by J*Company

It looks like it’s going to be a bright and happy birthday for Cindy as she arrives for work at the Wash-o-Rama Laundromat. But her happy birthday quickly turns unhappy as it becomes awash with bad news. Soon she has learned that in separate accidents she lost her last living relatives and her dear cat Fluffy who were both hit by a Corvair. The final straw – her beloved penpal boyfriend has just written her off for a girl who offers better penmanship (and the rat bought a Corvair to boot!). Suddenly it’s time for Cindy to break out into a solo of The End of the World as she tries to end it all by agitating herself to death in a washing machine – an attempt that might actually be successful thanks to the arrival of two unlikely guardian angels sent to help poor Cindy get through this difficult cycle in her life.

Such is the basis of this fun and highly entertaining “Rocking ‘60s Musical Soap Opera” which was created and written by local greats Melinda Gilb, Steve Gunderson, and Bryan Scott, received its debut at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, and has also been produced at the Globe, off-Broadway, and on tour. This marks the first time it has ever been produced by a youth theatre company, and is directed by veteran Suds director Mark Stevens.

The small but highly talented cast of four is led by Dorothy Guthrie as the young and cutely goofy Cindy. The angels help her to shed that cutsie image long enough to intimidate with These Boots Were Made for Walkin’, and she really shines in her first-act finale I Don’t Wanna be a Loser. Michelle Geffen is the sweet and straight-laced angel Dee Dee who is still a little green about this angel business, yet is able to tutor Cindy on man-catching pretty quickly as she stalks an unsuspecting washing machine repairman with the song Big Man. Kari Campbell is a riot as the much more worldly angel Marge, and she gets to showcase her remarkable vocal talents by belting out her demand for a little Respect and delivering a show-stopping rendition of You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me. The trio work great together through several songs including You Can’t Hurry Love and Wishing and Hoping. And then there’s the outrageously funny and versatile Adam Covalt who becomes everything from a happy postal worker to the intimidated repairman to an ultra hip Secret Agent Man to the mysterious old lady who goes by the suspicious name “Mrs. Halo.”

Instead of the usual seating structure in the Garfield Theatre, J*Company put several rows of chairs down on ground level right in front of the stage, making a more intimate seating arrangement but with the drawback that your view may at times be obstructed by the head in front of you. Karin Campbell and Shulamit Nelson combined on the great costumes that range from the slightly nerdy to super flashy, all with a good Sixty-ish feel to them. Unfortunately the show only ran for one weekend, but it proved to be a huge success for the theatre. Filled with great music, terrific performances, fun humor, and a full load of laundry puns, how could it miss?

Performed through December 12, 2004.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Cindy: Dorothy Guthrie
Dee Dee: Michelle Geffen
Marge: Kari Campbell
Everyone Else: Adam Covalt

Director: Mark Stevens
Musical Director: Rayme Sciaroni
Stage Manager: Avalon Hernandez
Light Design: Jason Bieber
Sound Design: Eric Lundberg


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