Musicals in LA
September 30, 2009
Sacred Fools is Savin' Up For Saturday Night
Set up another round of drinks bartender 'cause every night is Saturday night at the Honky Tonk Bar and Fill, the scene for Savin' Up For Saturday Night, the first show of the season at Sacred Fools Theater Company. Written by Jeff Goode (book) and Richard Levinson (music & lyrics), this world premiere musical more than delivers on its promise of a good time. Relationships are complicated everywhere and love in this small town is no exception.
Director Jeremy Aldridge has assembled a stellar cast, beginning with Brendan Hunt as Eldridge Junior Paisley, the headliner and owner of the bar. If ever there was a role Hunt was born to play, it's this one. In his yellow stretch polyester outfit, Hunt sings up a storm, dances like a man possessed, and commits to his wacky character in a way that makes you love Eldridge no matter what his faults may be. After all, this is a man who slides down a pole from his dressing room to make an entrance and switches off the lights on his own sign when he storms out the door in frustration proclaiming, "The fun has left the building." All you can do is shake your head and laugh.
Natascha Corrigan plays Eldridge's ex-wife and singing partner Lucinda. Here's a woman full of sass with a singing voice to die for, and a wise-cracking sex appeal that spins Eldridge around at every turn. Their stormy relationship still smolders with unresolved passion and allows for some great comic moments as each struggles to get the upper hand.
The third character mixed up in love is Doc, the bartender, played by Bryan Krasner. In true bartender fashion, Krasner keeps the place grounded with his everyman demeanor and down to earth advice. He's the kind of man you can feel safe around and Krasner knows exactly what to do with him...now if Doc only knew what to do with Lucinda.
And finally there's Patsy, played by the lovely Courtney DeCosky. Sweet, but a little slow on the uptake, she's replaced Lucinda as the object of Eldridge's affection and is about to get her big chance replacing her onstage as well. DeCosky's got the pipes to prove she's up to the task. Her rendition of "She Wanted To Be A Singer" is one of the best of the night.
Rounding out the cast are Rachel Howe as first-time waitress Sissy, and Dave Fraser as grease monkey/piano player Roddy. He's one fifth of the terrific band led by musical director/guitarist John Groover McDuffie, along with Peter Freiberger on bass, John Palmer on drums and Al Bonhomme alternating on guitar. They'll make you want to jump out on the dance floor and join in the fun...and if you're lucky you just might get the chance.
Allison Bibicoff's choreography adds a sparkling layer of authenticity to the show executed by some expert country western dancers like Rhonda Diamond and Don Baker, who hold three UCWDC World Championship titles in the Couples Diamond Showcase and Pro-am Showcase divisions. Along with them are Ceasar F. Barajas, Mike Kluck, Gregg Moon, Gina Tucci and Natasha Norman.
The production team, especially Dave Knutson (set designer) and Lisa Anne Nicolai (props) have done an exceptional job of transforming the theatre into the country western roadhouse. With Priscilla, the stuffed Jackalope, up on the wall and bottles of liquor and motor oil for sale nightly, this establishment is appropriately, and happily, more than a little frayed around the edges.
Don't miss the fun. Savin' Up For Saturday Night runs through October 24, 2009 at Sacred Fools Theater, 600 N. Heliotrope, Los Angeles, CA 90004. Tickets are available at http://www.sacredfools.org/.
Photos by Jason Charnick