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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on January 28th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 47 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 47

The Melodrama's 'The Bachelors' is a kooky, time-traveling romp at the theater

BY AMY ASMAN


'NOODLE COOKIE'
Bachelor Stew (Billy Breed, center) bemoans having to listen a sickly sweet phone conversation between new lovers, John (Phillip David Black) and Kate (Hayley Galbraith), in The Great American Melodrama’s 'The Bachelors.'
PHOTO COURTESY OF CALVIN MORRIS/GREAT AMERICAN MELODRAMA

The last time I went to the Great American Melodrama in Oceano, I had to have my appendix out.

My husband and I went with some friends to see Drac in the Saddle Again, and halfway through the first act, I knew something was wrong—not with the performance, but with my vestigial organ. In fact, the performance was so good I was sad we had to leave early to head home (and, eventually, to the emergency room).

So, as one could imagine, I experienced a mix of emotions when I returned to the Melodrama on a recent Sunday evening to see The Bachelors. Luckily, the night proved to be one of rollicking, hospital-free fun!

Before we even made it to our seats, the show’s cast and crew treated my fellow theatergoers and me to a pre-show serenade in the snack line, as they scooped up buckets of buttery popcorn and filled pitchers of sudsy beer. The snack line is one of my favorite features at the Melodrama because it offers a unique connection with the actors, and I always like trying to guess who will end up on stage once the house lights dim.

This time, it was Billy Breed (returning from an extended stint at PCPA) and Melodrama mainstay Hayley Galbraith (whom I thoroughly enjoyed as Consuela del Frankenstein in Drac until … well, you know). They were joined on stage by Phillip David Black, who looked dashing in his Victorian-era garments as he collected our ticket stubs.

Soon, the Melodrama’s red velvet curtain rose to reveal a charming sitting room in late 19th-century England. The scenery had me momentarily confused because the synopsis said the play was about two bachelors and a pizza delivery girl, but I soon caught on.


BACHELOR HEAVEN
Stew (left) and John (wearing a cheesehead crown) enjoy their woman-free “castle” in the Melodrama’s 'The Bachelors.'
PHOTO COURTESY OF CALVIN MORRIS/GREAT AMERICAN MELODRAMA

Turns out Victorian-era bachelors Stewart (Breed) and John (Black) find themselves in a quandary over who should marry Lady Katherine (Galbraith). Ultimately, they both choose to remain bachelors, which propels a broken-hearted Katherine to throw herself into the River Thames, but not before she vows to seek revenge on them in her next life, or the one after that, or the one after that.

Fast-forward 100-plus years, and karma has caught up with Stew and John, who are now living in glorious bachelorhood (read: man-cave squalor) in Madison, Wis. I absolutely loved the transition from one time period to another, which involved Galbraith singing a modernized version of “What Are Little Boys Made Of” as she stripped the infantilized bachelors down to their boxers. I must also tip my hat to the Melodrama’s crew for creating such a seamless, multi-faceted set that, with just a flip of the walls, could turn into a modern bachelor pad, complete with a close-to-empty refrigerator and sink.

In this life, Lady Katherine has returned as Kate, the pizza delivery girl, to exact revenge on said bachelors by seducing both men to the point of despair. All three of the actors played their parts exceptionally well, and the chemistry among them truly shone in such numbers as “Noodle Cookie” (it’s a long story) and “Bad Tuna Fish” (I told you, it’s a long story). But I must single out Galbraith for her versatility as a singer and comedienne. As the victim-cum-villain-cum-narrator, she gamely jumps from role to role, pulling the enamored audience along with her by the seat of their pants.

The show is a fun, silly homage to musical theater and cheesy TV sitcoms—perfect fare for the Melodrama. The only drawback to attending is that seating at the theater is a tight squeeze, but that’s easy to overlook once you’re settled and the show has started.

See 'The Bachelors'
For tickets to the Great American Melodrama’s 'The Bachelors' and the Broadway review 'A Kennel Line,' call the box office at 489-2499. Shows run Wednesday through Sunday at 2, 3, or 7 p.m. The theater is on U.S. Highway 1 in Oceano. More information is available at americanmelodrama.com.

The second portion of the performance is the Melodrama’s always-enjoyable Broadway revue. This time, it was a spoof on A Chorus Line, except the hodgepodge of starry-eyed hopefuls is a bunch of household pets auditioning for a pet food commercial. It’s the kind of premise that could go one of two ways, but the actors (Breed, Black, and Galbraith, joined by Tabatha S. Skanes and Kyle Smith) truly deliver. Whether it’s a feline Galbraith searching for a laser pointer, or a feathered Smith literally parroting back lines to the audience, the revue is sure to please.

So head on down to the Melodrama right meow for a fun and wacky night at the theater!

 

Managing Editor Amy Asman is happy all of her organs stayed in place this time. Send her comments at aasman@santamariasun.com.