OF THEE I SING

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING SCARY ARE YA?
Well we’ve got just the horrors that will give you a feeling of arousal.

The opaque furnishings and the gothic look do exude that creepy feeling of eeriness from the moment of entering. Hey, people come here to endure terror. Being shocked gives you a lovely tingle. Yes, I’m talking about that thing between your legs. Even Nuns have found it to be exhilarating.

Most people get the humor – others might become a little faint. It’s the blood you know. It’s a Scream! But, get over it. A little graphic brain surgery being done on a hallucinating semi-zombie is no big thing. Just let the lover hammer a chisel into his brain. But, I’ve got great news for you. To heighten the effects – the horror plays often alternate with comedy.

Here is what you get at “Thrillpeddlers – Shocktoberfest 13 = “Coals of Fire” (by Fredrick Whitney – Directed by Flynn DeMarco. Leigh Crow is the Wife. The Companion is Zelda Koznofski and the Alternate Wife is Nancy French. You’ll really dig this: This playlet is called “I’m A Mummy.” It took some digging there. Music and Lyrics by Douglas Byng – Directed and Choreographed by Cindy Goldfield and Accompanied by Steve Bolinger. You will get to meet Mr. And Mrs. Mummy. (Jim Jeske and Annie Larson.)

Maybe you would like a little of “The Bride of Death”? Of course you would. I see you’re makeup – you’re already biting your lips. This play is by Michael Phillis. Based on Characters & Story Ideas by Flynn DeMarco & Michael Phillis and Directed by Russell Blackwood. Large Cast – more blood to spill. Meet Nancy French (Mrs. Offal) – Rory David (Ignatius) – Flynn DeMarco (Randolf Holcombe) – Michael Phillis (Timorth Truman) – Dalton Goulette (Alistair Maxwell) – Jim Jeske (Dr. Stygian) “Hey Doc – that hurts!” Andy Wenger (Roger Buntz) – Zelda Koznofski (Cynthia) – and the weird Governess Annie Larson. Do you mind if I take an intermission? O.K. I’m back.

Death defying Part Two. Oh, you’re here already – “Those Beautiful Ghouls” are just to fast. That’s what you get with Music and Lyrics by Scrumbly Koldewyn. Directed by and Choreographed by D’Arcy Drollinger and Accompanied by Steve Bolinger. Performed by Leigh Crow, Annie Larson, Nancy French, Zelda Koznofski, Bonni Suval, Michael Phillis, Andy Wenger, Dalton Goulette, Jim Jeski and Bruna Palmeiro. Next are “The Twisted Pair” but wait till I wipe the blood off of my clothes.

Yes, I’m one of the Twisted. But not of “The Twisted Pairs” by Rob Keefe. And of course, Directed by the Master Russell Blackwood & Flynn De Marco. Here’s the Cast that brings the darkness of the night: Russell Blackwood, Flynn DeMarco, Lisa Appleyard, Michael Phillis, Rory Davis (Flies and Rats). Yes, that’s what they are. Oh, back to the list Bonni Suval, Nancy French, Bruna Palmeiro, Dalton Goulette and Andy Wenger. If you see that there names appear more than once – it’s because they died and came back again. Dam those Flies and Rats, all ways nibbling at my toes! Oh well – the cast does get hungry. But, I’ve lost a lot of blood. Yes, the talented cast pulls out all stops, with an extra bucket of blood thrown in when necessary. Never mind the screwing of the Master! He likes it!

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-

OF THEE I SING

The musical score is by George Gershwin with lyrics written by Ira Gershwin. The book is by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. This musical romp lampoons American politics as wild and scathing as National politics can get. Hey, once in a Zoo – you stay there! What is it they say? Oh, yes – money, money, money!

Here’s the laughable story: John P. Wintergreen, runs for President of the United States. This all takes place in the 1930’s and a Parade is assembled to nominate “Wintergreen for President.” His Vice President is barely noticed by the higher ups. You know, just like it is in Washington now. Alexander Throttlebottom (the VP) is of little importance. Actually, no one can remember who he is. But he is the funniest. Here’s a note about the music: The Campaign song “Wintergreen for President” includes parts of folk and patriotic songs such as Sousa’s “Stars and stripes Forever”, and “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here.” That song was adopted by the Harvard University band as a pep song. The music introducing the French and their ambassador includes the opening bars of Gershwin’s own “An American n Paris”. I’m sorry to say – the play just didn’t make me want to jump right out of the seat. My take is that it needs to be tightened up. Trimming some of the show would not hurt – it would improve the energy.

In those days this musical was considered one of the most sophisticated Gershwin shows. Most songs included a large ensemble. And that was fun – but there is more talk on the stage than there is music. The original Broadway production, directed by Kaufman, opened at the Music Box Theater in 1931. That was followed by Broadway revivals at the Imperial Theatre and at the Ziegfeld Theatre. A concert production of the musical appeared at the Barbican Centre in London in August 1996.

There was an effort to make a musical sequel called “Let ‘Em Eat Cake”. It was produced on Broadway in 1933 with some of the music from “Of Thee.” Alas – it was a critical and box office failure. The show delightfully manages to show what suckers people are: I think it was Abraham Lincoln that gave the pronouncement “about not being able to fool all of the people all the time.”

As old as this musical is – it still shows us how ridiculous politicians are. What we see is what we get – “Fantasy on the Throne!” And of course, “there is the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’roll!” NAW! – That’s another show.

The Huge Cast was absolutely wonderful! Here they are: Noel Anthony – Brittany Danielle – David Fleishacker – Lexi Hart – Stewart Kramar – Ashley Jarrrett – Peter Budinger – Ashley Rae Little – Johnny Orenberg – Michael Rhone – DC Scarpelli – Stephen Vaught – Kelly Britt – Katherine Leyva – Anthony Rollins-Mullens – Skye Violet Wilson

Artistic Director: GREG MacKELLAN – Producing Director: STEPHANIE RHOADS ---Managing Director: JOE MADER

RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!! –trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

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