“Surprisingly Old-Fashioned Musical Comedy”

UW-Washington County’s Theatre on the Hill will take its’ audience to China – back in 1952. Everyone that comes to Macao, (pronounced mah-cow) is waiting for something – yet none of them know exactly what that is. Fortunately, they all hang around to find out. Adrift in Macao spins the tale of five quirky characters stranded in this Casablanca-type locale in the Far East. The musical comedy will be performed Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 15 at 1:30pm in the campus theatre, located on the second level of the campus at 400 University Drive, West Bend.

The cast of seven includes four UW-Washington County students: Andrew Helman of West Bend as Rick Shaw (the cynical Surf & Turf Nightclub & Gambling Casino owner); Christophe Jenkins of West Bend as Mitch (an American who is framed for murder); Halie Becker of West Bend as Jo; and Amanda Gresch of Fredonia as Daisy.

The remaining cast members include: Amanda Spreeman of West Bend as Lureena (a shapely blonde who finds herself alone and broke in a foreign city); Kristofer Holly of West Bend as Tempura (Rick’s Chinese employee who has been “battered by life”); and Missy de Ireuste of Cedarburg as Corinna (a tough little gal who gets the boot when Lureena vamps her way into Rick’s heart).

UW-WC Communications and Theatre Professor Brad Ford will produce and direct the one-act musical. Assistant director is Lisa Rowe of West Bend. Vocal director is Deanna Gibeau of West Bend and choreographer is Lisa Schnabel of West Bend. Musical coordinator is Tom Utschig who also plays the drums. Other band members include James Kishline (bass), Scott Currier (synthesizer), Jason Goldsmith (reed) and Deanna Gibeau (piano). The stage manager is Amy Kottke and the production crew includes: Halie Becker, Rebecca Frank, Amanda Gresch,  Andrew Helman, Kris Holly, Dan Koenings, Katie Kottke, Keith Lester, Lisa Rowe, Ginger Starr, Diane Thomas, Jesse Wulf. The lighting designer is Kurt Schnabel and the lighting operator is Katherine Smith.

The book and lyrics were written by celebrated playwright, Christopher Durang, with music composed by Peter Melnick.   The story can best described as fun, and opens with the glamorous band singer, Lureena coming to the city of Macao in search of a job. Lureena stands on a street corner and tries to hail a driver: “Rickshaw! Richshaw!” Out of the darkness, a tough-looking stranger appears: “Hello,” he says, “I’m Rick Shaw.” Later, Rick Shaw hires Lureena to sing at his nightclub. This sort of silliness along with a playful melodic score provides the framework for the play that is built on laughs more than plot and character.

According to The New York Times review: “The dames are sheathed in satin and attitude, the guys have secrets to spare, and the gags come slathered in soy sauce.” Theatre Mania describes it as a “very appealing and surprisingly old-fashioned musical comedy.”  The musical numbers will have you humming on your way out, and include “Ticky Ticky Tocky,” “Mister McGuffin,” and “Mambo Malaysian.”

For ticket sales, phone the main office at 262-335-5208 (Monday through Friday 8am-4:30pm).  Tickets are $12 adults and $9 for seniors (over 62) or youth (under 18). It is perfectly appropriate to bring older children to the production. They won’t understand all the jokes, but like their parents, should find the musical comedy a fun diversion.

UW-Washington County is located at 400 University Drive in West Bend. The theatre is located on the second floor. Free parking is available.


Sue Bausch