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EVIDENCE ROOM and ORPHEAN CIRCUS
present
Ken Roht's
SPLENDOR:
A 99¢ ONLY WONDERAMA

Cast

Fairies
Melody Butiu
Sarah Connine
Ryan Templeton

Frenchies
Alicia Adams
Sissy Boyd
Mark Bringelson
Dylan Kenin

Crusties
Halldor Enard
Carolyn Green
Jamie Hebert
Colleen Kane
Gary Kelley
Charliene Michele
Kirk Wilson

Divas
Sue M. Carr
Patty Cornell
O-Lan Jones
Kat Meyer Smith
Elizabeth Guilliams

Good-time Girls
Michael Dunn
Jessica Hanna
Jacob Higgins
Katie Puckrik

Other Clowns
Chris Ibenhard as Golden Boy
Don Oscar Smith as Q, the Quarterly Reporter
Beverly Hynds as Cruise Director
Beth Mack as The "Only" Junkie
Ann Closs-Farley as Hoochy Momma


Conceived, Directed, & Choreographed by Ken Roht
Music Composed & Arranged by John Ballinger
Sets & Props Designed by Keith Mitchell
Lighting Designed by Brian Lilienthal
Costumes Designed by Ann Closs-Farley, Anthony Garcia, & Barbara Lempel

Producers - Bart DeLorenzo, Lori Nelson, Ken Roht

Stage Manager - Mike Mendizabal
Sound Mixer - Stephanie Garcia

Graphic Design - Colleen Wainwright
Photographer - John Schoenfeld

November 28 - December 21, 2003



Melody Butiu, Mark Bringelson, Ryan Templeton



Sarah Connine, Ann Closs-Farley, Ryan Templeton


High: Elizabeth Guilliams, O-Lan Jones, Patty Cornell
Low: Colleen Kane, Halldor Enard, Gary Kelley



Jacob Higgins, Jessica Hanna, Michael Dunn, Katie Puckrik


Reviews

Los Angeles Times

How to describe Ken Roht’s new dance/design extravaganza, Splendor: A 99 Cents Only Stores Wonderama? Well, if Busby Berkeley had dropped acid while watching The Powerpuff Girls... or if Howard Crabtree and Pina Bausch staged a discount retail trade show... or if Cirque du Soleil and the Smurfs staged an avant-garde Nutcracker at a strip mall...

You get the idea. There's a lot packed into Splendor’s 55 minutes: several aisles worth of plastic and paper products on the set (by Keith Mitchell) and costumes (by Ann Closs-Farley, Anthony Garcia and Barbara Lempel); a nonstop soundtrack of bouncy, tinkly tunes by composer-arranger John Ballinger, riffing on everything from Tchaikovsky to kiddie rap; and a pleasingly motley cast of 28 zipping, mugging and pirouetting about with otherworldly vim.

A sign in the lobby informs the arriving audience that "all music was created on a Radio Shack Concertmate 9000 keyboard." This is no mere aside: Apart from some skivvies and wigs, everything in sight, and apparently in earshot, has been culled from the shelves of 99 Cents Only Stores (a production co-sponsor).

At heart, the show is a celebration of such consumer ephemera; what takes us by surprise is the un-ironic joy, and often stunning beauty, of the tribute. It’s probably safe to say that patio lanterns, scented candles, table cloths, silk flowers, beach balls, Squeegee mops, trash bags and fluorescent tubes have never been employed with such love and inspiration.

As with his work on Pinafore! and The Shaggs, Roht’s choreography is sinuous and funny, and his ensemble rises energetically to the occasion. Don’t look for a through line here – a silly sci-fi subplot about two factions battling over an angelic "golden boy" (Chris Ibenhard) coexists unclearly with the infomercial shtick of a slick spokesman (Don Oscar Smith) and nonsensical odes to shopping by a warbling quintet of "99-cent divas" and four 1950s housewives.

Indeed, the show’s jarring juxtapositions and overall twittering, manic giddiness may give some audiences the theatrical equivalent of an ice-cream headache. But as a family-friendly holiday confection, this ravishing, ridiculous vision of sugarplums dances lightly, and glitteringly, in our heads.

– Rob Kendt


LA Weekly

Dynamic, bizarre, playful and charming all describe the alternative universe of Ken Roht’s theatrical dance spectacle. What the event lacks in traditional structure it makes up for with its childlike whimsy. Though it’s just over an hour in length, every moment introduces an imaginative stretch. The plot is a loose illustration of a common tale: Two warring factions – the Frenchies and the Crusties – vie for the prize of the Golden Boy (played with memorable singing by Chris Ibenhard), only to find peace through understanding. The colorful, kitschy garb is artfully constructed from the garish paraphernalia of a typical 99¢ Only Store by costumers Ann Closs-Farley, Anthony Garcia and Barbara Lempel – nicely complemented by Keith Mitchell’s sets and props, and by John Ballinger’s music. The story’s indistinguishable time frame, blending essences of the very ancient and the very modern, also contributes to the surreal yet sweet tone of this holiday presentation. Roht’s dance choreography, though professionally tight, never loses the performance’s delightful spirit of abandon, and Roht’s use of gibberish lyrics further infuses the production with an unbridled quality. All performers are flashy, overstated and outstanding.

– Jude Bradley


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