One of the most appreciative audience members at the La Jolla Playhouse’s “Silent Edward” at the San Dieguito Boys and Girls Club on Jan. 18 was Marissa Nolan, the 2 1/2-year-old daughter of Paul Nolan, who plays the slimy developer in Des McAnuff’s original musical about the fight to save a historic ferry from “progress.” Some critics might have thought Nolan was playing the bad guy. Not Marissa, who bounced happily to the music whenever her slick-talking cigar-smoking father oiled his way across the floor.
Of course Marissa was not the only member of the audience to appreciate the play, the Playhouse is happy to report. The show, the initial $82,500 venture of the theater’s children-oriented Performance Outreach Program (POP), broke even after an Oct. 17-29 tour that reached about 20,750 people, including 82 schools, 15 recreation centers and a nine-performance stint at the Warren Theatre at UC San Diego. And that is an encouraging enough sign to McAnuff, artistic director of the Playhouse and initiator of POP, to promise over the phone from North Carolina where he is readying “A Walk in the Woods” for its Broadway opening Feb. 28, that there will be more POP shows in San Diego’s future and that “Silent Edward” himself may not have spoken his last.