On Theater: Eclectic season at Golden West

Golden West College's 2013-14 theater season offers something for every taste, from the chilling promise of a totalitarian future to what has been hailed as the funniest farce ever written.

The chiller leads off the GWC parade. It's "1984" — a year long past but far in the future when George Orwell first visualized it in 1949 and wrote this eerie drama of one man's quest for individual identity in a world that might have existed had the Nazis emerged victorious in World War II. It's a time of intellectual repression, with Big Brother watching ominously over the citizens.

Tom Amen will be directing "1984" in its new stage adaptation by Michael Gene Sullivan. The play will be presented from Oct. 11 to 20 in Golden West's Mainstage Theater.

Among the most anticipated attractions of the holiday season is television's annual presentation of the movie "White Christmas," with Bing Crosby warbling the title tune. Theatergoers can view the show live this year during Golden West's second production, from Nov. 15 to 24.

Martie Ramm will be directing and choreographing the holiday treat, which features 17 Irving Berlin songs, including "Blue Skies," "I Love A Piano," "Count Your Blessings," "Sisters" and, of course, the classic holiday favorite and most-recorded tune in history, "White Christmas."

Auditions for "White Christmas" have been announced for 7 p.m. Sept. 10 and 11 in the former KOCE studio building, on Gothard Street at Center Avenue near the GWC campus. All roles are open, including one for a 9- to 12-year-old female performer who sings and dances. Callbacks are Sept. 12 by appointment only.

"The Great Gatsby" is gaining renewed popularity these days, with Leonardo DiCaprio headlining the latest movie version. F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel comes to GWC from March 7 to 16 in a new stage adaptation by Simon Levy.

The production, to be directed by Amen, harkens back to the Jazz Age and the opulence of its hedonistic practitioners, particularly the title character, Jay Gatsby, in an era immediately preceding the Wall Street crash and the Great Depression.

Finally, we have "Noises Off," a hilarious farce that spawned an equally rollicking movie version (one of my faves by my favorite director, Peter Bogdanovich). Here we have a stock company of eccentric actors rehearsing a farcical comedy, which triggers even more outlandish backstage behavior.

Out-of-control egos, memory loss and passionate affairs turn every performance into a high-risk comedy adventure in this comedy classic, which features falling trousers and flying sardines among its outrageous elements. Ramm will direct the show, which plays from May 2 to 11.

Another component of the new Golden West season will only be available from Feb. 7 to 9. This would be "Love, Loss and What I Wore," a play of monologues and ensemble pieces about women, clothes and memory.

This treatise from Nora and Delia Ephron will be directed by Ramm and presented in the Stage West Theater, the smaller showplace adjacent to the Mainstage Theater.

Additionally, Golden West will present — free of charge — "Musical Theater Audition Techniques," a master class and workshop with Broadway star Susan Egan. This event will be at 4 p.m. Sept. 18 in the Stage West Theater.

Auditions for GWC productions are open to the community as well as college students. For more information on the Golden West theater program, call (714) 895-8223.

TOM TITUS reviews local theater.

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