This evening, we joined shutterbug93 at the evening performance of Johnny Guitar: The Musical at the La Mirada Performing Arts Center. For those unfamiliar with the musical, it is based off a 1954 “D” movie called Johnny Guitar starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden. A full synopsis of the show can be found here, but to summarize: The show tells the story of a tall stranger, Johnny Guitar (twang!) and Vienna, the owner of Vienna’s Saloon. Vienna’s nemasis is Emma Small, who owns half the town, and is in cahoots with McIvers (who owns the other half of the town). It goes on from there, as a very melodramatic spoof of westerns. A good summary of the plot can also be found in the Orange County Register review.
The producton we saw starred Michelle Duffy as Vienna, Kevin Earley as Johnny Guitar, Alan Campbell as the Dancin’ Kid, Valerie Perri as Emma, Ed Sala as McIvers, Keith A Bearden, David, Sinkus, Michael Butler Murray, and James Leo Ryan. The production was directed by Joel Higgins. Many of these folks were in the original off-Broadway productions.
A few cast members deserve particular praise. It is always a special production when the cast enjoys the show, and this cast seemed to have particular fun with the show. The leads were most noticable, particular Michelle Duffy who had a very strong singing voice and presence, and Kevin Earley who combined his wonderful singing voice with remarkable comic timing. Also notable was Valerie Perri, who I think would make a great Mrs. Strong in Urinetown.
I’d recommend you see this show, but alas, it was the last night. If this comes to your town, see it.
Next up on the theatre calendar: Tick, Tick, Boom next Saturday; Corps at the Crest II on Wednesday July 28th, and I Do I Do and The Last 5 Years at the Pasadena Playhouse.