Bend in the Road, a new family musical based on the beloved novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, is currently performing at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre (upstairs at The Pasadena Playhouse) in Pasadena. Written by Benita Scheckel and Michael Upward, and directed by Scheckel Bend in the Road tells the story of young Anne Shirley, an orphan, who is mistakenly adopted by siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, to help them on their Avonlea farm.
Anne’s intelligent, joyous and imaginative ways change the lives of all those around her in this small town, including Matthew, Marilla and nosy town gossip Mrs. Rachel Lynde. Anne finds fast friendships at school, and a rivalry with classmate Gilbert Blythe turns complicated as they grow up.
The cast features (in alphabetical order) Christopher Callen, Ty Freedman, Christopher Higgins, Justine Huxley, James Jaeger, Don Margolin, Melinda Porto, Kate Sullivan, Kailey Swanson, and Alison Woods.
As part of its educational outreach, which includes providing free shows to Pasadena Unified School District students, the production has cast five Pasadena area students who work as apprentices alongside Equity actors. They are (in alphabetical order) Cade Anderson, Zoe Berger-Davis, Mariella D’avirro, Kaitlyn Hammer, and Cheri McKenzie.
Family friendly shows like this are few and far between and this show would be a wonderful opportunity to introduce children and teenagers to the joys of live theater in an intimate setting.
The scenic artist is Gary White, lighting design is by Darrell Clark, costume design is by Liz Dickson, and sound design is by Julie Ferrin. The musical director is Michael Upward, choreography is by Kevin Lee, and the stage manager is Kelsey O’Keeffe. Susan Lambert produces for 134 West and Summerland Entertainment.
Scheckel is a San Gabriel Valley native and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Some of her stage credits include Camelot, Into the Woods, Evita, The Music Man, Oklahoma! and The Secret Garden. She started directing and producing in 2003 for local philanthropic organizations and in 2007 began her career as a director and teacher in the Pasadena Unified School District, working with middle and high school students.
Musical director and co-writer Upward has written a Requiem Mass for chorus, soloists, and orchestra, and over 50 choral compositions which have been performed throughout the United States. In addition to writing three other full length musicals, he has served as musical director for productions of The Fantasticks, Guys and Dolls, Evita, Nunsense II, and Quilters.
Bend in the Road performs 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday through October 14, 2012. Tickets are $25, $20 for children 12 years of age and under. Call 626-344-8846 or visit www.bendintheroadtickets.eventbrite.com.
The Carrie Hamilton Theatre is located upstairs at The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Avenue, in Pasadena.
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