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Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

OCC’S SUMMER MUSICAL ADAPTS ARTHUR MILLER’S “CREATION” IN “WORLD PREMIERE”
Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Orange Coast College Theatre Department will present the “world premiere” of a musical adaptation of Arthur Miller’s famous comedy, “Creation of the World and Other Business: the Musical,” on weekends August 1 through August 10.

Pete Uribe, who transformed the play into a musical format, will direct a 35-member cast of actors, singers and dancers. Performances will be 7:30 p.m. August 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 and 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sundays, August 3 and August 10. Tickets are available now at occtickets.com and at the Bursar’s Office, (714) 432-5880. Advance tickets are $12 general admission and $8 for OCC students and seniors. Tickets, if they are available, will be $15 and $10 at the door.

Uribe describes the play as a “charming and gently humorous retelling” of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and their expulsion from Paradise. A scheming Lucifer seeks to share power with God, who is now angered by the errant ways of his creations (Adam and Eve). Add Cain, Abel and some sibling rivalry, plus a host of angels, the action alternates between scenes of sprightly humor and absorbing confrontations.

The show will leave the audience laughing while pondering questions on the human dilemma. The play has been called “a parable for our time, and all time, rich with philosophic insights and alive with a vivid theatricality."

Uribe had to get a clearance from Arthur Miller’s son, Robert, and his daughter, Rebecca, before he could stage the musical version of the play, which is still a work in progress. Producer Bill Shultz, who also was involved in Uribe’s musical adaptation of The Who’s “Quadrophenia” five years ago, is also helping to finance OCC’s musical.

Uribe’s project is the result of midnight inspiration five years ago, the director explains. While he was working on three plays simultaneously, including “Quadrophenia” and Miller’s “Creation” play, he dreamed about adapting a musical version of the Miller’s work. At 4:00 a.m. he began jotting down notes for several hours. He revisited those notes 18 months ago, and “I went to work. It went from a pastime to a passion, then obsession.”

Uribe, who teaches acting and stage combat for OCC’s Theatre Department, mentioned his project to Rick Golson, chair of the college’s theatre program. Golson was open to staging the show on campus during the summer as a workshop for students. “Our hope is that this is the beginning of a play that will have an afterlife,” Uribe said.

Willie Murillo, a well-known trumpeter, songwriter and music educator, is musical director. He will lead a seven-piece band that will perform 25 numbers, including jazz, rock and roll, old standards and spirituals. The music changes genres as time passes in the play. “This show spans a lot of different styles,” Murilly said.

Murillo studied music at Cal State Fullerton before he launched a career that includes performing in a variety of bands, including The Big Phat Band, and on Grammy-winning albums. Much of his work is in Hollywood, where he creates music for film, television, commercials and video games, including Disney films “Frozen” and “Sophia the First.”

Stephen Shareaux, who had a leading role in Uribe’s “Quadrophenia,” is cast in the role of Lucifer. The Ojai resident was the lead singer for Kik Tracee, a band popular in the early 90s, and he recently produced a solo album, “Golden.”

Lucifer “believes he can change the world by tempting Adam and Eve,” Shareaux said. The role is “very exploratory,” the actor said. “I’m climbing in. It’s fun.”

OCC theatre arts student Maureen Lefevre portrays Eve. Previously she performed in OCC’s “Three Penny Opera” and “Spring Awakening.”

Lefevre, who plans to transfer to a musical theatre conservatory, Cap 21 in New York, next fall, said her character “has a lot of different levels” during the course of the play, beginning with childlike innocence, her sexual awakening, and her experiences as a mother.

The actress hopes to make a career on Broadway “doing what I love – having that connection with the audience.” The Huntington Beach resident is a graduate of Marina High School. She decided to attend OCC because of the college’s transfer program and the reputation of Coast’s Theatre Department.

Alex Bodrero, who earned an Associate in Arts degree in music from OCC, makes Adam come to life in the production. He is currently completing a bachelor of music degree at Chapman University with an emphasis on vocal music.

Although he has focused on classical voice and opera, “I really fell in love with theatre,” Bodrero says. He performed for OCC’s Music Department in the Chorale and Musical Theatre Workshop. His theatrical experience also includes the operas “Magic Flute” and “Merry Widow” and the play “Glass Menagerie.”

A graduate of Laguna Beach High School, Bodrero hopes to pursue a career in musical theatre.

OCC’s summer musical “is going to be extremely entertaining,” Bodrero said. “There are great big numbers and unexpected madness.” He also praised Uribe’s creativity as a writer and director. “There are songs nobody has seen in theatre format,” he explained. “It works very well for this show.”