Monthly Archive for: ‘April, 2014’

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine a world premiere “Depression Era” musical by 42nd Street Moon

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine: Musical Comedy. World Premiere by Greg MacKellan and Mark D. Kaufmann. 42nd Street Moon, the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94111. (415) 255-8207 or go to Ends April 20, 2014

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine a world premiere “Depression Era” musical by 42nd Street Moon Rating: ★★★★★

42nd Street Moon, famous for resurrecting ‘lost’ musicals for the past 21 years, has mounted a world premiere musical. It is a first for this theatre icon of the Bay Area and they earn accolades for their efforts. It is an evening of song, dance and frivolous fun that brushes away the clouds and adds a star to the firmament.

The show had its genesis with “Sing Before Breakfast: Songs from the Great Talking Picture Musicals”, a CD” by artistic director Greg MacKellen who collaborated with Mark Kaufmann to produce this book musical using lesser known songs of the Great Depression Era. It is a tribute to San Francisco’s deceased Bob Grimes whose collection of sheet music dates back to the 1930’s. Yes, you will recognize some of the songs but they are not the old standards that graced the stage in the well known musicals.

The collaborators have set the time as 1935 and the place Hollywood. If it was not advertised as a world premiere, which it is, it could have been passed off as another ‘lost musical’ brought back to life. The staging, costumes, humor, dancing and the storyline are perfect in keeping with the musical genre of the 1920s through 1940s.

For this show it is 1935, the middle of the Great Depression when the musicals were meant to cheer up the populace who flocked to the theatres to see upbeat fare. It all takes place in and around Hollywood the mecca for striving young starry-eyed dreamers attempting to gain fame and fortune in the movies. One of those young dreamers (she sings and dances) is Alice (Kari Yancy) working in the proverbial Hollywood Boulevard eatery with older, wiser, loveable Willa (Cami Thompson).  Enter ‘no money in his pockets’ handsome George (Galen Murphy-Hoffman) to flip over Alice. Willa has her paramour Gil (John-Elliot Kirk) and both couples have problems getting together adding the needed touch of “true love never runs true” truism.

Add a loveable shady news-stand operator Jake ( Justin Gilman, he doubles as a barman) and quick-with-the-quips smart-mouth Joyce (Nicole Frydman) for the needed humor. For a bit of spice throw in sexy Iris (Allison F. Rich) and a utility actor with multiple roles (Ryan Drummond) and the cast is complete.

The entire cast (with a minor exception) is great in their lead roles and excellent when needed for the ensemble. Staci Arriaga has wisely kept the dancing simple and lively and 42nd Street musical director Dave Dobrusky receives his well-earned applause while on the stage for the entire show (two hours and 20 minute including the intermission). Felicia Lilienthal’s 1930s costumes are a drag queens dream.

All the songs are upbeat. Some you will recognize: “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine”, “Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?”, “You Oughta Be In Pictures”,  “Jeepers, Creepers”,  “Sing You Sinners”,  “Sweeping The Clouds Away.”  A few you will not recognize but are cleverly perfect to carry the story forward and add a smile to your  face: “Breakfast Table Love”, “Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In The Moonlight”, “You Hit the Spot”, “Dusty Shoes”, “Gather Lip Rouge While You May”, “Are You Making Any Money?”, “I’m Feathering a Nest”, “There’s A Riot In Havana” and more.

All in all, a charming world premiere with top-notch singers/actors, beautiful girls, handsome men, pleasant dancing, gorgeous costumes, colorful set and Dave Dobrusky. Three cheers and five stars go to Greg MacKellan and Mark D. Kaufmann.

CAST: (Russell James & Rocco) Ryan Drummond; (Iris Langston) Allison F. Rich; (Jake& Barman) Justin Gillman; (George Fenton) Galen Murphy-Hoffman, (Alice Collins) Kari Yancy; (Willa Brennan) Cami Thompson; (Gil) John-Elliott Kirk; (Joyce Aubrey)   Nicole Frydman.

ARTISTIC STAFF: Directed by Mark D. Kaufmann; Music Director: Dave Dobrusky

Choreographer: Stag Arriaga; Stage Manager: Maria Difabbio; Production Manager: Hector Zavala; Set Design: Hector Zavala; Costume Design: Felicia Lilienthal

Lighting Design: Danny Maher; Props: Amy Crumpacker.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of

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