Kudos to the entire cast and crew of Coronado Playhouse’s (CPH) “Two Gentlemen Rock Verona” for their successful pivot due to a last-minute call that one of the lead actors was ill. Not the opening night they imagined, but the old adage “The show must go on” was carried out, as everyone regrouped and confidently presented the upbeat musical numbers and related dialogue in this updated Shakespearean love story.
While we didn’t get to see the play in its original format, what we experienced was delightfully toe tapping and enough to know that we highly recommend seeing this show, which plays through August 7. Be prepared to step back to the 1950s and ’60s, with a black and a white checkered floor, full circle skirts, saddle shoes, and doo-wop music, contrasted by the Shakespearean dialogue between the characters.
Some cast highlights include Ria Carey, who plays Lucetta Outlaw, as she headlined “Why do Fools Fall in Love” with her amazing voice and spunky style, as well as several other numbers. Maura McMillan, who plays Julie, is new to CPH and had a melodic voice featured in several songs. In his sixth CPH production, Russell Clement plays several parts, and was last seen at CPH as Colonel Mustard in “Clue.”
Making their CPH debut are trio girls Camelina Cedillo and Marcy Ledvinka, along with trio guy Lu Garcia, who appeared in CPH’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” You have to love the creativity when the trio combine to replicate a motorcycle.
Credit goes to Director James Saba, who adapted the original text of this Shakespeare classic, along with Steve Gunderson, who was the musical arranger for this production, based on William Shakespeare’s play, believed to have been one of his earliest works. The two deftly brought the Italian play “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” to life in nostalgic 1950s America. The original Broadway production in 1971 won two Tony awards. The CPH version “Two Gentlemen Rock Verona” follows the original narrative’s plot, with all the expected Shakespearean tropes, such as female characters in male costume disguise, two lovers competing for the affections of one, a couple of kooky side characters enacting their own scheme, a loyal maid, and a Duke to give his blessing to his daughter’s wedding in the end.
This is the 26th annual free classic production produced by CPH through a grant from the City of Coronado. In 1997, under the direction of the late Keith A. Anderson, CPH started this annual free classic festival, and it has become a beloved tradition introducing classic plays to the community. CPH is proud to be celebrating its 76th season and hopes to continue for 76 more.
Don’t miss a chance to see “Two Gentlemen Rock Verona,” which runs through August 7, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm. Up to five tickets can be reserved free of charge. Tickets are available online at www.CoronadoPlayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 619-435-4856. Schools and organizations can contact the CPH box office to reserve large groups.
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