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Marijuana Musical Satire Hits High Note At Cabaret


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The smell of marijuana smoke and the blinding glitter of sequenced spandex filled a packed theater Thursday night as Chico Cabaret opened its doors for "Reefer Madness: The Musical."

A mixed crowd of college students, family members and theater junkies filled the intimate room with uproars of laughter and applause as the cast of "Reefer Madness" gave the performance of a lifetime.

From the first sparked joint to the last crumbs of a marijuana-laced brownie, "Reefer Madness" had people rolling in the aisles with its parody of all things musical theater. Cheeky lyrics, raunchy dance moves and exaggerated performances from every actor made this show one to remember.

The show was dedicated to Kelsey Fossum-Trausch, who was unable to play the role of Sally after having emergency appendicitis surgery.

Vanessa Ceccarelli took over the part and learned the role in just three days. While previously on the chorus line, Ceccarelli spent late nights after practice with musical director Jeffery A. Childs to perfect every number. And her hard work paid off. She looked like she had been the understudy for the part all along.

"We can't have understudies in community theater," said director Phil Ruttenburg. "People have lives outside this theater, but Vanessa really dedicated herself to this show."

But all the performers played their parts well. The chemistry between lovers Jimmy, played by Sam Ruttenburg, and Mary Lane, played by Jessica Nelsen, was more than just good acting. There was definite sexual tension between the two as they shared their first onstage kiss.

"I think she was more nervous about it than me," Ruttenburg said.

"If I can't turn him on, he doesn't have buttons," said Ceccarelli as sex-crazed reefer Sally as she talked young Jimmy Harper into smoking the sweet reefer.

But for those who don't care for musical theater or sexy characters, Mary Lane is enough of a reason to see the show. Jessica Nelsen, a 16-year-old junior from Chico High School, has a voice worthy of the Broadway stage, and her curve-hugging costumes perfectly captured the innocence and sex appeal of her na've character.

"I'm really looking forward to the next five weeks, and I've never honestly been able to say that about a show," Jessica said.

Guest appearances from Jesus, the devil, Uncle Sam and presidents Franklin Roosevelt and George Washington made the final number one of the most entertaining in the show.

Uncle Sam told people that he wanted them "to put down that joint."

A three-piece band jazzed up the show with keyboards, drums and guitar riffs. Every song was in key, perfectly rehearsed, and every actor gave his or her best performance to make opening night a great show.

"Opening night is always the best show to see, because we finally get feedback from the audience," Ruttenburg said.

In the audience, cocktail waitresses in black satin mini dresses were strapped with ammunition belts of colorful $5 tequila and vodka shooters and Reefer-themed drinks were offered, including one called "The Giggle Stick." Giant chocolate chip cookies and Snicker's candy bars were also offered.

The high-energy show runs through Sept. 29 and each performance is packed with excitement and loads of laughs. Chico Cabaret and the cast members want audiences to fall in love with the sweet seduction of "Reefer Madness," they said.

Reserved seating can be arranged for large parties on the stage floor.

News Mod: CoZmO - 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Orion Online
Author: Kenna Hunt
Contact: khunt@theorion.com
Copyright: 2007 The Orion Online
Website: Marijuana musical satire hits high note at Cabaret
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