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THEATER: Ventura County | NOTES

Variety Show

Broadway revue showcases talents of college performers.


There's a lot of music and a lot of people involved in "Broadway!," a musical revue put on by the Ventura College Opera Workshop'

It features the college's Dance Performance students--50 or so onstage sometimes--as well as a slew of technicians and other backstage help.

Written and directed by the hard-working Gary Poirot (who is also preparing a production of "A Chorus Line" in Simi Valley), the revue provides nearly all the singers a chance to solo on tunes by songsmiths ranging from Irving Berlin, the Gershwins and Rodgers and Hart through more recent songs by Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman and the team of Richard Maltby and David Shire. Licensing permission to use the material must have been costly and time-consuming.

The show is representative, if not comprehensive, and adroitly compiled, arranged and performed, allowing that some of the singers are more accomplished in the Broadway style than others. (Character voices such as Michele Skankey and Melora Dacayana and various men's ensembles come off best).

But keeping in step during dance numbers staged by Julie Maechler evidently wasn't as strong a priority as the colorful costumes--the women's costumes, that is. The men all wear black evening dress.

The numbers are relatively brief, and there's considerable variety. So, as they say about the weather in Texas: If you don't like it now, just wait five minutes.

Pirates Invade Heritage Square--Briefly: Those who can't get enough of Gilbert & Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance," which was performed twice locally in 1995 and slated for at least two stagings next year, might be interested in a one-act selection of highlights to be performed Saturday night in Oxnard's Heritage Square. The show will be presented by the square and Ventura County Maritime Museum, and performed by the Orange County Light Opera Company. Heck, it's also a good way to avoid marauding trick-or-treaters.

"Love Letters" and "War of the Worlds" in Thousand Oaks: The Santa Susana Repertory Company will present three fund-raisers for itself this weekend at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza's Forum Theatre.

A.R. Gurney's two-character exchange of "Love Letters" will be performed by different casts: Robert Hays and Anne Lockhart on Friday night, and soap opera stars Wally Kurth and Nancy Lee Grahn on Sunday afternoon. The latter will be followed by a reception for the stars.

On Saturday night, the company will present a re-creation of Orson Welles' 1938 radio dramatization of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds." The impressive cast of television celebrities will include William Windom, Dirk Benedict, Alex Cord, Santa Susana artistic director Lane Davies, and--again--Anne Lockhart. Later that evening, the show will be broadcast throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara counties by KCLU-FM.

"National Public Radio has a 'War of the Worlds' that they make available," explains the station's general manager, Mary Olson. "But I believe that public radio is about serving the local community, so I would rather have a local production as long as it's done really well. I'd put this station against any in L.A."

KCLU has historic ties with radio drama. On its board of directors (though not affiliated with this broadcast) is writer-director Norman Corwin, one of the pioneers of the medium.

Rather than broadcasting the production live, which would involve expensive telephone lines and a specially hired sound engineer, the station will play a version digitally recorded during the live show, then hand-delivered by one of the actors to the station's Cal Lutheran University studio.

"Thank God we're so close to the theater," Olson noted with a sigh.


"Broadway!" through this weekend at Ventura College Theater, on Loma Vista Road between Ashwood and Day roads, Ventura. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2:30 p.m. $15; $13, students and seniors. (805) 654-6459.

"On the High Seas--The Best of 'The Pirates of Penzance,' " Saturday only, at Heritage Square Hall, Heritage Square (7th and B streets), Oxnard. 2 and 7 p.m. $12. (805) 984-6260 or (805) 483-7960.

"Love Letters," Friday at 8:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2:30 p.m., Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Forum Theatre, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd. $25, at the ticket office or through Ticketmaster. (805) 449-2787.

"The War of the Worlds," Saturday at 8:15 p.m., Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Forum Theatre. Aired on KCLU-FM (88.3) in Ventura County, (102.3) in Santa Barbara County at 11 p.m. Saturday.

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