Go-Go Beach, the Musical, Gets a Tryout in Toronto, Aug. 8-17

News   Go-Go Beach, the Musical, Gets a Tryout in Toronto, Aug. 8-17 Go-Go Beach, the new musical comedy heard in a 2001 Manhattan reading, will get its first act aired in a full staging in Toronto, Aug. 8-17, as part of the Summerworks Festival.

Billed as "colorful valentine to the popular beach party movies of the 1960s," the show has a score by American composers Michael Shaieb and Brent Lord, and book and lyrics by Canadian John Wimbs, a 1995 Dora Award winner.

Performances are at Artword Theatre in Toronto.

According to production notes, "Go-Go Beach takes place over two days in the summer of 1966." It's "a coming-of-age story about a surfer who gets into trouble with his girlfriend when he falls for a runaway teen pop star, and his relationship with an innocent flower child who helps him get back in touch with the waves."

The musical features 18 original songs inspired by pop music from the decade, including the surf sound, girl groups, go-go music and flower-power.

Wimbs won Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production for Molly Wood (which he wrote in collaboration with Christopher Richards). Shaieb (Dogs That Wear Hats, Pickle Pins, The Golden State) and Lord (whose music has been heard in indy films) are alums of the NYU/Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Daryl Cloran directs. He's currently directing Brian Friel's Afterplay for the Shaw Festival in Ontario. The period dances are being created by Tracey Flye, assistant choreographer for the Toronto production of Mamma Mia!

She's was a 2003 Dora Award nominee for her work on Ross Petty's Robin Hood. Production and costume design is by Dora Award-winner Christopher Richards (The Drowsy Chaperone). Go Beach is being produced by Jonathan Schwartz (PopTeen Productions).

The cast for the staging includes Canadian favorite Juan Chioran (a Stratford Festival alumnus, soon to be Roger DeBris in The Producers in Toronto) as B-movie producer Sammy Leech Jr., with Jamie McKnight as cool surfer Woody; Tara Macri as his overbearing girlfriend, J.J.; Ellen McKinney as teen pop star Mindy Chinchilla; Esther Barlow, Julia Juhas, Ryan Kelly, Serge Kushnier, Michael Lomenda and Christine Rossi.

Go-Go Beach was presented at a reading in New York City in June 2001, at which time the songs from the score were recorded as a demo with such performers as Alice Ripley (Side Show), Gavin Creel (Thoroughly Modern Millie) and Miriam Shor (Hedwig and the Angry Inch).

The musical will also be performed this summer at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, by winners of this year's Cappie Awards (Critics & Awards Program), a national organization that honors the best musical theatre students from across the U.S.

In late 2003, the show will be given an extended workshop and complete staging at the University of Northern Colorado, and a main stage production at Concordia College in Minnesota.

The creative team regards the various public stagings as a continued quiet development for the musical prior to a hoped-for first-class full production.

The Summerworks schedule in Toronto is scattered, with shows playing Artword Theatre (75 Portland St.) 6:30 PM Aug. 8, 8 PM Aug. 9, 2 PM Aug. 10, 6:30 PM Aug. 13, 11 PM Aug. 16, 8 PM Aug. 17.

For more information about SummerWorks, call the hotline at (416) 410-1048. For more information about Go-Go Beach, call (416) 96-BEACH, or www.gogobeach.com.