Weaned on a combination of Broadway musicals, Lawrence Welk, and classic rock, director- choreographer Ken Roht spent several years globe-hopping with the Young Americans (alongsideDesperate Housewives
creator Mark Cherry) before moving on to work with Iranian theater provocateur Reza Abdoh. Over the past four years, his annual 99-cent-store extravaganza has had broad appeal and aThrough the Looking-Glass
perversion. This years installation,Route 99: Orange Star Dinner Show
the most chaotic and convoluted yet takes place in a Wyoming dinner theater run by a stage mom who always dreamed of spawning the ultimate girl group (à la the Andrews Sisters) and raised her children as such despite two of them being boys. The lead, like the one in Sondheims musicalGypsy
, is simply known here as Mama, and the other 25 cast members host a sit-down dinner for 40 audience members, onstage, amid bar brawls and Fosse-like dance numbers. Roht whose fans include the fawning Michael Silverblatt (host of KCRWsBookworm
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) and the Skirball Foundation, which honored him with its Audrey Skirball-Kenis TIME award collaborates here with songwriter John Ballinger and costumer Ann Closs-Farley (see article), as well as a motley cast of capable talents that includes actor Don Oscar Smith and actress/choreographer Sissy Boyd.
Click here to read Behind the Garb: The 99-cent costume crew by Seven McDonald
Click here to read Dam Christmas: A Mulholland Christmas Carol tours the Owens Valley by Steven Leigh Morris