Switching perspectives – A Good Reed Review takes a summer hiatus playing instead of writing

By Ande Jacobson

While there’s no shortage of theatre to see in the SF Bay Area this summer, A Good Reed Review will be short on reviews until September as this writer is once again moving back into a musician’s role for a time playing a stretch of performances in Saratoga and San Jose.

First, West Valley Light Opera closes its 47th Season with Bells are Ringing which opens Saturday, 23 June, at the Saratoga Civic Theater located at 13777 Fruitvale Avenue in Saratoga.  With music by Jule Styne, and lyrics and book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, it has to be good.

The title is familiar, and the show features several favorite songs such as “It’s a Perfect Relationship”, “Just in Time”, “The Midas Touch”, and many more.  Hitting the Broadway stage in November of 1956, Bells are Ringing was nominated for four Tony Awards in 1957 winning two.

The story takes place in that time before cell phones or even answering machines when important people (and some who just wanted to be important) had answering services to take their messages.  We follow Ella Peterson, a “Susanswerphone” operator, who gets just a tad too close to her clients, but in a good way.  Yes, this is a love story, but it’s a convoluted one given it’s based on a voice on the phone.  And what would a Broadway show be without complications such as cases of mistaken identity, comical criminals, and steadfast detectives trying to sort it all out?  Come join the fun this June and July.

Bells are Ringing runs through 21 July.  See http://www.wvlo.org or call 408-268-3777 for more information or to order tickets.

Next up is City Lights Theater Company’s production of Chicago which starts previews on 19 July and officially opens the 21st at the City Lights Theater located at 529 South Second Street in San Jose.

Chicago is one of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s most well known musicals written in collaboration with Bob Fosse and set in the roaring 1920s.  Complete with a sexy jazz score, Chicago features such songs as “All That Jazz”, “When You’re Good to Mama”, and “Cell Block Tango” along with numerous others.  While the original Broadway production was nominated for 11 Tony’s winning none of them in 1975, the revival made up for that by winning 6 out of 8 nominations in 1997.

Follow the story of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, clients of Billy Flynn, their unscrupulous lawyer looking to make a headline, the more sensational the better.  After all, if it’s in the papers, it must be true, right?  Roxie and Velma join several other “merry murderesses” as they vie for public sentiment and Matron Mama Morton’s favor through Vaudeville laced competition as they attempt to gain their freedom.

Don’t miss the “Razzle Dazzle” that is Chicago, 19 July – 26 August.  See http://cltc.org or call the box office at 408-295-4200 for more information or to order tickets.

Watch for A Good Reed Review reviews to return in the fall once “The Party’s Over” and the pizzazz of these summer shows fades away.

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