What’s more delightful than one Prince Charming living happily ever after with his lady love? Three Princes Charming living happily ever after with their lady loves.
That’s what Showtime 2013 served up for audiences last weekend in “Doomstown Fractured Fairy Tales,” the story of a group of storybook-land characters displaced by a super-storm and evacuated to Doomstown – Showtime’s perennial locale for mayhem and madcap humor.
Leading the show was the trio of Princes Charming: Andrew Hyatt as the handsome original, Chris DeJesus as Harry Goodguy (a “prince of a guy” and Queen Victoria fan), and Abdullah Qureshi as the Caribbean Just Prince. Their lady loves – Snow White (Laura Velasco), Cinderella (Robin Burdick), and Red Riding Hood (Linda Clements) – were undoubtedly the most hip and assertive princesses in the history of fairy tales.
A crew of eccentric storybook folk backed them up: Little Bo Peep (Rosemary Huza), sisters Hansel and Gretel (Elaine Lewis and Hillary Brookshire) who can’t keep from arguing over who ate all the bread, a sexy Goldilocks (Carolyn Schuk), “Jackie” Beanstalk (Polly Halek), the Lady Who Lived in a Shoe (Rita Dietrich, and “it was a “reeeeeeelly biiiiig shooooooooe”) an extremely athletic Wee Willie Winkie (Arlene Rose), and a Chicken Little (John Fancher) obsessing about contemporary anxieties including the national debt and global warming.
Snow White’s seven dwarfs are now only five – downsizing, according to fearless leader Doc (Linda Sutton). Dwarfs Sneezy (Aine Kline), Quesy (Mary Kline), Crabbie (Janis Parenzin), and the French Cookie (Arlene Rose) stole the show with their over-the-top antics – especially Rose who channeled the comic talents of Steve Martin and Lucille Ball.
Where there’s a natural disaster, there’s government assistance. Bev Schuler – with a sheaf of Disaster Recovery Relief Reimbursement Release forms – and former SCPD chief Steve Lodge led the “Fractured” relief effort. (Lodge’s appearance restores the Showtime tradition of having a police chief in the cast of every production.)
Showtime’s reliable bad guys are on hand to profit from others’ misfortunes with EZ Loans, disaster relief scams, and a wishing well racket. Mr. B.Ware (Pastor Bill Schulz in a somewhat different role than he plays Sunday mornings at Resurrection Lutheran Church) and Mr. B.B.Wolff (John Peterson in a yellow suit that constituted in itself a crime against good taste). The villainy is completed by an Evil Witch Queen (Char Blake) who, frustrated by Ware & Wolff’s incompetence, decides the only way to get the Snow White job done right is to do it herself.
But the dastardly schemes are undone – as usual – by the untiring detective work of Sheriff Sam (Rick Mauck) and Deputy Pete (Pete Sparaco), who stop the bad guys and pave the way for the show’s storybook ending.
Santa Clara Academy of Salon Professionals students created makeup for the show -including Wolff’s remarkable “wolf” face. Members of the Roberta Jones Junior Theater, directed by Kevin Cornelius, provided lights, sound and stage assistance.
This year’s olios – variety acts – represented a diversity of local talent; starting with Santa Clara favorite Phil Ackerly, who opened and closed the show with his signature comic-magic act. The ever-popular Sizzlin’ Seniors dance troupe “put on the Ritz,” while the Chargerettes charmed the audience with their 1940s-style dance number, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.
Soprano Catherine Dietrich showed her versatility from torch song to art song – including a performance of Santa Clara composer Benjamin Belew’s setting of the Edgar Allen Poe poem Evening Star, which was accompanied by the composer. Soprano Diane Squires and baritone Michael Taylor performed well-known tunes from Brigadoon.
The Miss Santa Clara pageant was well-represented by Miss Santa Clara 2010 and 2013, Melissa Bowling and Molly Crawford, and Miss Santa Clara Outstanding Teen 2013 winner Tiani Hernandez and contestant Cheyenne Martin.
Showtime’s producer, author and director this year was Mauck, with critical support from co-producer Burdick. Pianists Kathy Smith and Belew kept the action going with their musical accompaniment.
In addition to on-stage entertainment, Santa Clara Women’s League sponsored a raffle, silent auction and plenty of refreshments (including wine and beer courtesy of Santa Clara Kiwanis). Over $10,000 was raised for senior health services, according to Women’s League Treasurer Judy Busch. “A lot of people thought it was the best Showtime yet.”
Want to see more of Showtime’s performers? Belew (www.facebook.com/benjamin.belew.3) plays original compositions and piano classics on Saturday, March 9 – email firstname.lastname@example.org for info. Ackerly (www.ackerly-entertainment.com) has a San Francisco show coming up, plus he’s appearring in an upcoming Creepy KOFY Movietime episode. Taylor conducts Lyric Opera’s (lyrictheatre.org) Brigadoon from April 6-14 in San Jose.