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By Photo courtesy of Peter W. Beckman
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By Photo courtesy of Peter W. Beckman
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By Photo courtesy of John Cannon
BY CAMILLE GAVIN Contributing writer, email@example.com
Director Mark Price says he's had exceptional luck in casting "The Fox on the Fairway," which opens Friday at Stars.
"It's more of a farce than a comedy," he said. "Once you have actors who know (the acting) has to be overdone -- and know how to do it -- you're set."
'The Fox on the Fairway'
When: Dinner at 6:30 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; lunch at 1 p.m. show at 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Stars Restaurant Theatre, 1931 Chester Ave.
Admission: $47-$57; show only $30-$37
'The Five Divas'
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Harvey Auditorium, 1341 G St.
Admission: $30; $10 children 12 and under
Organist John Cannon
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: First Congregational Church, 5 Real Road
Admission: Free-will offering
GO & DO
The play is notable for onstage activity by and between the various actors.
"It's kind of like a Marx Brothers movie," the director said. "Lots of climbing on furniture and things like that."
Two of the cast members, Kevin McDonald and Kyle Gaines are newcomers to the Stars stage. But each has a decidedly different background.
McDonald, a recent Bakersfield transplant whose resume includes theater and film work in Los Angeles and New York City, just happened to show up at Stars for the "Fox" auditions.
Or as Price puts it, "He just walked in off the street. Said he's been out of the business for the last two years and just wanted to do something different -- he's wonderful to work with."
Gaines, on the other hand, is an East High student that Price "discovered" while attending "Noises Off," one of the school's productions.
"I always like to see the high school shows -- sometimes you meet someone and he's just a natural," the director said. "That's Kyle."
Gaines, he added, plays the part of a much older man and is very athletic, which apparently is a plus in a farce of this kind. He plays opposite Kelci Lowry, who has appeared in many shows at Stars.
Written by Ken Ludwig, author of "Lend Me a Tenor," "Fox" was first produced in 2010. Its focal point is an outlandish bet the managers of two rival country clubs have made. One of the bettors has wagered his wife's antique store, The Old Crock.
The show involves a golf tournament, which is heard but never seen. The game is reported offstage by Jeff Lemucchi as it progresses from hole to hole.
Mark Prow and Jennie Babcock play Dickie and Muriel, a married couple, and Julianne Gaines, who in addition to being Kyle's mother in real life, plays Pamela, a member of the Quail Valley Country Club's board of directors.
"It's fun right out of the box," Price said. "The couples get all mixed up, it turns into a hodge-podge and there's lots of harmonious wailing."
Performances of "The Fox on the Fairway" continue at Stars through April 27.
'Divas' at Harvey
A group of five talented local singers will take the stage for two performances this weekend at Harvey Auditorium.
Dubbed "The Five Divas," each is a star in her own right.
The cast and their signature roles are: Rosie Ayala ("Hairspray"), Jill Burdick ("9 to 5"), Tammy White ("Shout! The Mod Musical"), Jennifer Resolme ("Into the Woods") and Bethany Rowlee ("Oliver").
"It's a revue format," said the director, Sheryl Cleveland. "I have tried to incorporate lots of humor as well as great musical moments."
The show is a mixture of Broadway and contemporary songs along with some old standards.
Although there is no story line, Cleveland is planning a segment titled "The role I'll never have," which requires a number of costume changes. In this particular series of scenes, each singer imagines she's playing a part from her personal wish list of characters.
A chance encounter during Vern and Melinda Hill's vacation in Colorado last summer has led to a concert in Bakersfield by nationally known organist John Cannon.
Hill, assistant vicar of Grace Episcopal Church, explained how it all came about.
"Melinda and I were visiting St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Estes Park, Colo.," he said. "He (Cannon) was the organist and right from the prelude we realized we were listening to something really good. As an organist myself, I admired his technique, his enthusiasm -- he's just exciting to listen to."
The Hills spoke to Cannon after the service and as a result of their conversation, the organist offered to include a stop in Bakersfield on his 2013 West Coast tour.
Grace, which was founded about five years ago, meets in the chapel of the First Congregational Church, so the concert is being jointly sponsored by the two congregations and will be presented in First Congregational's sanctuary.
Cannon, 35, is a native of Alabama. Since earning his master's degree from Colorado State University at Fort Collins, he has performed at numerous churches throughout the United States, including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, the Washington National Cathedral and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. He also has recorded two CDs.
His recital here will include works by Bach, Boellmann, Herbert Howells, Max Reger, Cesar Franck and Louis Vierne.
Arts Council update
Walk for the Arts, an annual Arts Council of Kern event designed to help arts-related schools and organizations raise money for their programs, has been postponed until 2014.
"It's too big of a venture to do right now," said Anthony Goss, vice president of the council. "We've put it on the back burner 'til next spring."
For the past several years, the one-day event, usually held on a Saturday in May, provided a map that took participants to various public and private art galleries and shops in downtown Bakersfield. It was enlivened by as many as 40 street musicians at stops along the way.
Goss, who also heads the ACK's events committee, said he's been working with executive director Michael Millar and other board members in devising incentives to increase membership in the organization.