Thursday, May 11, 2017

Laughing Stock: Mirth for Mom

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 3:08 PM

Stuck for a way to celebrate Mother’s Day? Tucson musical comedy veterans Musical Mayhem Cabaret celebrate moms with an “under-rehearsed and over-dramatic” performance, Keepin' It Classy: A Night of Classic Broadway.

The show includes several songs by Cole Porter and others from Broadway favorites like Fiddler on the Roof, Something Happened on the Way to the Forum, Wonderful Town, Company, and the sometimes-conflictedly mom-oriented, Gypsy. The show closer, from Chicago, also includes clogging.

Mayhem of course finds comedy in Gypsy’s mother-daughter songs, like If Mama Was Married and Rose’s Turn, then transforms them into mom-honoring parodies. But You’ve Gotta Get a Gimmick was tricky. In the play and the movie, strip-tease artists use the song to counsel a young Gypsy Rose Lee on tricks of the trade.

The company’s managing artistic director Nicolette Shaffer-Filippi says. “I told the cast, ‘Your gimmick is ‘How are you going to be goofy but family-friendly?’” Improv fan favorite Gretchen Dingman Wirges, who performs and teaches with both NBOJU (Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed) and The Comedy Temple, brings her powerful voice and character acting chops to the challenge. Shaffer-Filippi says, “She always surprises me with goofy things,”

Shaffer-Filippi’s performed in Tucson community theatre for nine years and serves in Arizona Theater Company’s outreach program for children. For the last two years, she also has acted in Beer With the Bard, a program of the Tucson Fringe Festival.

Unscrewed’s Rob Sparks gets a workout as the only male member of Mayhem’s Mother’s Day cast. He performs Friendship from Anything Goes with Wirges and, according to Shaffer-Filippi, “He's our one male so he gets to play everyoneb's duet.” She adds, of the Company entry, Being Alive, “That will be our crying ender. It’s about man looking for a woman, but we're making the show about our love for our moms.”

Keepin' It Classy: A Night of Classic Broadway is at 6 p.m., Sunday, May 14, at Unscrewed Theatre, 3244 E Speedway Blvd. Tickets are family-priced at $10, or $7 in advance via
Musical Mayhem performs the second Sunday of every month. Auditions will be held at 6 p.m., Monday, May 22 and noon, Saturday May 27. Visit Musical Mayhem Cabaret on Facebook for more information.

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