If orange, purple and green are your autumn colors and jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, goblins, vampires ad werewolves are among your best buds, then the world premiere of "The Groovy Ghoulies" is just your cup of hot spiced apple cider. Pantochino Productions Inc. presented this musical, with book and lyrics by Bert Bernardi and music by Justin Rugg as a special Halloween gift at Arts Hall at ECA in New Haven this past weekend.
If you love things that are creepy crawly and definitely go bump in the night, this troupe of groovy ghoulies will be right up there with your bats in the belfry. Apparently this group of singing and dancing purple pumpkin eaters were quite the rock and roll band back in the 1970's when they had their last big hit.
They've never given up the desire to be back in the spotlight and they keep experimenting with new tunes in their home, the Terrible Towers. Now Halloween is almost here and they have a chance, decades later, to become popular. A Hollywood producer Mr. Bigley B. Biggs (Raymond Arnold) is coming to hear their new song.
One problem is they can't agree on what the new song should be and Wolfie Wolfgang (Justin Rugg) is too preoccupied with communicating with his new invisible girlfriend to concentrate on composing. The Ghostess with the Mostess (Mary Mannix) tries to help Swankenstein (Jimmy Johansmeyer) to mobilize the troops, including D-Rac (Evan Faram), Bones T. Bones (Ian Edward Tucksmith), Twitchy (Adrienne Griffiths), Seamore (Matt Johnson), Shreads (Stavros Koumbaros) and Feep (Jessica Intelisano) but a crisis occurs. On their doorstep lands a demanding diva dressed in black and white polka dots, Rosalind Stark (Shelley Marsh Poggio) who with her able assistant Dweeble (George Spelvin) is seeking her missing daughter. She insists the Groovy Ghoulies are hiding her and she pledges to destroy them and their home to get her back.
Before you can say "Boo" or "Trick or Treat" three times, Rosalind is there to find her daughter Dawn (Ali Dunne) and Mr. Biggs returns to hear the new hit single. That Dawn is Wolfie's invisible girlfriend as well as a hit teen singing sensation who went missing a year before helps put all the apples in the bucket for bobbing. Bert Bernardi directs this candy corn confection with spirit, stuffed as it is with inspired costumes designed for Halloween happiness by Jimmy Johansmeyer.
Next up for Pantochino Productions will be "Glitz!," a tinsel and tiara tune fest, December 7-22 at Center for the Arts in Milford. Come watch a bevy of contestants compete for the pageant title "Little Miss Christmas." Go to www.pantochino.com for tickets and information.
The group also has portable theater theme tours, specifically for schools, with shows like "The Bookworms" that encourages reading and "The Brothers Grimm" that unveils their famous fairy tales as well as after school drama programs that get the children on stage to perform. Call 203-937-6206 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
This new non-profit theatre company is also looking for 100 businesses and professional people to donate $100 each to raise $10,000 to fund productions, sets, costumes, props, lighting, all the essentials of theater productions. Consider helping them and becoming a theater angel.