Show tunes take center stage Thursday

Published 2006-02-09T00:00:00Z”/>


Monica Unhold

A quarrelling chorus line, heartbroken lovers and a drag queen are all part of the antics in the latest play at Paradise’s Theatre on the Ridge. “Beguiled Again” has no plot, consisting solely of a medley of toe-tapping show tunes.The show highlights the careers of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart. According to the program, the two men spent 24 years writing show tunes for 30 musicals and nine films. The play’s 43 musical numbers are selections of Rodgers’ and Hart’s compositions.In addition to providing a tribute to Rodgers and Hart, the play also illustrates the creative process of composing songs for the theater.The first act had three songs written to the tune that finally became known as “Blue Moon,” a song made popular by Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. Appropriately, “Blue Moon” was the finale of the first act.The small theater was quiet and cozy Thursday night, and once the show began, it was filled with upbeat singing, dancing and laughter. Two painted arches illuminated with Broadway-style marquee lights made up the simple set.The women in the cast were clad in similar black cocktail dresses, while the men wore dark-colored shirts and ties.Without the distractions of an elaborate background and fancy costumes, the audience could focus its attention on the talent of the actors.The cast of “Beguiled Again” includes six Chico State students and two faculty members of the theatre department. The play was directed by Joel P. Rogers, a professor and the director of the musical theater program at Chico State.Chico State senior Sarah Oddi played the ultimate girlfriend in “The Girlfriend,” a hilarious spin-off of the musical “The Boyfriend.”During the number, chorus members squabbled among themselves, pushing and shoving each other out of the way in order to get a front-row spot next to their love interest.Oddi later took on the role of a yearning romantic as she wrestled with fellow senior Karla Ruth Gilbert during “There’s a Small Hotel.” The pair fought over who would spend alone time with Sean Ridgway, another Chico State senior.The two women smoothly transitioned into an unrelated duet titled “Ten Cents a Dance.” Both actresses sang their parts phenomenally, although Gilbert occasionally overpowered Oddi.Another memorable number was “Zip,” the first song of the second act.Actress Judy Clemens, who also serves as president of Theatre on the Ridge, was surprised onstage by a mysterious woman. Chico State faculty member Jeffrey Childs played the drag queen hilariously. The pair then engaged in witty banter that poked fun at Childs’ hair and attire.”Beguiled Again” began and ended on the same note, the song “Bewitched.”The mood of the production was warm and light-hearted. The choreography was upbeat, but not overdone.The cast was extremely talented and had exceptional acting, singing and dancing abilities. The acting caliber was especially impressive for such a small community theater.”Beguiled Again” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Theatre on the Ridge in Paradise.

Monica Unhold can be reached at<a href= “mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected]</a>