RED ROCK REVIEW .COM  is Sedona Arizona's Events, Issues, and Information Guide

Major Update on the 15th of Each Month (New Stuff Everyday)

Hot Links:
redrockrealestate.com

  

Note: Stiffs is the last show to perform in the Charles W. Raison Theatre, and closing day of the production will be Remember When day, a time for the community to gather and share their memories of all the wonderful things that have happened in this space.

Stiffs the Final Production
at the Charles Raison Theatre

By Liz Warren

It’s finally closing – the Charles W. Raison Theatre, Sedona’s intimate theater space since 1990, will witness its last production this month.

Perhaps it is only fitting, then, that the play take place in a mortuary and that the audience members attend a funeral. Is it a metaphorical funeral – a final send off to the theater?

Nah – it’s just for laughs!

Stiffs, running May 17 – June 3, is an original musical comedy that invites audiences to take a fun-filled romp through usually solemn grounds – courtesy of the team that brought Pump Boys and Dinettes to Sedona a few years ago.

Michael Gilbert, John Reynolds, Dev Ross and Debbie Winslow had a hit on their hands with Pump Boys, which played in Sedona for a month before traveling to play The Phoenix Theatre for three weeks. Frequently stopped around town and hassled about staging a revival, the cast members finally decided to answer the demand by collaborating on an original musical.

Stiffs has been in progress off and on for about three years. While it is the first time the group has written together, Reynolds, Ross and Winslow have worked together on several previous occasions, and the play has benefited from their common comedic sensibility and complementary aptitudes.

Winslow notes that Ross’s background in screenwriting and understanding of plot, Reynolds’s focus on character and motivation, Gilbert’s musicianship and her own comprehensive background in musical theatre all came to bear on the success of the collaboration.

But the group isn’t just writing, composing and acting in Stiffs – Reynolds is directing, Winslow is doing choreography and Gilbert is doing some vocal coaching.

Musically, it’s an eclectic show, Winslow said, running the gamut from boogie-woogie to standard musical theatre fare to operetta to gospel. All four cohorts contributed lyrically and musically to the song list, though Gilbert frequently took the lead in that department. Winslow, however, wrote the jitterbug number “Brighter Lights” largely by herself, though Gilbert assisted with the intro and the bridge.

While most of the songs were constantly being refined, at least one stayed the same throughout, the ballad “Never Say Goodbye.”

“It was about a year after Chuck had died,” said Winslow. “We were always close, and it hit hard. Michael called me at work one day and asked me to tell him about my feelings about Chuck. So I told him about how even though he’s gone, I still feel like he’s here, watching over the theatre. When we got off the phone, Michael wrote ‘Never Say Goodbye.’”

A live band will perform the songs, including Walt Floury on keyboards, Richard Nix on bass, Johnny D.Z. on guitar and Michael Bannister on drums.

Of course there’s more to Stiffs than music alone – get to know the off-the-wall brothers Theodore (Chris Vaglio) and Beauregard (Gilbert) Stiff, who keep the family mortuary business alive with the help of in-house cosmetologist Monique (Winslow). When a television commercial shoot runs awry and a very important part of ‘Shorty Morty’ Manicotti’s mob funeral turns up missing, complete chaos reigns at Stiffs Funeral Home. Join the brothers, Manicotti’s widow, Sydney (Ross) and Monique as they meet up with that touchy mistress, Destiny.

Reynolds plays the commercial director, and Theresa Hawkins plays the cleaning lady, but the core cast is comprised of the show’s authors…except for Vaglio.

“Chris is such a breath of fresh air,” said Winslow. “He makes us laugh and he brings so much to the character.”

Don’t miss MG Bradley Studio’s production of Stiffs, opening May 17 and running Thursday – Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. through June 3. There will be 2:00 p.m. Sunday matinee performances on May 27 and June 3. Tickets are $12 for members of Sedona Arts Center and $15 for non-members and are available for purchase at the SAC Gallery or Office or by calling (520) 282-3809.

Stiffs is the last show to perform in the Charles W. Raison Theatre, and closing day of the production will be Remember When day, a time for the community to gather and share their memories of all the wonderful things that have happened in this space.

Stiffs may not be suitable for children due to adult situations and humor.

Back to the top  |  Post a Response

Back to Homepage


Copyright 1999 Red Rock Review.com
All Rights Reserved