October 27th, 2006

NASA_bighead

You MUST see this show!

I'll do a full review later, but these folks need a big audience this weekend, and despite the hefty $22 price tag and the Santa Clara location, Gilligan's Iland - The Musical is a must-see.

2- minute wrap-up:
Every member of the cast can sing, act and dance at a professional level.
Most of the music is excellent, above par tunefulness for a B'way musical
Superb directing & choreography (Keeping it simple)
Take the TV series, add great writing, much more character depth, and a love story which will bring tears to your eyes.
Beautiful new professional-grade theater building.
Ginger.
Mary Ann

Actors Theater Center
Mission City Center for the Performing Arts
3250 Monroe St. (near Wilcox High School - between Bowers and Lawrence Expwy)
Santa Clara
408-985-5500 or online at http://www.theatrecenter.biz/id123.html

This Fri-Sat 8 pm
Fri  -  Oct 27th 8:00PM
Sat – Oct 28th  8:00PM
Sun – Oct 29th 2:00P
Tue – Oct 31st 8:00PM
Thu – Nov 2nd 8:00PM
Fri – Nov 3rd 8:00PM
Sat – Nov 4th 8:30PM (Note time) - Closing

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NASA_bighead

As Promised

Actors Theater Center's production of Gilligan's Island - The Musical is one of the best community theater shows I have ever seen. This cast could easily have become the touring company if it was not for the minor issue of most of them having day jobs. Staged at the brand new Mission City Center for the Performing Arts,  you could not ask for a nicer venue.

Let me get my gripes out of the way first, and then I'll move on to the good stuff. First gripe: I hate shows which are miked, especially ones like this which do not need to be. They chose tacky looking mikes which tape to the side of the face. Yuk. The Professor's mike was always too loud, and they used a system which sent the sound out the same speakers no matter where the actor was on stage. Annoying. The theater is well-designed, has great acoustics, and the "orchestra" was smaller than the cast, so there was no need for artificial amplification.

Second gripe: The orchestra sounded like a piano, two drum sets and a kazoo. According to the program the kazoo was actually two people on clarinet, flute, soprano sax and tenor sax, and there was a bass and a guitar. I couldn't hear the bass or guitar at all. Frankly, this show would have sounded best with a piano and a couple of percussionists. With a small cast you don't want or need more.

Third gripe: The sets could have been better. The bamboo huts were superb, but the rest of the set pieces were small and better suited to a black box production than to a Broadway-sized stage. They made a lot of use of the flys and scrim, but not particularly good use. Everything could have been bigger and more solidly built (except for the huts which were fine).

Flame off.

While the sets were made for a smaller stage, and were not all solid enough (cave drawing walls should not shake when the Skipper steps into the cave) the art work on them is fabulous. I wanted to see more and bigger partly because what was there is so pretty.

The show was written by the creators of the TV show, so it is no surprise the musical is true to the TV series...in every way except one. All the castaways have a love story (except the poor lonely captain.) There is actual kissing.

Edit add: How could I have left this out? Costumes were spot on, and there are a lot of costume changes for the Howells, especially, who go through a series of elegant attire. Ginger starts out in a swanky peach colored body-clinging full-length gown, changes into that sexy sarong kit, and also shows up in a white full-length gown with the SS Minnow name up the right side - made from the sail (I think it needed some distressing though - didn't look like it had gone through a hurricane). Mary Ann's tied-in-front shirt, bare midriff, black short shorts made me fall in serious lust, and her red gingham poof-sleeve dress is right off of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

The show starts, of course, with The Ballad of Gilligan's Island from the TV series. The 7 cast members sing it live from behind a Minnow cut-out which they carry across the stage, looking vaguely like they are in the boat. The men all stick with the same outfit throughout the show, except for one scene where they add grass skirts. The alien's outfit is very Klatu Verata Nikto, with clever use of a modernistic bike helmet topping a military flight suit-like outfit.

The first number is a twofer: Shipwrecked/Little Buddy and while The Skipper (too) [Robert Shortly] has a wonderful strong bass-baritone voice, the Buddy song is a throw-away. In general I was disappointed with his musical part, it was just too small and kinda stupid. They need to write him better stuff - more melodies and less "oom pah pah".

We jump right into the first love story as Mr. & Mrs. Howell [Ray Doherty and Joanne Engelhardt] express their undying mutual affection with It's Good To Be Rich. Their part has been made deeper and more personal, and reminded me of the Broadway version of The Sound of Music's rich and in-love couple Max and Elsa. Ms. Englehardt has a particularly clear and lovely voice, and she added a lot to all the numbers she was in. Doherty carries a tune well, and held his own.
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Actors Theater Center
Mission City Center for the Performing Arts
3250 Monroe St. (near Wilcox High School - between Bowers and Lawrence Expwy)
Santa Clara
408-985-5500 or online at http://www.theatrecenter.biz/id123.html

Sat – Oct 28th  8:00PM
Sun – Oct 29th 2:00P
Tue – Oct 31st 8:00PM
Thu – Nov 2nd 8:00PM
Fri – Nov 3rd 8:00PM
Sat – Nov 4th 8:30PM (Note time) - Closing

$22 per person, senior/student discount. Also, check Artsopolis - they had a half price special  Thursday, maybe they will do it again. And note the special Halloween performance.