Pasadena Playhouse picks 'Cyclops: A Rock Opera' to mix things up on its second stage
The Pasadena Playhouse apparently is interested in mixing things up on its second stage, the Carrie Hamilton Theatre -- a Catholic nun and a bunch of ribald pagans will be sharing the stage (albeit at different times) on two nights during April.
"Late Nite Catechism 3: Til Death Do Us Part," the latest in the long-running, popular franchise in which writer-performer Maripat Donovan plays a nun named Sister and gives humorous instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice, was the first show the Playhouse booked after taking over programming of the 75-seat space.The plan is to offer a variety of attractions after several years under the aegis of a single guest company, Furious Theatre.
Next up is "Cyclops: A Rock Opera," an original musical based on the only ancient Greek satyr play to have survived from the 400s BC, when bawdy, anything-goes satyr shows gave Athenian audiences comic relief from intense tragic drama. The heroic Odysseus confronts the one-eyed giant cannibal again in this show from L.A.'s Psittacus Productions, only this time, the announcement says, he's accompanied by "a loud and crude rock band, the Satyrs."
It's the second offering from Psittacus (the Latin word for "parrot"), which was founded last year and debuted with "A Tale Told by an Idiot," a "comic book style deconstruction" of "Macbeth."
"Cyclops" opened in January at Son of Semele Ensemble's stage in Silver Lake. Now, says co-founder Louis Butelli, the troupe is renting the Carrie Hamilton for an April 7 to May 8 run of 15 performances, hoping that what he calls an "audition" will succeed well enough for the show to be extended as a co-production between Psittacus and the Playhouse.
Butelli and his fellow Psittacus founders, Chas LiBretto and Robert Richmond, have adapted Percy Bysshe Shelley's translation of the satyr play, and L.A. musicians Jayson Landon Marcus and Benjamin Sherman wrote the genre-hopping score.
"Catechism" continues through April 24, and both shows will have performances April 9 and 16, with "Cyclops" starting at 11 p.m. on those nights.
-- Mike Boehm
Photo: A scene from "Cyclops: A Rock Musical." Credit: Psittacus Productions