By: Gracee Arthur
My friend Mary Lou (owner of the infamous Bad Cow) turned me on to the Malibu Stage Company last year. I am ashamed to admit, as a 28 year Malibu resident, I had never attended a performance there until 2010! I am now a subscriber to the 2011-2012 season and kicking myself for not discovering this gem of a theatre sooner!
Recently I attended the second performance of the fun musical “Victor Victoria” which was also a terrific film (1982), starring Julie Andrews, James Garner and Robert Preston; co-written and directed by Blake Edwards. The Malibu Stage Company production, which debuted on October 28th, is directed by Richard Johnson who also produced the play, along with Diane Peterson.
It is a massive undertaking for the little theatre because of all the intricate staging and musical numbers so kudos to music director Scott Nagatani, choreographer Albertossy Espinoza and costume Designer Danielle Horn. The music and dancing were lively even though the production still had some rough edges in its second night, October 29th. The glitches included some technical difficulties screening a lovely memorial tribute to director Blake Edwards. I am guessing a few weeks in, many of these “technical” difficulties have been remedied so the audience will be able to fully enjoy the fun production.
The play is set in Paris circa 1930 in the wild atmosphere of seedy back street nightclubs. Victoria, an out of work soprano, is convinced to make an interesting career choice which transforms her into the most popular act on the circuit! The musical numbers are impressive and a pleasure to watch, the costumes well turned out, all of which puts the actors in the zone of 1930′s nightlife in the darker Paris night spots. The actors are on top of their games giving pleasurable convincing performances with a special brava to Kristin Towers-Rowles for her brilliant scene stealing showmanship!
Leading lady Julia Holland has the vocal power for some great moments and Butch Anderson is charming as the confused lady’s man King Marchon. However, their match up chemistry was a bit off for me. That being said, this is an enjoyable evening at the theatre and I recommend getting to the theatre before the play closes on December 4, 2011.
Tickets for the production are a bargain at $25 and the theatre serves wine and dessert (donations appreciated). The best deal in town is the season series which is only $90 for 4 performances.
There are still two plays remaining in this season:” Kimberly Akimbo” February 10,- March 18th 2012 and “The Oldest Living Graduate” April 6th – May 13th 2012. Tickets may be purchased by calling the theatre at 310-589-1998 or online www.brownpapertickets.com. The theatre is located at 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu (just west of Heathercliff Rd.) For more information go to www.malibustagecompany.org