Sugar On Stage At Roger Rocka’s

May 27, 2024 | 2024 Articles, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, Theatre

by Terrance Mc Arthur

Sugar is swee-ee-eet. The 1972 musical, based on Billy Wilder’s 1959 movie Some Like It Hot, based on Fanfare of Love (a 1935 French film), is singing, dancing, and laughing its way into the hearts of audiences in a Good Company Players production at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater through July 14.

It’s the Jazz Age, where the Roaring 20s becomes the Great Depression. Joe (Lex Martin) and Jerry (Jeremy Marks), out-of-work musicians, accidentally witness a mob massacre by Spats Palazzo (Peter Hartley) and his tap-dancing henchmen. To get out of Chicago, they dress as women and join the all-girl band of Sweet Sue (Mia Moore), bound for Miami, Florida. The band’s singer, Sugar Kane (Trinity Mikel) catches the eye of both Joe and Jerry. Jerry, in his disguise as Daphne, catches the eye of Sir Osgood Fielding (Erik Bako), a lovestruck millionaire.

Cast of GCP’s production of “Sugar”

Joe, pretending to be a millionaire and borrowing Osgood’s yacht, goes after Sugar. Will Joe’s lies come out? Will Spats find the boys? Will Sir Osgood be surprised? Who cares? It’s a musical! The music is by Jule Styne, and the lyrics are by Bob Merrill. That songwriting team brought you Funny Girl. The book/script is by Peter Stone, who created 1776.

Mikel was cute and bubbly as Little Eva (the babysitter who took the song “The Locomotion” to the top of the charts) in GCP’s Beautiful, and now she ratchets up the bubbly to Champagne levels! She’s effervescent, and Ginger Kay Lewis-Reed’s costumes shimmer when she shimmies.

Cast of GCP’s production of “Sugar”

Martin is suave when he woos Sugar, careful when in woman’s dress, and conflicted as he recognizes his own web of lies. His singing is clear and honest, even if the character of Joe/Josephine is not. He walks well in the high-heeled shoes of Tony Roberts and Tommy Steele, who played Joe on Broadway and London.

Cast of GCP’s production of “Sugar”

Although the part of Jerry/Daphne was created on Broadway by the smaller Robert Morse, Marks uses his height to his advantage, making Daphne more fullback than full-figured. His enthusiasm and charm enliven the part.

Bako is a scream as the millionaire chasing after the towering Daphne. His perfect delivery of the movie’s classic final line is worth the wait. The part of Spats in the musical is known for an extended tap solo that’s a killer, and Hartley hoofs it to the deadpan max.

Cast of GCP’s production of “Sugar”

Moore is lively as the leader of an all-girl band. Zachary Kelley is put-upon as the band’s manager. Malinda Asbury is lively as a trigger-happy lady hood. Maisie Van Vleet is no-nonsense as an orders-following gangster.

Elizabeth Fiester knows her business as a director, and brings the show in at full speed. Lewis-Reed’s costumes set the period and characters. David Pierce gives the set design its usual flair, including some moving panels that reveal, conceal, and make the action happen, aided by the onstage turning power of Bellhop/Busboys Tyler Bradford and Josiah Salazar.

Sugar is a sweet treat, but “some like it hot,” so it’s running until July 14 in the middle of a San Joaquin Valley summer. Catch it at any temperature.

Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater is at 1226 N. Wishon Ave. at Olive Ave. For tickets and further information, go to, or call (559) 266-9494. (By the way, do you want to know why the show is called Sugar instead of Some Like It Hot, the name of the Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon movie? David Merrick, the musical’s producer, wasn’t able to license the title for his production, although some later stagings use the film title.)

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. You can also find more theatre coming up on KRL’s Local Theatre event page.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur worked for the Fresno County Public Library for three decades. He is retired, but not retiring. A storyteller, puppeteer, writer, actor, magician, basketmaker, and all-around interesting person, his goal is to make life more unusual for everyone he meets.


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