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With the kids | THEATER REVIEW

Nine O'Clock, on the dot

November 21, 2002|Lynne Heffley | Times Staff Writer

The Nine O'Clock Players are getting better and better. The all-female children's theater of the Assistance League of Southern California, the company has notably polished up its efforts in recent years, moving away from a less than compelling amateur history. It's closer to prime time than ever with its latest charmer, "Sleepy Hollow," based on the Washington Irving tale.

A technical standout, the full-fledged song-and-dance show, directed and choreographed with sure hand by Todd Nielsen, features a fine job by the cast, especially in such essential male roles as Nikki D'Amico-Vogel's preening Ichabod in cutaway coat and knee britches, and Jodi Gilbert's brawny and bad Bram.

The pair can't mask their femininity, but they succeed admirably in submerging it, and the quality of their anchoring performances is matched by Cecile Callan as Katrina, the object of Ichabod and Bram's affections.

The musical was written and composed with wit and melodic verve by Vera Morris and Bill Francoeur. Musical director Nick Degregorio gives the rousing songs a nifty blend of live and synthesized music. Douglas Ridgeway's picturesque village set, lighting designer Jim Moody's warm autumn tones and spooky night shadows, and Carol Onofrio's Dutch-flavored period costumes provide their own three-way harmony.

*

`Sleepy Hollow'

Where: Walter Lantz Magic Auditorium, Assistance League of Southern California, 1367 N. St. Andrews Place, L.A.

When: Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.; ends Sunday

Price: $10

Running time: 74 minutes

Info: (323) 469-1970

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