Allied Arts and I are delighted to present to theater-goers of Cambria an exciting new addition to the
Cambria Center for the Arts — Theatre Wing. Randy Schwalbe has joined our community theater family as our resident musical director and is already gearing up for our first musical production to be presented in November.
“In Living Color” is an original book written by Schwalbe with familiar songs like “Over the Rainbow,” “Blue Velvet,” “Colors of My Life” etc. This is a first for Cambria, and Allied Arts is certain that Schwalbe will be welcomed by Cambria showing its support for him and our community theater at Cambria Center for the Arts.
Here’s an interview I conducted with Schwalbe recently:
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NG: What prompted you to write “In Living Color”?
RS: First, to conclude the 2012 season, you had requested from me an original musicale based on previous revues I had written and directed. One of those was a choral concert based on the color blue, and another was a revue of songs and skits extracted from hit TV shows. I simply combined the two and wrote a love story to connect all the “color” music and TV skits. This plot treats black and white TV and color TV not as a technological progression, but as two independent and competing art forms. No history lesson here.
NG: What is it about this musical that will delight our audiences?
RS: I’m not expecting to win a Tony for my creation; however, the re-creation of the television scenes and commercials from the ’60s and ’70s are sure to bring back fond and nostalgic memories of our youth. And for today’s youth, they will get a glimpse of groundbreaking programming — and in those days, one program could easily dominate the ratings. Now they are woefully relegated to YouTube sightings. This musical provides a chance to see some of these epic TV shows and commercials up close and live!
NG: How are you presenting the orchestration for this musical?
RS: Let me state from the beginning, for a paying audience, I would rather use one live pianist than a 30-piece orchestra on tape. If a musical or opera production uses canned music, you might as well go to a movie.” In Living Color” will, of course, incorporate a live band to cover the orchestrations.
Everything you see and hear —
songs, TV themes, and commercials— will be in the moment, the way music theater is meant to be experienced.
NG: What are your current challenges in the production of this musical?
RS: By far, the biggest challenge that we face is completing the casting and establishing the tech crew. I still need a few more men on stage. This show calls for a balanced cast of women and men (five of each) without any restrictions on age or dancing abilities, just the ability to sing and to have a good time performing on stage.
NG: Tell me about YOU! RS: I just recently retired after 30 years with Hughes/Boeing Satellites as an operations analyst in the Southern California area. The community here has seen me conduct the orchestra for the last three musicals at Coast Union. For the past 35 years, I have conducted and directed numerous musicals, as well as choral and symphonic band concerts around the South Bay area of Southern California. I even tackled an opera once. I have a BA in music education from UCLA and studied choral conducting with Professor Donald Nuen there as well. I look forward to putting community music theater on the Cambrian map through Allied Arts.
Nancy Green is the theater/artistic director of Allied Arts Theatre Wing at Cambria Center for the Arts, 1350 Main St. Anyone interested in participating in the performing arts as an actor, tech crew, stage hand etc., can call Nancy at 927-5951 or email nancy. theatre. cca @ gmail.com. Tickets to “Rumors” by Neil Simon in August are now on sale at www.brownpapertickets.com or 800-838-3006.