July 19, 2005 > Bugsy Malone
by Mekala Raman
Bang! Crash! Don't worry it's not one of those dreaded California earthquakes - it is simply the kids at Stage 1 Theatre rehearsing as child gangsters in the upcoming show: Bugsy Malone. This play, written by Alan Parker, stars Bugsy Malone (James Jones) who is caught in battles between two rival gangs of the Prohibition Era - one led by speakeasy owner "Fat Sam" (Jordan Joly) and the other by "Dandy Dan" (Brett Jensen). At the beginning of the play, Fat Sam is upset because his ammunition for fighting the enemy gangsters consists simply of cream pies, which pales in comparison to Dandy Dan's new weapon called the "splurge gun."
Director Belinda Maloney has been working with this cast of 40 since May to have this show ready for performances at Newark Memorial High School (NMHS). The kids, age 4-16, have been working hard practicing their lines, dances, and songs. This show requires a lot of tap dancing, so choreographers Kevin and Stacy Hammond had to teach many children, some with no previous knowledge of dance, to tap dance like professionals! The dance and music numbers have proven to be rather challenging especially since they occur at the same time. The actors had to learn breath control to be able to dance well without sounding breathless when they sing - no small feat.
Colorful sets and glittery costumes definitely spice up the act. None of these would have been available without the help of parents. At every rehearsal, there is a sign-in sheet and parents do something to help - making costumes or providing supervision backstage. Parents will also help with supervision and serve as the technical crew during the show although some NMHS students will be controlling the lights.
Even though this show has some violent implications, Maloney is trying to keep it as innocent as possible. This is a children's production and the author made appropriate adjustments (for example, the splurge guns only shoot silly string, cream, ping pong balls, etc.) Also, there is no death in the play; if someone gets "splurged," it simply means they are no longer part of the gang. Everyone makes an appearance at the end of the play when the two enemy gangs become friends. Maloney says, "The moral of this story would be that everyone should get along. It is shown by the two enemy gangs becoming friends at the end of the show."
Don't miss Bugsy Malone, a wonderful classic and be sure to bring your children with you.
7:30 pm on Thursday, July 21 - Saturday, July 23
7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 - Saturday, July 30
2:30 p.m. on Sundays, July 22 and 31
Stage 1 Theatre
Newark Memorial High School Theatre
39375 Cedar Boulevard, Newark
Tickets available at the door
Advance Tickets also available at The Book End, 5678 Thornton Avenue, Newark
Adults: $12; children: $10