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Can you dig it? ‘That ’70s Cabaret’ is rad

Annual fundraising entertainment show offers singing, dancing and comedy to CTG fans

Posted: March 22, 2009 1:56 a.m.
Updated: March 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

City Councilwoman Marsha McLean receives some "love" on stage from "That '70s Cabaret" emcee TimBen Boydston, director of operations of the Canyon Theatre Guild in Newhall.

 

The 10th annual fundraising cabaret to benefit the Canyon Theatre Guild offered up a tribute to the 1970s with mood rings, pet rocks, disco balls, smiley faces and lava lamps offering nostalgic reminders to guests of the decade that saw Watergate, the first oil crisis, the end of the hippie movement and the war in Vietnam, the streaking fad and a rise in feminism.

"That '70s Cabaret," emceeded by TimBen Boydston, director of operations of the CTG and Leslie Berra, attracted nearly a full house to the CTG's playhouse on Main Street in downtown Newhall. Boydston and Berra were also co-chairs of the cabaret.

"We attend this event every year," said Jacquie Petersen of Valencia, who attended the cabaret with husband Harold. "We enjoy it and always look forward to this event. We like to ‘come to the cabaret.'"

Guests dressed in '70s attire were scattered among the tables that sat on the stage. Other audience members filled the theater's 299-seat playhouse.

Comedy, singing and dancing by members of the Canyon Theatre Guild provided an evening's worth of entertainment to CTG supporters.

The high energy musical number "Shout" with Raymond Castro, David Kenny, Tom Lund and the ensemble opened the show and soon had guests up on their feet moving to the music.

A sweetly sung "Evergreen" by Michelle Smith was followed by a recreation of a famous "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update" skit with Jeff Lucas as Chevy Chase and Tyrone Washington as Garrett Morris.

The comedy continued with a clever (and sometimes disturbing) send up of Donny and Marie Osmond by Jill Kocalis and Jarod Scott singing "I'm Leavin' it All Up to You."

To the delight of the audience the Village People - including the Army guy, construction worker, American Indian, policeman, cowboy and biker - were reincarnated by Marc Deagon, Jeff Johnson, Mike Keane, John Morris, Brad Rennels and Frank Rock (choreographed by Ingrid Boydston) in a performance of "YMCA" and "In the Navy."

Ingrid Boydston, sporting a long, dark wig, and Lori D'Itri and Erin Rivlin performed Cher's classic "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves."

Another audience favorite was "King Tut" - the novelty song made famous by comic Steven Martin - performed by George D. Cummings with Shannon Bouknight, Raymond Castro, Joshua DiPaola, David Kenny, Tom Lund and Felice Wurst.

Carl Bellefeuille with Lori D'Itri and Erin Rivlin then took the stage with classic Carol King, to perform "I Feel the Earth Move."

In honor of the '70s fad of streaking, Brian Watts, a member of the cabaret's "Not Ready for Prime Time Players," would "steak" across the stage and through the audience wearing a flesh-colored body suit. Watts appearances were tied to an ongoing comedy interlude throughout the evening that recreated the Ray Stevens comedy classic, "The Streak."

(Reporter): "Hello, everyone, this is your action news reporter with all the news that is news across the nation, on the scene at the

supermarket. There seems to have been some disturbance here. Pardon me, sir, did you see what happened?"

(Witness): "Yeah, I did. I's standin' over there by the tomaters, and here he come, running through the pole beans, through the fruits and vegetables, nekkid as a jay bird. And I hollered over t' Ethel, I said, "Don't look, Ethel!" But it's too late, she'd already been incensed."

Other members of the "Players" included Randy Aronson, Greg Finley, Felice Wurst, Shannon Bouknight, Carol Rock, Tamarah Ashton-Coombs, Nikki Berra, Kamber Moen, Michael Colllins, George D. Cummings, Jeff Lucas, Marsha McLean, Don Sweezer and Billy Davis.

Leslie Berra brought up several male members of the audience to help her perform the disco classic "Last Dance."

The cabaret's first act closed with the "mature" Bawdy Broads (Nancy Albrecht, Doreen Barsky, Sharon Cummings, Patti Finley, Marla Khayat, Vickie Lonquich, Marsha McLean, Carol Rock) performing "Brick House" after they shed their walkers, canes and crutches.

"We started performing as the Bawdy Broads because we were tired of seeing all the cute, young things getting cast in all the numbers," said Patti Finley, artistic director of the CTG's family season.

A brief live auction was held during the intermission, with a large gold star, a play sale and a patio party up for bid.

Act two opened with the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" salute to "Hot Patootie" with David Kenny, Felice Wurst and the ensemble taking on the roles of 1975 cult film.

Lori D'Itri sang "The Way We Were" followed by another famous "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update" skit with Carol Rock and Mo Davis as Jane Curtain and Emily Litella.

The CTG Family, (Ryan Massey, Patti Finley, TimBen Boydston, Sarah Massey, Brian Watts, Felice Wurst and Jill McGlynn) with an uncanny resemblance to the 1970s Partridge Family, sang "I Think I Love You" to a roar of approval from the audience.

In the evening's comedy highlight Jeff Johnson and Hannah Lively performed the Saturday Night Live skit of the same name made famous by Dan Ackroyd. The skit depicts a television pitchman flinging a fish into a blender and making "terrific bass" milkshakes.

The audience groaned in disgust as Lively appeared to drink the blended fish product.

In the evening's musical high point Jarod Scott, Tom Lund, Ever Pabon, Leslie Berra, Nikki Berra, Raymond Castro, Jill Kocalis and Felice Wurst performed the 1975 Queen classic "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Lounge performer "Nick Winters" was "channeled" by Michael Collins followed by disco favorite "I Will Survive" performed by Erin Rivlin with Jennifer Alexopoulos, Vicki Endicott, Kamber Moen, Sarah Rock and Felice Wurst.

Mo Davis then reprised another Saturday Night Live character created by the late Gildna Radner, Roseanne Rosannadanna.

The cast of "A Chorus Line" which played at the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center through Saturday featured Nikki Berra and Jarod Scott performing "What I Did for Love."

An authentic "Those Were the Days" - the theme song from the "All in the Family" - was another audience favorite offered up by Carla Bambo and Mike Davies as Edith and Archie Bunker.

Another disco number, "Stayin' Alive" featured Raymond Castro, David Kenny and Tom Lund with Joshua DiPaola, Kamber Moen, Jennifer Alexopoulos, Vicki Endicott and Sarah Rock.

The evening ended with KISS band look-alikes Billy Davis, Bob Berra, Mark Davis and Aaron Wong bringing the audience to its feet with "Rock and Roll All Night."

Guests were invited to stay and dance with "That '70s Band" Russ Bretall, Bob and Leslie Berra, Billy Davis, Mark Davis and Aarong Wong.

"This is an event I would not miss," said guest Judy Penman, SCV's 2008 Woman of the Year.

For information about upcoming shows at the Canyon Theatre Guild visit www.canyontheatre.org.

 

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