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On Theater: Indulge in ‘20s decadence with double header

They say if you want something done well, give it to a busy person. And there’s no one busier in local theater this weekend than Steve Josephson.

Josephson, the artistic director of Laguna Beach’s Gallimaufry Performing Arts, is at the helm of two productions, both raising their curtains this weekend at the Artists’ Theater at Laguna Beach High School — and both will take their audiences back to the Roaring ’20s.

The attractions are “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” which opened Thursday night and will play this weekend and next during the evenings, and “Bugsy Malone,” ticketed for two weekends of matinee performances.

Gallimaufry has recruited James Snyder, who played the title role in Broadway’s musicalized “Cry Baby” (the part Johnny Depp played in the movie).


Snyder will star in Laguna as Jimmy, the love interest of Millie, played by Tayler Mettra.

“‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ had a profound impact on my life,” Mettra said. “It was only the second show that I had seen on Broadway and I was mesmerized by the singing and dancing, and I fantasized of having the opportunity to play the role of Millie.”

For Josephson and Snyder, it’s a reunion of sorts.

The pair first worked together in 2001 in Paris and Edinburgh, where Josephson directed Snyder in the European premiere of “Weird Romance” and the two co-starred in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” They later joined forces in the cast of “Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes.”


Performances of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” continue at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays until.

Meanwhile, “Bugsy Malone” takes the Laguna High stage at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 2.

Some 49 young performers will comprise the show’s cast, ranging in age from 8 to 18.

They’ll sing, dance and fling pies in this pint-sized spoof of the Prohibition era.

Tickets to “Millie” range from $10 to $25, while “Bugsy” tickets run from $10 to $20.

Both may be obtained by contacting the theater at (949) 499-5060 or at buytickets.html.

TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Coastline Pilot.