||May 7th, 2009|
The Rocking 50’s Musical Soap Opera
by lyle e davis
The Welk Resort Theatre is trying something a bit different from their usual fare - they are presenting a home grown product, a musical comedy written by their own cast members and performed by same.
It’s at times a rather fun show, with lots of music from the 50’s - and when we say lots, we mean lots. There are 51 separate songs in the show with a rousing version of “Shout” as a closing number that had the whole audience clapping along.
Taking a cue from “Forever Plaid” (in which Steve Gunderson performed for two years in New York) the story takes place in a Laundromat in the early 1960’s. Cindy, a lonely teenager in love, played by a native of San Marcos, Chandra lee Schwartz, is beset with emotional jolts on her birthday, of all things . . . when two ‘guardian angels’ appear on the scene and attempt to right her life . . . both emotionally and romantically. Surprise, surprise, they sing a lot of songs from the 50’s in the process!
Steve Gunderson, one of the co-authors of the play, plays all the male parts in the “musical soap opera.” It’s a toss-up between Gunderson and Amy Biedel, who plays one of the guardian angels, as to who steals the most scenes. They both did an admirable job.
Melinda Gilb, who plays Marge, one of the other guardian angels, is also a co-author of the play. She was one of the crowd favorites as she laid it all out there in her brassy, red-headed fashion.
At one stage, Gunderson enters as a dorky character and does a pretty good imitation of Paul Lynde, the famous late comedian from Hollywood Squares; he appears later as several suave, debonair, James Bond types . . . as well as a nattily dressed potential suitor for poor little Cindy.
The strongest, most consistent vocalist with the more powerful presence throughout was Amy Biedel as Dee Dee - the Barbie type guardian angel.
The audience clearly anticipated more returns to the stage of Gunderson in his various roles and were never disappointed. He managed to evoke a number of good, solid belly laughs. The songs were, in the main, well done. Several were more shouted than sung . . . at least one was off-pitch - but this was only the second night of active production so that can be expected.
We dined in the Canyon Grille before taking in the show, and, as usual, were thoroughly pleased with the excellent food as well as top-notch service. A brief wait in the lobby of the Welk Theatre and then, soon, it was show time!
I’m glad I went. It was an amusing, interesting evening. The book and its plot may be a wee bit weak in places, but the music will bring back some pleasant memories to those of us who are in our middle earlies.
It makes for a worthwhile evening.
For reservations and information, call 1.888.802.7469.