooks.
Jeff Seaborg, who also directs and plays the Handyman, and Stewart Lyle designed and built a colorful, versatile salon perfect for all the silly fun inherent in a "Reel Blondes" show. Enhancing the action, especially the time machine sequences, are sound designer Scott Towne and lighting designer David Lam.
Seaborg certainly found the right performers to pull off the myriad characters requiring a ton of costumes — all the gorgeous creations of costumer Lisa Danz — and elaborate wigs by Rose Bustamante. Backstage must be one crazy place as dressers Sherrie East and Mardalena Smith quickly strip performers from one costume/wig and sent them back out as someone (or something!) else. Peggy Stratton, vibrant as Blondie, is the only performer playing just one character. Stratton has played Blondie for many years and just seems to get better and better. In fact, this has become a family affair for the Strattons. Husband Bob is the production manager and assistant director, son Brett is on the backstage crew, and daughter Savannah dances up a storm on stage in a wide variety of characters including a mermaid.
The formidable cast also includes Paula Wujek, Nick Quintell, Daniel Santero, Donna Turner, Min Kahng, Morgan Breedveld, Rebecca LaFleur and Danville Mayor Mike Doyle as Abraham Lincoln.
Wujek, who is also the choreographer, can't help but wow audiences every time she steps on stage. One of my favorites, which also introduced the video talents of Eric Scanlon, was Wujek's "Avocado" sung to the tune of "Desperado." Who would have thought that a ripe avocado could be the love of a woman's life -- that is, until he is found cheating and ends up a tasty meal? It's all hysterically captured on film with Wujek crooning her country tune live. Quintell, new to the "Blondes" franchise, makes quite an impression as his soaring tenor brought down the house in the take off "Les Miz."
"Reel Blondes: Back to the Roots" runs through March 9. Call 925-736-2858 or go to www.victoriasreelblondes.com.
Shakespeare's ultimate story of jealousy and revenge is given the Butterfield 8 treatment in a gender-reversed casting of "Othello," running Feb. 28-March 24. With the male roles portrayed by women and the female roles played by men, this unique production promises a highly entertaining evening of theater.
An opening night gala on March 1 provides a chance to enjoy an open bar and munchies while plying the cast with your questions.
The unique production features Ali Arman, Elinor Bell, John Butterfield, Beth Chastain, Julian Christopher Geritz, Kerry Gudjohnsen, Annie Potter, Becky Potter, Vince Rodriguez, Sam Selliman and Maureen-Theresa Williams. Call 800-838-3006 or go to www.b8company.com.
The Acalanes Performing Arts Department presents "Sugar" (the musical version of "Some Like it Hot") on March 6-9 at 7 p.m. at the Acalanes High School Performing Arts Center. All seats are general admission, and ticket prices are $16 for adults and $14 for seniors 60 and older and for students.
Go to www.ahsperformingarts.org for ticket information. Tickets are also on sale on campus at lunch in front of the main office. This entirely student-run production combines the choral, drama and instrumental departments.
Contact Sally Hogarty at email@example.com