From March 21 to 28, City of Angels will be on stage in Allard Hall. MacEwan University’s theatre department has been practising long and hard to produce Larry Gelbart’s musical. Now, as the end of term approaches, the costumes are finalized, the stage is set, and it’s time for the curtains to rise.
Kendra Humphrey, who is in her second and final year of the theatre arts program, plays Donna—a witty, smart, dependable character. She is also an Angel City “pit four” singer. This is Humphrey’s third show with MacEwan University.
“I love it! It’s very clever. It’s very witty humour. It is a comedy, but it’s got a lot of dramatic aspects to it as well. There’s a character, Bobbi, and her whole story is just tragic,” she says. Humphrey’s excitement for the play is plain to see, and extremely contagious.
The story revolves around Stein, a private eye who is adapting his novel, City of Angels, into a play. Stein’s novel is portrayed in black and white, whilst the “real” world is in colour. In the musical, Stein struggles with whether he should keep his story as it is, or adapt it to be more crowd friendly.
The two halves of the musical are interconnected through multiple stories. Filled with ulterior motives, wit, and comedy, the show isn’t family friendly. It’s a roller coaster of a plot. The show is very risque, says Humphrey.
Set in 1940s Hollywood, the film noir aspect of the play is shown more in the novel’s black and white world. “Each character in the real world is also mirrored in the novel,” says Humphrey. “They’re all interconnected. You hear a lot of lines from the real world that are repeated again in the novel.”
It was easy to portray the film noir style because of director Leigh Rivenbark’s expertise, Humphrey says. “He directs movies as well as plays. If he didn’t have that, it would have been a lot more difficult, but he knows the way movies work.”
The audience, Humphrey says, should expect to laugh a lot. The play keeps realism in check but also plays up the comedy for the audience.
“You’ll learn about being true to yourself and not kind of caving in to what people want you to be,” she adds.
Tickets are available online or at the box office in Allard Hall.