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Back to Club Indigo : 'Fade to Blue' is a redesigned, slimmed-down version of its Golden Theatre predecessor.

February 12, 1993|JANICE ARKATOV | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Janice Arkatov writes regularly about theater for The Times.

"Club Indigo" is back--sort of.

Although it's only been a matter of weeks since "Club Indigo Revisited" played its final performance at the Golden Theatre in Burbank, a new variation of the '30s musical has just opened there for a limited engagement.

"Fade to Blue: The New Club Indigo Musical" is a redesigned, restaged, slimmed-down version of its popular predecessor and what the producers are billing as the final installment in the "Club Indigo" trilogy.

"We've been bettering the show," says theater artistic director Gregory Scott Young, who serves quadruple duty as author of the book, director, choreographer and performer. Young, who also directed the previous "Club Indigo" incarnations, admits that the retooling is primarily fueled by his hopes to attract investors and move the show to a larger, Equity house.

"There's more of a through-line now," Young says, "more of a story. And with only 10 cast members, it's more affordable."

The original "Club Indigo" ran six months in 1991 and had 15 performers; "Club Indigo Revisited," which played 11 months last year, had a cast that fluctuated between 18 and 21. The band, which started with three members, is up to six.

"The first one was pretty much a revue, with very little dialogue," notes producer and cast member Carl White, who also appeared in both earlier shows. "The second one had a story which centered on three older ladies who come into the club and reminisce about what it was like in its heyday.

"This time, it's a single night in the club--and through the scenes, you get to know these 10 characters: who they are, why they come here."

Among the alterations--including trimming the song list from 50 to 30 ("too much of a good thing," White says)-- many aspects of the previous shows return here. Kay St. Germain, who co-starred in "Club Indigo Revisited," is back as the club's Eve Arden-type emcee. And such standards as "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," "Let's Misbehave" and "Night and Day" will be reprised.

"There are some holdovers, but they've been re-conceptualized," White says. "It's the same, but different."

White has produced all 19 shows at the Golden since the theater opened in September, 1987, but he admits that despite critical praise for its quality musical revivals, business didn't really catch on until "Club Indigo" in 1991. Operating on a shoestring budget, "we've got a staff of three--all volunteers," he says.

"The actors make very little; the lighting people and musicians also make very small pay."

White, 23, who met Young seven years ago when the director choreographed a production of "Evita" at White's San Clemente high school, enumerates his own duties: "I raise the funds, publicize the whole thing, am in charge of the telemarketing and direct mail, manage the theater and do the bookkeeping." It doesn't leave a whole lot of time or energy for acting.

"When Greg and I decided to split up the business and artistic sides, I started taking business courses--business law and accounting," White says. "I found I had an aptitude for producing; now I really want to do it. I want to be the Cameron Mackintosh of the U. S."

Although he still performs, "I don't enjoy it like the other actors do," he says. "But I love dancing--Greg's stuff is like a workout without going to the gym. And being in the cast, I save myself money."

Where and When What: "Fade to Blue: The New Club Indigo Musical." Location: Golden Theatre, 139 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank. Hours: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Closes March 14. Price: $20 to $22. Call: (818) 841-9921.

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