British playwright Sandy Wilson set his musical The Boy Friend in the 1920s on the French Riviera.
First performed in London in 1953, The Boy Friend is a comic pastiche of shows of the Roaring 20s, and was immediately popular with audiences. The show opened on Broadway on September 30, 1954. It continues to be a favorite with repertory companies -- and audiences.
It tells the story of Polly Browne, an heiress who arrives at Madame Dubonnet’s School for Young Ladies. When her widowed father, Percy, arrives at the school, he realizes that the headmistress is an old flame of his.
Polly feels left out because she is the only one of her set who doesn’t have a boyfriend, and she needs a partner for the fancy dress ball. When an errand boy, Tony, arrives to deliver her costume, they are immediately attracted to each other.
Of course, there’s a lot more action that takes place, and of course, Polly and Tony’s love is endangered. But it’s not exactly ruining the suspense to say that it all has a happy ending -- for everyone involved.
The Boy Friend will be presented by the Little Theatre of Savannah, Inc. beginning May 22. The production is being directed by the venerable DJ Queenan, recently chosen by Connect Savannah readers as Best Director of 2007.
You’re guest directing. How’d that happen?
DJ Queenan: Recently I was made aware that the Little Theatre was in need of a director for The Boy Friend. I had just finished directing A Midnight Cry for the Cultural Arts Theatre and happened to have a little room in my schedule. I asked board member Mark Rand if they might consider using me. The rest is history.
What is the show about?
DJ Queenan: The Boy Friend is a jolly 1950s spoof of the old, English, 1920s musicals. You have your romantic couple, your comedic couple and a gang of adorable young men and women dancing their hearts out. It’s a lot of fun.
Is this the musical that launched Julie Andrews’ career?
DJ Queenan: The Boy Friend is indeed the musical that launched everyone’s favorite: Julie Andrews. When you listen to the original cast album, you can’t help but think how young she was.
Who is playing the lead roles?
DJ Queenan: The romantic couple is played by the wonderfully talented Nick Bushcar and Jonette Page. They are adorable together and their voices will make your heart melt. The comedic couple are played by veteran stage performers Carol Melton and Jeroy Hannah. Carol and I have been working together quite a bit over the past few years. She is a joy to be around and her talents just keep multiplying. Jeroy Hannah is a newcomer to the Savannah theatre scene, but has spent most of his time on the boards in Atlanta. Simply said, he is hysterical.
What’s the hardest part about staging this?
DJ Queenan: The hardest part of staging this show has been making enough time for all the dance rehearsals. Our choreographer is none other than the multi-talented Karen Burns. In so many ways this production belongs to her. She has put these young actors through their paces. But as she and I continue to discover, this cast is up to any challenge we provide. Karen Burns has truly been this show’s greatest gift!
What would you tell people to get them out to see this show?
DJ Queenan: It’s jam-packed with music, dance and most importantly, laughter. Frankly, it's a really fun and funny night at the theater.
What: The Boy Friend. When: May 22, 23, 24, 30 and 31 and June 1, 5, 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. and May 24 and 25 and June 7 and 8 at 3 p.m. Where: Seaboard Freight Station Theatre, 703D Louisville Rd. Cost: $20 general admission, $15 seniors, military and students and $10 children. Info: 642-4774, littletheatreofsavannah.org
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