Dogfight On Stage in Visalia

Feb 3, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Theatre

by Nancy Holley

Special KRL coupon code at the end of this article.

Dogfight, a new musical, is coming to the Ice House Theatre in Visalia. Dogfight premiered Off-Broadway in 2012. After its Off-Broadway premier, Musical Theatre International described Dogfight as hauntingly beautiful. The show has since had premiers in England, Australia, and Holland.

Eddie Birdlace and his two buddies, Bernstein and Boland, launch themselves on a night of debauchery before setting sail for Vietnam. They decide to attend a “dogfight”, a party where guys compete to bring the ugliest date. If you have ever thought that something was hilarious in the making only to realize it was cruel in the taking, you will have empathy with Birdlace as Dogfight unfolds.


Visalia Players cast of DOGFIGHT

Auggie Hernandez describes his character, Birdlace, as “the alpha male of his group of Marines.” Hernandez emphasizes the many layers to Birdlace’s character. “His outward facade sometimes blocks his inner vulnerability and compassion.”

Rose portrayed by Sadie Pursell is picked up by Birdlace. Pursell describes Rose as “shy and awkward. She writes her own songs. This is the first time she has gotten any male attention and is very excited.” Pursell loves “Pretty Funny” which she sings after she has been taken to the dogfight. “I want to be able to take the audience back to their first heartbreak.”theatre

“Bernstein can be upbeat and goofy, but on the inside he is a terrible person. You see his true character when he doesn’t get what he wants” says actor Michael Seitz. Seitz sees Bernstein’s upbeat, goofy side as relatable, but it has been difficult for him to bring out the negative side. “He is so different from me.”

Vernon Spence, a newcomer to the Ice House, is Boland. “He is the worst of the three Bs – sexist, elitist, cocky, and mean-hearted.” Boland has been a difficult character for Spence. “It was hard to come in as the bad guy, but once I embraced the role, it’s been fun to be a total jerk!”

While Birdlace and Bernstein follow the rules when getting their dates, Boland hires a prostitute who is told all the details of the dogfight. “As one would expect of a hooker, Marcy is brash, sassy, and in your face,” notes Nichole McAvoy.

The young and energetic cast are very excited about bringing to the stage upbeat and poignant songs. A number mentioned by several cast members is “Hey Good Lookin.” Seitz stated, “It is really fun because you get to watch these guys try to pick up girls and see how really bad they are at it.”

Another favorite is “Some Kinda Time.” Hernandez notes, “It has the most energy and was the most difficult, but I love it.”

McAvoy identified the unique quality of the music, “All the songs are so different, and I really like that. They are so unpredictable.”theatre

Director Corey Ralston hopes the show will attract more males to the Ice House. “When we did Bonnie and Clyde, it was a good experience bringing more men to the theatre. I believe that Dogfight is another musical that guys can relate to.”

When asked about getting the rights to such a new musical, Ralston responded, “When a musical doesn’t get to Broadway, it is easier, and there are many great works that don’t make Broadway. This is one of them.” Ralston loves the music and the harmonies, but he hopes that people will be touched by the show. “I want them to go home and talk about it.”

Dogfight opens at the Ice House Theater at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 5, 2016 and runs for three weekends with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on 2/5, 2/6, 2/12, 2/13, 2/19, and 2/20 and matinees at 2:00 p.m. on 2/7, 2/14, and 2/21. NOTE: The show contains adult content and language.

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.

Check out even more local theatre reviews & articles in our Arts & Entertainment section!

To purchase two tickets for the price of one, enter KRLDFT in the Have a code? box on the Buy/Redeem Tickets Reservation page via the Players website.

Nancy Holley has been involved in the Visalia Community Players off and on since the 1970s, both as a director and actor. In 2010, she retired from 25 years as a software consultant and has since expanded her role at the Players. She is now Membership Chairman and assists with the Players on-line ticketing system.


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