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July 23, 2010

Original story teams with barbershop quartet for 'Dastardly Deeds'

Las Vegas Review Journal:

Yo, Snidely. ...

(Sorry -- Mr. Whiplash. We don't mean to disrespect a villain of your stature.)

Can we borrow that furry protrusion over your evil upper lip? You know, with the curlicues on the sides for twirling whenever you tied poor Nell to the train tracks with a sinister "heh, heh, heh."

Black top hat, too, if you can spare it.

"I play the villain, Simon Scowell," says Peter Feeney. Yes, think "American Idol" judges panel. As our baddie admits: "Subtlety is not our thing." Really? When the heroine is rescued by a hero named Justin Tyme?

Subtlety won't be anywhere in the house when "Dastardly Deeds in the Desert" plays Saturday afternoon at the Winchester Cultural Center Theater.

Still thinking "Les Miserables"? Get a grip, theatergoers. "Dastardly Deeds" is an original play that's more of a framework to spotlight local singing talent, including the City of Lights Chorus and local vocal quartets: four male barbershop outfits (Broadcast, Good Times, Shaken Not Stirred and Rumble Seat Daze), one female (SINsational) and one doo-wop (The Chaperones).

A Western-themed romp circa 1890, the "Dastardly" plot (that's "plot" in the loosest sense) concerns "a collision of good and evil." After a hotel owner takes a dirt nap, his widow inherits the joint and finds herself the prize sought by Sheriff Justin Tyme and greedy Simon Scowell, who both want to wed her.

Placing bets on how it turns out?

As chorus members croon and play townsfolk, quartet singers will lend their harmonizing talents to such chestnuts as "Home on the Range," "I'll Be Seeing You," "Danny Boy," "Lida Rose" (from "The Music Man"), "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "Along the Navajo Trail," "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You."

"We have 30 or 40 songs in our repertoire, and we tried to put those into some crazy ideas for a story line," says Greg Dreyer, the show's director and a chorus member. "We decided to do a melodrama with a good guy and a bad guy."

As members of the Barbershop Harmony Society in Nashville, the groups sometimes receive prepackaged shows with which to surround their sound. This time, Las Vegas writer Jacque Klaus spun the tongue-in-cheek "Dastardly" script (that's "script" in the loosest sense) that even includes the town's mayor, a parody of a certain Vegas official. Any guesses? Read more.

Posted by acapnews at July 23, 2010 2:58 AM

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