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The Canyon Theatre Guild Proves it 'Can-Can'

There were 'stars' aplenty as theater became a real Paris Cabaret.

Posted: February 28, 2008 9:53 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Female impersonators Billy Davis, Jeff Hyde, John Morris, Frank Rock, Brian Watts and Brad Rennels sang "We Are What We Are" from "La Cage aux Folles" at the Moulin Rouge Cabaret at the Canyon Theatre Guild Saturday night.

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Just like Paris in the springtime, a persistent rain nearly washed out the outdoor patio area for the Moulin Rouge Cabaret at the Canyon Theater Guild on Saturday. Yet, it didn't stop the party and about 200 intrepid souls braved the wind and rain to revel in a little of "Gay Paree," brought to you by the usual suspects at the theatre.

It is shows like this that lighten the mood and make one realize that the CTG holds a very special place in the SCV and indeed, in the Southland. Where else can you see a regular cast of talented theatrical characters regularly?

Among the prominent community members who attended to support the fundraiser were Doug and Sue Sink, Richard and Marian Sandnes, Wayne and Diane Crawford, Duane and Pauline Harte; Hunt Braly; Marsha and Dale McLean; Diane and Allan Trautman; Bob Spierer, Kathy Lively; Jacquie and Harold Petersen; Cathy and Bill Kennedy. Perfect for the French theme, the buffet was provided by 'An Affaire Extraordinaire' and the table wines were donated by The Loose Goose.

The outgoing and talkative Erik Klein, a long-time CTG member, played the pre-show mime and the sexy dancers who opened the show with "Because we Can-Can" were Melissa Joy Castro, Leah DiPaola, Rebecca Coombs, Joy Norton, Rena Bailey-Barrett and Kamber Moen.

The show officially opened with comedy by none other than Randy Lubas, owner of JR's Comedy Club and James Horan, who will play Don Quixote in the CTG's Regional Theatre production of "Man of La Mancha" opening Saturday at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.

To get the show started, Horan sang the tearjerker "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables."

Then to lighten the mood, there were a couple of real fun numbers with some wacky female impersonators. The hilariously androgynous group who really "glammed" it up were Billy Davis, Jeff Hyde, John Morris, Frank Rock, Brian Watts and Brad Rennels who sang (and posed for) "We Are What We Are" from La Cage aux Folles. Seems they may have borrowed their outrageous costumes from the Celebrity Waiter Dinner at the Hyatt Valencia on Friday!

Throughout the evening, there were special guest appearances by Julie Berlin. Even though he was deep into rehearsals for "Man of La Mancha," CTG Executive and Artistic Director TimBen Boydston emceed the show with the always gorgeous Leslie Berra.

Laurie Morgan, (she of hundreds of commercials and CTG shows) performed "C'est Magnifique" just magnificently! Then John Candelaria performed as Jerry Lewis playing "Norman." Really surreal! Next up, Tamarah Ashton-Coombs and CTG Director Mike Davies sang "The Night they Invented Champagne," and then Dorothy Lloyd sang "I Love Paris."

Then, CTG performers Erik Klein, Kamber Moen, Brian Watts and Felice Wurst performed a silent farce, "Marcel Marsaw" and CTG President Ed Hill performed the hilarious "French Foreign Legion." Then, the lovely Jill Kocalis and Jarod Scott sang "The Song that Goes Like This" and Michelle Smith sang "Sooner or Later."

Kelly Roberts broke up the house with "Jerry's Kids" and Ingrid Boydston, Joy Norton and Loretta Norton were the "Sparkling Diamonds" with vocal arrangement and choreography by Norton. Rena Lee Bailey-Barrett, Musette Caing, Jan Marie Rennels, Shannon Michael, Kelly Roberts, Joe Roselund, with choreography by Rena Lee Bailey-Barrett performed "El Tango de Roxanne," and The Bawdy Broads - Nancy Albrecht, Doreen Barsky, Sharon Cummings, Mo Davis, Marla Khayat, Vickie Lonquich, Laurie Morgan, Gaye McCreary and the inimitable Carol Rock performed an unforgettable version of "Lady Marmalade." Trust me, you won't see this on any stage, anywhere. That is one thing that makes the CTG so fun and unique.

Act Two opened with "Marcher le Dinosaure," with Bob Berra, Russ Bretall, Carla Bambo, Julie Berlin and Shana Vo with dancers Lisa Aguayo, Shannon Bouknight, Rebecca Coombs, Vicki Lightner, Kamber Moen, Sarah Rock, Amber Van Loon, Felice Wurst and yes, TimBen Boydston himself!

As if the show wasn't funny enough, one of the most hilarious numbers was Jarod Scott, Jim Robinson, Loren Burghout, Mike Keane, Erik Klein singing and camping it up in way too much makeup for "I Enjoy Being a Girl." And to continue the theme, Jeff Lucas performed "Jerry's Kids" and a few acts later, George D. Cummings played Jerry Lewis as "The Errand Boy."

It was all really, really surreal!

Next up were Leslie Berra, Kelly Bader and Erin Rivlin-Sakata performing "It's a Woman's World," accompanied by dancers Joshua DiPaola, Sam Hyde, Tom Lund, Mikee Schwinn, Josh Smith. In the middle of Act Two, Lori D'Iti brought home the Paris theme with a spine-chilling version of "La Vie En Rose."
Wrapping up the show was Mo Davis as Jerry Lewis as "Buddy Love" from the original "Absent Minded Professor." It was very weird. Bringing it home were Melissa Joy Castro and Sam Hyde with Carla Bambo, Julie Berlin and Shana Vo with "Come What May." To end the main show, George Chavez and Erin Rivlin-Sakata brought down the house with "Elephant Love Medley."

After the show, most of the older people headed home and the evening officially ended with everyone, (mostly the kids) hitting the stage to dance to "The Usual Suspects."

Patti Finley, assistant director of the CTG and artistic director of the Family Season, said she enjoyed herself more than usual this year. She said since opening the patio, their fundraisers keep getting bigger and bigger every year.

"We sold more tables than we did last year," she said. "The show was absolutely great. And because I wasn't performing this year, all I had to do was sit there and enjoy myself."

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