Moonlight Troupers reach back in a spoof of Twenties musicals

Wilson's `The Boy Friend' to be presented at AACC

November 04, 1999|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

We turned back our clocks only last Sunday, and now the Moonlight Troupers ask us to turn back our calendars nearly 75 years to the bygone innocence of 1926, when operetta flourished.

Billed as a "new musical of the Twenties," Sandy Wilson's "The Boy Friend" is being presented at Anne Arundel Community College's Pascal Center for Performing Arts at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and, at 2 p.m. on Sundays, Nov. 12-14 and 19-21.

First produced in 1954 in London, the show moved to Broadway later that year, where it introduced young Julie Andrews to American audiences.

Wilson's spoof of twenties musicals with its flapper schoolgirls studying at Madame Dubonnet's finishing school is set on the French Riviera. The girls pursue romance, and soon boys appear on the scene to deliver the dance steps and provide some fluffy romance.

Heiress Polly Browne, who is so rich that she is not allowed to have a boyfriend, falls in love with delivery boy Tony, who turns out to be rich and titled Tony Brockhurst, son of Lord Brockhurst. A millionaire's daughter, Polly believes that Tony is a delivery boy, and tries to capture his interest by pretending to be a working girl.

This deliberate spoof follows the hackneyed "boy gets girl, loses girl and gets girl again" plot to a conclusion that features their being reunited at the Carnival Ball, where they show up costumed as Pierette and Pierrot.

Chic headmistress Madame Dubonnet adds a stylish note of fun, and comedic possibilities are expanded with the arrival in Nice of Tony's parents, frisky old Lord Brockhurst and his stuffy wife, Lady Brockhurst. A cast of delightful characters includes French maid Hortense and a finishing school full of boy-crazy girls looking for romance.

Music and lyrics by Sandy Wilson that deliberately recall the era of the Twenties include: "The Boy Friend," "I Could Be Happy With You," "Won't You Charleston With Me?" and "Never Too Late." The cast has been busy rehearsing the Charleston and other dance numbers reminiscent of the period.

The Moonlight Troupers have assembled a strong cast headed by Colleen Denny, a junior at Broadneck High School, who plays Polly. AACC sophomore Rob Reichert of Pasadena plays Tony.

AACC students Shelly Konski of Severna Park plays Maisie and Jake Thornhill of Bowie plays her boyfriend, Bobby Van Heusen. AACC sophomore Andi Jones of Pasadena is Dulcie, a student at the finishing school. Two veterans of several Moonlight Trouper shows, Christy Stouffer plays Madame Dubonnet and Walt League plays Percival Browne.

John Howell and Pat Roberts play Lord and Lady Brockhurst. Keri Johnson is Hortense, Dominic Dandrea is a waiter and gendarme, and Nakesha Hamilton is Lolita.

Other members of the cast include Allyson Viventi as Fay, Colleen Darcey as Nancy, with Corrine Becker, Vanessa Morgan and Carol Prickett as schoolgirls. Boyfriends include George Johnson as Marcel, Jason Vellon as Pierre, Tim Grieb as Alphonse, with Evan Baxter and Dave Itzel also featured in the cast.

Barbara Marder, an associate professor of speech and theater arts at AACC, directs the production.

Tickets are $9 general admission, $8 for senior citizens and groups and $7 for AACC students and staff. Tickets are on sale at the theater box office Mondays through Fridays or by calling 410-541-2457.

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