Set in 1959 Boston, this is a ‘show within a show’ type of musical murder mystery by Rupert Holmes, John Kander, Fred Ebb and Peter Stone. This is a more modern musical, it debuted on Broadway in March of 2007. During its run it was nominated for multiple Tony Awards, with David Hyde Pierce winning ‘Best Actor’ for his portrayal of Lt Frank Cioffi. According to a VMHS Drama Department insider, this version is a bit tamer than the Original Broadway production was, in case you might have seen it in LA or New York.
The VMHS production is directed by Cory Finch and starts off at the end of the play within the play (Robbin Hood). Towards the end of the song, the lead actor collapses in the background. She is taken away and the cast breaks in to ‘What Kind of Man?’ – A song about how they hate the critics who said the show (Robbin Hood) was bad. As a guy writing up a show, I found it wonderfully ironic.
After it is determined that the show’s star is killed, a drama loving police officer Lt Frank Cioffi shows up to solve the crime but finds himself becoming involved in the production. A wide variety of silly, fun show tunes are performed, with names like ‘Kansasland’ and ‘The Woman’s Dead’.
The song ‘Show People’ is a bright spot, with many great lines about the quirky, world of stage show production life. I rather enjoyed the snarky tune ‘It’s a Business’ and the end of ‘In the same boat Completed’ is really special. The program says that the kids have spent 10 weeks in rehearsals, and I believe it, they have great stage presence and the vocals were stronger than I anticipated.
The show plays October 29 and 30, November 4, 5 & 7 at Vista Murrieta High School Performing Arts Center, 28251 Clinton Keith Road, Murrieta CA 92563. Tickets are $10, general admission. There is an intermission where the kids have set up a snack area with chips, water and candy.