Marvelous Musical

Golden Chain hits a high note with 'I Can't Believe That Didn't Win a Tony'

Brian WilkinsonOctober 11, 2012 

If you think you've seen everything at the Golden Chain Theatre over the past 45 years ... you know ... been there, done that. Think again.

Oakhurst hasn't seen the likes of the fast paced, musical review that opened Oct. 6 featuring 18 talented and energetic singer/dancers, 28 Broadway songs and more than 100 costume changes.

The show, directed by Jennifer Piccolotti, celebrates the Broadway musicals that missed receiving the grand-daddy of all awards, the Tony for 'Best Musical.'

"I Can't Believe That Didn't Win a Tony" offers many well-known songs including "No Business Like Show Business" ("Annie Get Your Gun"), "All That Jazz" ("Chicago"), "I Enjoy Being a Girl" ("Flower Drum Song"), "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" ("Annie Get Your Gun"), "Everything's Coming Up Roses" ("Gypsy"), "Consider Yourself" ("Oliver"), "Don't Rain On My Parade" ("Funny Girl") and "Hey Big Spender" ("Sweet Charity").

And if audience comment cards presented to theatre management after the show are any indication, opening night was a big hit.

"Amazing show ... some of those kids will be on the big screen one day and I'll be able to say I knew them when," read one comment card. Others said "Best show yet," "the high energy and good time the cast is having really comes across," "Please add musicals like this to the yearly repetoire," "Very professional and well directed."

"The entire cast has brought passion and energy to this show," Piccolotti said. "I'm excited to be able to showcase some of the vocal talent we have in the Mountain Area."

Piccolotti said it was rewarding to see the sense of accomplishment shine throughout the cast after the show.

"They costumed and choreographed the show themselves and then they were hit with dozens of costume changes, mostly in the dark backstage while trying to avoid set pieces," Piccolotti said. "They thrive in the fast pace and every member of this talented group is bringing their best to the stage. I am proud of all of them and grateful to have been blessed to work with them."

The show's cast is a mixture of seasoned Golden Chain performers and first comers to the Golden Chain stage.

Piccolotti relocated to the area a couple years ago from Bakersfield where she had performed in many musicals including "Fiddler on the Roof," "Sweet Charity" and "Cats" and served as director of the School of Performing Arts under the umbrella of the Bakersfield Music Theatre.

Tawni Jackson has been acting on the Golden Chain Theatre stage for 10 years, but this musical showcases her singing, especially with "Oh Happy Day" (Sister Act") and "Don't Rain On My Parade."

Although new to the Golden Chain, Heather Sconce is a veteran performer having played Grace Farrell in "Annie," Laurey Williams in "Oklahoma" and Ensign Dinah Murphy in "South Pacific" with the Fresno Grand Opera. Her four year-old daughter Makenzie, is seen throughout the show and sings "Broadway Baby," to the delight of the audience.

Piccolotti's daughter Lyric, a sophomore at Minarets High School, performed in "Brigadoon" at the age of seven and is showcased in this production singing "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" ("Next to Normal") and "My New Philosophy" ("You're a Good Man Charlie Brown").

Jennifer Piccolotti's duets with Sconce on "By My Side" ("Godspell") and "For Good," ("Wicked") were dramatic and moving.

The cast turns into circus characters and adorns the stage during "There's A Sucker Born Every Minute" ("Barnum") with a mermaid, two-headed woman, singing birds, juggler, ringmaster, trapeze artist and a man on stilts.

And as the weather turns chilly with the arrival of fall, the theatre heats up during "All That Jazz" and "Hey Big Spender."

The humorous duo of the theatre's janitor (Robert Woods) and his overbearing boss (Tony Beguez) makes for funny transitions between numbers. And Beguez's one-armed push-ups are a testament to physical fitness.

"I'm sore ... I feel 100 years old and it is totally worth it," said cast member Kat Van Bruggen after the show.

Alexis Reid said she is normally a nervous wreck on opening night but with the cast that surrounds her she felt comfortable and confident.

"We focus on having fun and we know we have worked hard, so when we go out there we feel we are giving the audience a gift we have prepared for them," said Reid.

"I'm already a little sad ... there are only four shows left," Lyric Piccolotti said. "I love the cast and I love the show."

Director Piccolotti said the show is a joy and a musical is a nice compliment to the wonderful and entertaining melodrama the theatre is so well-know for.

"We want to bless our audience with a wonderful musical experience," Piccolotti said. "We hope they all leave the theatre with a smile on their face and a song in their heart."

Piccolotti will direct the nostalgic musical "The Ladies of Tin Pan Ally" in November 2013. The musical celebrates little known female composers struggling to make a name for themselves between 1890 and 1940. Other productions planned for the 2013 season are two melodramas, the comedy "Harvey," "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and "Jack the Ripper."

The next production at the Golden Chain will be the spooky comedy "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" written by Tim Kelly and directed by Bobby Woods, opening Nov. 3.

Details: "I Can't Believe That Didn't Win a Tony" Oct. 13, 14, 21 and 22: 7 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Doors open one hour before show. Tickets: $12 adults, $10 55 and older, $8 active military and 13-18 years old, $6 4-12 years old. Group rates available. (559) 683-7112,

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