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Show Palace Dinner Theatre stages 'This Magic Moment' with '50s and '60s music

It has been one of the most popular shows ever produced at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre: The first version set a summer season attendance record in 2004 despite four hurricanes that forced the theater to cancel several shows, and the second version, in 2006, broke that record by a more than 40 percent increase.

It's The 50s and 60s Revue, and on June 5, the Show Palace will launch its newest version, this time with a story line, all new musical arrangements and a brand new title: This Magic Moment.

"People love The 50s and 60s Revue, but they want it to be new and different," said Matthew McGee, the director and co-creator of the show. "So we're keeping the things we liked but putting a new spin on it."

The biggest difference is the addition of a story, which McGee himself penned.

"It's about four friends in the 1980s who do some time travel," he said. The two couples, one of them having trouble in their marriage, are allowed to go back 25 years to their high school days.

"They get a chance to relive their lives and make other choices," McGee said. "It's really sweet, not corny or campy."

Resident music director Michael Ursua chose the songs and did the arrangements for the show and will lead the show's live combo. Some of the numbers have been done in one or both of the previous '50s and '60s shows, and others are new.

"Michael's done a medley around Respect, which is just great," McGee said.

"There were certain songs he really liked, certain songs I really liked and what we thought the audience would really like," McGee said. There's rock, doo-wop, girl groups, and R & B.

"Music like this brings back fond memories from that era," he said.

Playing the two couples are Allan Baker (Clem in Will Rogers Follies); Patti Eyler (Miss Mona in Best Little Whorehouse; Dolly in Hello, Dolly!); Eric Jon Mahlum (Smokey Joe's Cafe); and Laura Lynne Tapper (Sally in Cabaret).

"We have four singers we call the Second Chances," McGee said — newcomers Tim Olivar, Nathan Bostick Jr., Elissa Stone and Casey Shea, all of whom have musical theater experience.

Two veteran performers making their Show Palace debuts are Melissa Nay as the high school choir director, Miss Marshall, and Derek Baxter as the school's principal, Mr. Nelson.

Area theater patrons will remember Baxter from his performances at Richey Suncoast Theatre, Angel "garden cafe" Theatre and Angel Cabaret Theatre in the 1990s. Since then, he has performed at Disney World, on Nickelodeon's All That (Seasons 1-3), and is now resident director for the Salerno Theatre Company in Tampa.

Ms. Nay just wound up the role as Ginger in Waistwatchers: The Calorie-Free Musical at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and has performed at many venues, including the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City and at Tuacahn Amphitheater and Center for the Arts near St. George, Utah.

McGee is enthusiastic about the upcoming show.

"I think it's a really smart little piece," he said.

if you go

Magical memories

What: This Magic Moment, a story set to the music of the 1950s and '60s

Where: Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson

When: Matinees and evenings June 5 to July 26

Tickets: Dinner and show, $46; show only, $34.95, plus tax and tip; ages 12 and younger, $28.45 and $23.45. Call (727) 863-7949 in west Pasco; toll-free elsewhere at 1-888-655-7469.

Show Palace Dinner Theatre stages 'This Magic Moment' with '50s and '60s music 05/28/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 28, 2009 3:36pm]

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