In the round we go
Music Circus kicked off this week—quite literally—with A Chorus Line, the classic 1979 inside look at the life of a Broadway dancer. It’s directed by Stafford Arima, who helmed the excellent Music Circus 2007 production of A Little Night Music, and, more recently, the outstanding production of Spring Awakening at UC Davis last fall. A Chorus Line runs through June 29.
Mary Poppins, which makes its Music Circus debut this year as the second show in the series, ought to have families lining up like wannabe nannies for interviews with Mr. Banks. Special $20 tickets for children ages 4-12 will make this production a particularly good way to introduce children to musical theater, and it should be great fun to see how the always creative California Musical Theatre producers make a woman drift through the air on an umbrella in their theater-in-the-round. Mary Poppins runs July 8-13.
One of the more serious of the Rodgers & Hammerstein canon, South Pacific, will be staged July 22-27. With familiar songs like “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair,” the real heart is in the direct address of prejudice—and in the standard, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” This is one musical that truly deserves the sobriquet “classic.”
It’s followed by Brigadoon, a fantasy in which a pair of American tourists stumble into a Scottish town that only appears once every hundred years. Of course, there’s love, love lost, dancing—the Scottish sword dance is great fun—and a magical happy ending. Brigadoon runs August 5-10.
And the rousing and racy La Cage aux Folles closes the season with an August 18-24 run. A popular play and film—in both the French version and the American adaptation, The Birdcage—La Cage is the now-familiar story of gay nightclub owner Georges and his “wife,” Albin. They’ve raised a wonderful son who’s about to marry the girl of his dreams—but, unfortunately, she’s the daughter of a conservative, right-wing politician. La Cage contains elements of traditional farce, but has its heart all over the true definition of family: They’re the people who love you as you are.