iGhost – A World Premiere
If you’re up for a “spirited” and spooky musical, set in an ancient haunted castle in England… this show is quite entertaining. “Spirits” harboring issues through the centuries, weave in and out of the plot, in this contemporized “take” on Oscar Wilde’s classic, The Canterville Ghost. A long time in development and full of “chills and chuckles,” it was written playfully by Doug Haverty (Book) and Adryan Russ (Music)… who also co-wrote the clever song lyrics. The storyline is most unlikely… but a lot of fun! Who doesn’t like a ghostly fairytale with a happy ending? Under the ambitious and lively direction of the multi-award winning Jules Aaron, an enthusiastic cast of thirteen gives animated and worthy performances. Though I did enjoy this unique production, I must note that it felt about 20 minutes too long. Trimming it down I think, would strengthen its overall magic… but the house was jam packed on the night I attended. As the play opens, a young art student from Idaho, here to pursue her artistic passion in an inspiring setting, is chosen to spend some time in this 400 year old castle. Inquisitive, fearless, and wise beyond her years, she touches the hearts and lives of the inhabitants (Dead or Alive) of the Canterville Castle. Nearly “stealing the show,” Rebecca Johnson is infectiously captivating! Talented and madly loveable… this young dynamo is a star in the making!
Greeted by the young Duke of Canterbury (an excellent and endearing Zachary Ford) and the quirky elderly castle caretakers (Bonnie Snyder and Paul Zeglar… a ditzy and delightful duo), Virginia is drawn into the castle’s ancient history. Simon, the castle’s owner, is the ghost of a 99 year curse (a powerful Peter Welkin) placed on him by his deceased wife, Lucinda (a haunting Dorrie Braun), for whom he still “carries a torch.” To tell you much more would spoil your fun… during this chillingly ghostly lark. A versatile and standout cast of seven ensemble players weave in and out of the story, in multiple roles. They are: Andrew Appel, Erin Carter, Kayla Dillman, Courtney Freed, Matthew Frow, Tyler Milliron and R. Scott Thompson. Wonderful vocalists all! Mood setting “Production Congrats” are in order to: Richard Berent (musical director), Allison Bibicoff (choreography), Angela Eads (costumes), J.C. Gafford (set & lighting) and Marika Tjelios (sound design). A fun loving evening, loaded with charming storytelling songs, and “feel good moments”… this play is worth far more than the mere $20 admission! Try to catch it!
Running through June 18 at The Lyric Theatre located at 520 N. La Brea in Los Angeles. For seats, call the box office at (626) 695-8283.
Fond Footnote from the Authors
“The authors would like to dedicate this world premiere to the memory of Betty Garrett, who took us under her incandescent wings, and encouraged and supported us through the development of this musical…”
Looking forward to next weekend! I’ll be seeing two productions for “review.” On Friday, I’ll catch a classic melodrama called “The Poor of New York”, at Lonny Chapman Theatre… and on Saturday, the long anticipated comedy, “Sex and Education”, at The Victory, starring Maria Gobetti. Until we meet again… Enjoy your precious life!