by Terrance V. Mc Arthur
Remember the movie Calamity Jane? Doris Day and Howard Keel? The Oscar-winning song “Secret Love?” Haven’t you ever thought, “I’d love to see that on stage?”
Well, now you can. The Good Company Players have brought Calamity Jane to Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre through September 16.
Remember Louise Mandrell? The Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters TV show? Not Barbara, the blonde. Not Irlene, the youngest. Louise, the pretty one. Remember?
Good Company has done something different, brought in a headliner to star in a show, and the results are….electrifying!
Louise Mandrell bustles about the little Dinner Theatre stage with enthusiasm, joy, and enough energy to power a passel of Osmonds. She’s happy to be there, and by the end of the show you’re mighty happy that she’s there. She even comes out to graciously sign autographs for old and new fans, even fanning herself with a program as she chats with the crowd.
Dan Pessano, founder of GCP and a member of the cast, says, “Louise is amazing! Her work ethic during the rehearsal period was a lesson to anyone who actually wants to become a professional. She has been generous and giving of her time in all media interviews, because she wants Good Company Players to benefit from the wonderful gift of her appearance in Calamity Jane. For those of us who get to share the stage with her we are blessed by working with a fully committed, extraordinarily-talented, professional performer.”
The show is loosely based on Martha Jane Canary, a frontier scout and friend of Wild Bill Hickock (Brian Pucheu) in the town of Deadwood, and she’s sweet on a dashing U.S. Cavalry officer (Teddy Maldonado). When the local saloon/theatre-owner (Dan Pessano) brings in a performer who is not what was advertised, Calamity vows to bring back a legendary actress to Deadwood, but she winds up with Katie Brown (Emily Pessano), a maid with dreams of stardom. When the lieutenant looks at the newcomer instead of at Calamity, fur—and bullets—are bound to fly.
ATTENTION—Blank cartridges will be fired in the production…frequently. The military budget for this show may be larger than that of Vatican City.
Director Laurie Pessano surrounds Mandrell with solid stock from the Good Company stables. Dan, an inveterate scene-stealer, is on his best behavior as Henry “Millie” Miller, the bar owner, expecting the worst from every plot twist…and meeting it with a gulp and a golly. Emily Pessano as Katie shines, as she has since childhood, working well with Mandrell on the magical “A Woman’s Touch” number. Pucheu goes toe-to-toe with Mandrell on “I Can Do Without You,” a song that shows Louis B. Mayer’s desire to prove that Doris Day should have starred in Annie Get Your Gun, which the Calamity Jane movie often resembles. The cast works together, and Mandrell is a part of the company, working just like anybody else on that stage.
Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, you should see this show. Whether of not you’re a fan of Louise Mandrell, you will be.
This news flash just in:
Demand for Good Company Players’ production of Calamity Jane, now playing at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater, 1226 N. Wishon at Olive, is so overwhelming that they have added 5 Wednesday performances: August 8, 15, 29, September 5 & 12. Don’t dawdle, cowpokes — tickets are goin’ faster than free sasparilly! The number’s 266-9494 or 800-371-4747. Y’all better call!
For more details and to always know what’s currently on stage at Roger Rocka’s check out their KRL event page.