Through Oct. 17, North Carolina's Temple Theatre Company will be reeling in King Mackerel And The Blues Are Running: Songs And Stories Of The Carolina Coast. The musical revue, about the simple but arduous lives of coastal fishermen, features three musicians as its performers: Chris Irwin, Mike Masters and Ryan Richardson.
Temple Theatre's staging will be the first production of the show that DOESN'T feature the musical's original creative team, Bland Simpson, Jim Wann and Don Dixon (J.L. Mills was the fourth writer). The actors will portray a trio called "The Coastal Cohorts," who stage a bingo benefit to save a hurricane-ravaged local landmark from condo-happy developers. The show features an extended sequence about the terrible force of a tropical storm -- sure to be an ironic and familiar sight to North Carolina audiences, since several theatres along the Carolina Coast were badly damaged in September by the winds and rain of Hurricane Fran. (Temple escaped with minimal harm.)
Oddly enough, on the very same date King Mackerel opens in North Carolina, Oct. 11, New York's Manhattan Theatre Club begins previews of The Blues Are Running, a new play by the author of The Shadow Box, Michael Cristofer. That show, (completely unrelated to Mackerel), concerns three couples coping with "mistaken identity and murder." The title of Cristofer's play also refers to fishing, for in one scene, two friends discuss the hobby they've shared for years.
For tickets and information on King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running at Temple Theatre, call (800) 752-2765.
King Mackerel is directed by Tim Morrissey. An original-cast compact disk of the show, recorded in the studio April 1996, is available from Sugar Hill Records of Durham, North Carolina.
-- By David Lefkowitz