Whale of a tale sets sail at Ghostlight Theatre - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Whale of a tale sets sail at Ghostlight Theatre

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Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:17 am | Updated: 4:18 pm, Fri Sep 23, 2011.

Ghostlight Theatre’s latest production, “Moby Dick! The Musical,” steps into high camp and even spoofs famous musicals.

Matt McAuley, co-artistic director of Ghostlight, said the musical never takes itself seriously and that the audience is in for a number of laughs.

“It’s so much fun, and you’ll definitely have a great time from the moment this show begins because it‘s hilarious,” said McAuley, who directs with co-artistic director Richard Vines. “There is even a splash zone in the front row for those who want to get wet.”

“Moby Dick! The Musical,” which opens April 8, focuses on the students of an all-girl private academy and their determination to save the institution from bankruptcy. They decide to stage a production of Herman Melville’s novel in the school’s swimming pool.

When the school’s headmistress must step in to play Captain Ahab, comic highjinks ensue.

McAuley said they chose the musical because of the funny tone and the catchy music. “Moby Dick!” comes from producer Cameron Mackintosh, who’s responsible for the hits “Les Miserables,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats.”

“Many people might not know about this funny musical, because it’s not one of his better-known shows,” he said. “But it’s truly a cult classic in the vein of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ or ‘Little Shop of Horrors,‘ and I guarantee that people will enjoy it.”

The cast features mostly teenage girls and two men, including the headmistress, who is played in drag by actor Howard Klemmer.

Klemmer, a Sun City Grand resident, said it’s been a stretch for him to portray the headmistress, who plays a man in the play within a play.

“You have to step outside of your comfort zone and portray her as the woman you imagine her to be,” Klemmer said. “And the difficult task is that I’m playing a woman playing a man, and that makes it even harder.”

In his acting career, Klemmer has played strong leading male roles. But this particular character has been a fun challenge for him.

“I’ve have to wear sexy dresses, and I’m not sure what my wife is going to think about that one,” he said with a laugh.

Without giving away too many secrets, McAuley said there is a 3D sequence where audience members must put on glasses.

“There are so many fun things with this show,” McAuley said. “And people will also know that it spoofs many of the shows that Cameron made famous.”

Mitchell Vantrease may be reached at 623-876-2526 or mvantrease@yourwestvalley.com.

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