Review On reviewed by reviewed by Joan Alperin reviewed by Joan Alperin


Joan Alperin

Joan Alperin

Writer, Registered Critic


photo by Ed Krieger

'Paradise' A Bluegrass Musical Comedy That Will Have You Laughing & Dancing In Your Seats

Growing up in New York City I started going to musicals when I was six years old and my love for them has not diminished. I love musical theatre so much that I will travel hours to see one. Luckily, I didn't have to go that far to see 'Paradise' the new bluegrass musical comedy playing at The Ruskin Theatre.

'Paradise' was written by Bill Robertson, Tom Sage and Cliff Wagner. They like to refer to this as 'A Divine Bluegrass Musical Comedy.' and after seeing it you'll understand why.

Directed by Michael Myers this show scores big in every way. The story is simple. Paradise is a small town that is facing hard times. Their main industry 'mining' is practically non existent since the mine shut down. It's obvious from the first number that the American Dream has passed Paradise by. However, things are soon about to change with the appearance of Rev. John Cyrus Mountain aka For Profit Prophet played by the fantastically talented Jon Root who actually originated the role at the Ruskin in 2013.

Rev John hasn't come alone. He's brought with him his very hot sidekick and ex stripper, Chastity Jones (the wonderful Nina Brissy) who brings down the house with her song 'Jesus Is Deep Inside of Me' while dancing on a stripper's pole. Accompaning them is Peter Martinez (Jamie Daniels) the son of a reality TV producer from Hollywood. They soon convince the people of Paradise that the way to salvation, fame and fortune is through Reality TV. The Preacher wants to build a mega church so he can spread the gospel and become a super star in the world of realigon.

The whole cast is absolutely sensational, including Paradise's shop owner, Louanne (the fabulous Kelsey Joyce), the hysterically funny Mayor Gayheart, (Chip Bolcik) a closeted gay germaphobic. His collection of gloves will have you falling out of your seat laughing. There's also his adopted bi-racial son, Tater (Randy Taylor) who Gayheart wants to become a big Broadway star despite Tater's misgivings. Their duet 'I Don't Want to Sing on Braodway' is another one of the show's highlights.

Finally there's a quirky pig and chicken farmer, Cyndi (the extremely funny Paige Segal) who lives to revenge those who wronged her.

The show has been updated since it's run in 2013 making it timely as well as hysterically funny, insightful, and a touching satire about living the dream in America. Don't miss it.

'Paradise' opened on Friday, August 17th and plays through September 23rd 2018. Performances are Friday and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. The theatre is located at 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA. Tickets are $30-$35. To purchase: Call 310-397-3244 or go to www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.

 

 

 

 

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