by Nancy Holley
Special KRL coupon code at the end of this article.
Ring in the New Year with a creative experience at the Ice House Theatre as the Visalia Players presents Boys of Broadway,”a musical revue written and directed by Leeni Mitchell. Regulars at the Ice House will recall our box office smash opener for the 2015-16 season Broads of Broadway, also directed by Mitchell.
At that time, Mitchell was teased that perhaps “studs of broadway” should be next, and over time she began to take the idea seriously. Maybe there was value in a sequel that could give audiences a trip down memory lane as well as an evening of entertainment. The result? Boys of Broadway, an evolving piece of theatrical entertainment with input from actors, musicians, and, of course, the creative vision of Mitchell.
The basic premise? Two grand dames of musical comedy reminisce about their glory days and the leading men who held their interest and even sometimes married them. Who better to fill those roles than two of the Visalia Players most talented actor/singers: Marla Alberstein and Susan Mathews. These ladies have entertained theatre goers in Visalia for (let’s just leave it at that), and we never tire of them.
The male actor/singers are challenged to portray leading men of various ages and backgrounds as the ladies recall their careers. As Jim Luke explained, “As an actor, it’s more complicated because in this musical you are multiple characters rather than just one character.” Luke is featured in songs from Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, and Kiss Me Kate.
The mercurial nature of a developing script was exciting as well as challenging to the actors. Sergio Garza pointed out, “We wanted to make Boys of Broadway better than Broads of Broadway. The show developed and evolved from one day to the next. We had to figure out what would work and make the necessary changes. It was great to not have to stick to a script.”
The suspension of time in Boys of Broadway allows Michael Pena to perform several numbers that are his favorites: “I Believe” from The Book of Mormon, “I Won’t Grow Up” from Peter Pan, and “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” from Lion King.What more can a musical revue do for cast members? Mason Garcia sings “My Shot” from Hamilton and acknowledges his first hero, someone who was Hispanic and gave him a person to admire. Garcia noted, “I never had a hero. I want to sing this song. I look up to the man who wrote it. It has a lot of passion for me.”
The talented cast is completed by Art Simon, who appeared in Buddy last season, and Auggie Hernandez, who has appeared in numerous shows in Hanford and Visalia. Hernandez is featured in a number from Phantom of the Opera and also displays musical talent on flute and saxophone.
The cast and director are supported by Musical Directors Gail Conn and Brent Iden, Choreographer Leiana Petlewski, Assistant Director Jennifer Toledo, and musicians Ann Aakre (piano), Eleizer Sotillo (violin), and Susi Youngs (percussion).
The Players are grateful to Wendy Little Properties as show sponsor for Boys of Broadway and the following Season Sponsors: Family Healthcare Network, Graham & Associates, Lansdowne, Inc., and Martin Enterprises.
Boys of Broadway opens at the Ice House Theatre at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2018, and runs for four weekends with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on 1/12, 1/13, 1/19, 1/20, 1/26, 1/27, 2/2, and 2/3, and matinees at 2 p.m. on 1/14, 1/21, 1/28, and 2/4.
For more information about the Visalia Community Players and to purchase tickets, check out their website and KRL’s article about VCP. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 734-3900. For details about local arts groups in Tulare County, visit the Visalia Arts Consortium website.
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To purchase two tickets for the price of one, enter KRLBOB in the Have a code? box on the Buy/Redeem Tickets Reservation page via the Players website.