Hannah Jones in HLOC's "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"
Two musicals open Friday. In the newly renovated Van Duzer Theatre at HSU, the Humboldt Light Opera Company opens Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a jazzy musical comedy about two con men on the Riviera is based on the 1988 film comedy that starred Steve Martin and Michael Caine. Its songs—said to spoof Henry Mancini and other espionage movie composers—are by David Yazbek, who also wrote the music and lyrics for The Full Monty, another Broadway musical based on a movie. Jeffrey Lane wrote the book for this show, which ran on Broadway from January 2005 to September 2006.
The HLOC show stars Casey Vaughn, Bill Ryder, Hannah Jones, Jim Buschmann, Cindy Cress and Shaelan Salas. It’s directed by Carol Ryder, with musical direction by Molly Severdia, choreography by Lela Annotto-Pemberton, Ciara Cheli-Colando and Shaelan Salas. Justin Sousa conducts the orchestra. It plays Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through August 20, beginning with an opening night gala on August 5. Due to subject matter, this production is not recommended for children under 11.
Also on Friday, Ferndale Repertory Theatre opens the Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler musical, Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. With its implications of cannibalism, this groundbreaking tale of a murderous barber and complicit purveyor of meat pies was controversial when it opened on Broadway in 1979. But it won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, and accolades for its stars, Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury. After numerous revivals, touring versions and other productions since, this musical thriller has become a Sondheim classic.
The Ferndale production is directed by Diane Zuleger and stars Craig Benson as Sweeney Todd and Elisabeth Harrington as Mrs. Lovett. Also featuring Steve Nobles, Philip DeRoulet, Brandy Rose, Kyle Ryan, Luke Sikora and Elena Tessler, it runs weekends through August 28: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Friday August 12 is Date Night—couples get a complimentary Sweeney Toddy.
Meanwhile, the “extreme makeover” of the Arcata Playhouse, courtesy of the Arcata Sunrise Rotary Club, will be partially complete when it pauses on Saturday, August 6 for a fundraiser to help finish the job. It’s a “Country Cabarette,” an evening of music featuring Cadillac Ranch and the Lonesome Roses, plus guests that include Jacqueline Dandeneau, Rose Armin-Hoiliand, Halimah Collingwood and Steve Irwin. It all starts at 7 p.m., and includes raffles and a chili contest.
Continuing: North Coast Repertory Theatre's production of the comedy The Kitchen Witches. I review it in this week's Journal.