Search Baja California

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Taffetas Are Tantalizingly!

By Anonymous Author

Surely many people have spent a few childhood Saturday evenings cross-legged in front of the prized family console TV watching the Lawrence Welk Show. But there was only one part of his Musical Family that interested me - the Lennon Sisters. Now, a version of the Lennon Sisters has come to Rosarito to transport us back in time.


Taffetas, the first musical production by the RTG in its current location, was written by Rick Lewis.The story line follows a fictitious 1950's girl group, four mid-Western sisters, from Muncie, Indiana. They were very  "square," even for their times, and appeared for the first time on live national TV,

 hoping against hope to be noticed by Ed Sullivan and garner an appearance on his show. We're the audience for a reunion performance of that show exactly as they did it in 1956.

We were fortunate to be invited to a preview performance. From the opening number, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. The songs, more than 40 of them, are introduced by a line here, a line there. This is not a plot driven piece, rather it's all about "music and beauty", a charming tribute to the sounds and feel of an era. Transport yourself back in  time as the girls serenade you with a hit parade including "Volare," "Mockin' Bird Hill," "Tennessee Waltz," "Sh-boom," "Sincerely." And many more.  Some are in medley form (the blazing fast "travel" medley will knock your socks off). A few are rendered solo or in duet, but the heart of the show is the sisters as a singing group and I especially enjoyed their harmonies in "Three Coins in a Fountain" and "Sandman."


Susan Lidstrom as Kaye (the "sister in charge") draws us in, as she always does on the stage, with both her voice and her twinkling personality. Amy Chankin is Cheryl (a 50's version of a sexpot) and treats us to strong vocals along with her well known acting prowess. Arlene Belardi as Peggy (the "Junior League" type in the family), lends her style and grace to the production. Monique Valdez brings the voice of an angel, and the smile of one too, to the role of  Donna (the ditsy sister).


Having this production here  is really the gift to the RTG of visiting Director and choreographer, Terrance McKerrs, and Musical Director, Dan Kurek. These two fellows bring unparalleled professional talent to our theatre along with a warmth and good humor that have made them a treat for the cast to work with. The musical's hit parade of the 50's and early 60's delights in no small part due to McKerrs' having specially choreographed each number.  He did not hold back on the stamina required of the cast, and you will be amazed at their energy and ability to handle the pace. Although we didn't see a full dress rehearsal at the preview, we learned that each song also has its own lighting.


... Comments & Quotes ...

"You'll want to see it twice!"


"THE TAFFETAS ARE TANTALIZINGLY TERRIFIC!"says Sandy Eddahbi! --- "I went to opening night tonight at the Rosarito Theatre Guild and what a joy the new production is. The four Taffetas are all high energy and super talented. If you have a chance go see them this weekend, because you might want to go back and see them again next weekend. The four, Arlene Belardi, Amy Chankin, Susan Lidstrom and newcomer to Rosarito, Monique Valadez (who is an opera singer and Cantor), don't stop singing and dancing and making you smile during the entire production. That would be two thumbs up way high!"


"They deserved the standing ovation they got!!"


"The RTG should do more musicals. I loved all the songs. How can they dance and sing so well for so long??

"Terrific show! We coming back next week with our visitors Thank you RTG."


"We loved it."
Photos by Ron Sharpe, Photo Art Gallery * Info and tickets at rosaritotheatre.org