OKLAHOMA!

American musical theater changed for good on March 31, 1943 at the St. James Theatre in New York City when Oklahoma! opened on Broadway, and those who’d like to know (or who would simply like a reminder of) just how revolutionary Oklahoma! was way back then need only head up to Solvang for PCPA’s 71st Anniversary revival of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic—not a perfect production but one which, as directed and choreographed by Michael Jenkinson, makes it clear what a groundbreaker this seven-decade-old remains to this day.
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FIDDLER ON THE ROOF


No sequins. No glitz. No feathers. No frills. Nothing but glorious songs and dances and a heartstrings-tugging story to transport you back in time and space to a Jewish shtetl in early 20th Century Tsarist Russia. This is Fiddler On The Roof, the Broadway classic whose (almost) 50th Anniversary production makes for a memorable PCPA Theaterfest summer season opener under Roger DeLaurier’s assured direction.
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DADDY LONG LEGS


A brand new cast makes PCPA Theaterfest’s production of Daddy Long Legs, Paul Gordon and John Caird’s exquisite gem of a musical, seem fresh and new, even for those like this reviewer who fell in love with it in previous engagements at the Rubicon and La Mirada. Though Jean Webster’s 1912 novel Daddy-Long-Legs fits squarely in the Children’s Books section of your local library or Barnes And Noble, its musical adaptation (minus hyphens) once again proves absolutely right for ages eight to eighty.
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LEGALLY BLONDE

Legally Blonde has arrived in picturesque Solvang in an exciting, from-the-ground-up staging that allows PCPA Theaterfest director-choreographer extraordinaire Michael Jenkinson to strut his Scenie-winning stuff without the creativity-limiting constraints of staging a musical on rented Broadway or National Tour sets.
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MY FAIRYTALE


Solvang celebrates its 100th birthday with the American Premiere of a new(ish) musical by Stephen Schwartz of Wicked fame—newish because the Hans Christian Anderson bio-fantasy got its World Premiere six years ago in Copenhagen (to mark the fairy tale master’s bicentennial) and American because the original production was acted and sung in Andersen’s native tongue. Though not on a par with the aforementioned Oztastic megahit, the still highly entertaining My Fairytale benefits from an outstanding cast, breathtaking costuming, beautifully staged production numbers, and a number of instantly hummable Schwartz tunes.
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HAIRSPRAY


When most people think about just who creates a Broadway musical, probably the first names that pop into their heads are those of its composer and lyricist. Next would probably come the book writer, whose words link the songs in what is hopefully an interesting and cohesive plotline. Still, regardless of how great what’s “written down” is, no musical could possibly hit the jackpot without a fabulous director and choreographer helming the enterprise.
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SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD


PCPA Theaterfest concludes its Summer 2010 season with Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New World, a magical change-of-pace evening of music starring three sensational PCPA favorites (and one terrific “newcomer”) and directed with consummate imagination and flair by PCPA’s multi-talented Erik Stein.
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WEST SIDE STORY


If ever a Broadway musical deserved to be called a classic, that musical is West Side Story.  What must Broadway audiences have felt as they first discovered it back in 1957?  This was, after all, a Broadway whose most recent Tony-winners were My Fair Lady, Damn Yankees, and The Pajama Game.  What must audiences who were accustomed to this sunny fare have thought about a show whose leading man and leading lady didn’t have the proverbial happy ending, and whose characters lived dismal lives in the worst parts of Manhattan and hated anyone whose differences threatened their go-nowhere existences? What must they have thought about Leonard Bernstein’s jazzy, operatic score, about Stephen Sondheim’s poetic lyrics, about Arthur Laurents’ Romeo and Juliet inspired book, and above all about Jerome Robbins’ truly revolutionary choreography? How must West Side Story have rocked the world of those Eisenhower-era 1950s New Yorkers and, even more so, of the out-of-towners who make up so much of a Broadway show’s audience?
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