Breckenridge's Backstage Theatre, winner of the 2010 Outstanding Regional Theatre award by the Colorado Theatre Guild, opens its summer season with a hilarious look at the U.S.'s great movie factory. "Completely Hollywood Abridged" opened yesterday and runs through July 22.
The performance is packed with rapid costume changes, wise cracks, loads of props and leg-slapping short renditions of approximately 186 Hollywood films, told with just three actors in two acts over 97 minutes.
The show stars Seth Maisel (Backstage's "Cannibal The Musical"), Backstage Theatre artistic director Christopher Willard ("The Wedding Eve"), and Chris Boeckx ("The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"). All three actors are veterans of the "Completely" franchise, specifically "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged" which has run at the Backstage several times over the years. Both plays are written by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor with additional material by Dominic Conti.
"Completely Hollywood" is witty, slappy, satirical and, according to Willard, "all mashed up," and "fast and furious." The story is told through the eyes - and antics - of three wanna-be struggling Hollywood screen writers, who along the way impart the classic 12 cardinal tenants of filmmaking. Hollywood rule of filmmaking number one is, "every movie is just a combination of two old movies." And thus begins the premise for "Completely Hollywood."
Just a few of the films touched on include "Avengers," "Aviator," "Basic Instinct," "The Bird Cage," "Jerry McGuire," "Silence of the Lambs," "Singing in the Rain," all of the "Rocky" films, "Twilight" and many more.
Film spoofs, star impersonations, movie mash-ups and a compilation of classic cinematic cliches fill out the performance, guaranteed to have people laughing, if not groaning, throughout the event. The production is prop-intensive and even features a strobe light, silent movie scene. While the play is fully scripted, opportunities for audience participation have a tendency to lead to improv, at which the actors excel.
The three have worked together many times over the years, with Boechx and Willard's experience going back a decade or more. "It was a pretty short rehearsal process, about three or four weeks in preparation," said Boechx. "With just three guys you can collaborate pretty quickly."
Maisel brings a tremendous amount of energy and talent to the production as well. He has been seen in Backstage Theatre productions including "Cannibal," "The Drunkard," "The Backstage Bash," and he did the fight choreography in "The Fantastics" and "Christmas Story."
"I'm really loving working up here in Breckenridge at the Backstage," Maisel said. "It's a great space."
For this production the theater is set up to seat 100 people per show. The complete performance schedule is: tonight, June 23, 28, 29, 30, July 6, 7, 12, 14, 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 p.m. and June 24, July 8, 15, 22 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $23 for adults (all fees included) online and $25 (all fees included) at the door or by phone. Tickets for youth under 18 are $18 online and $20 at the door or by phone. For online tickets, visit backstagetheatre.org. To order via phone call (970) 453-0199.
Tickets are available at the door one hour before showtimes. A special Champagne Opening was held on June 21 with desserts and complimentary champagne. For more information on this and other shows in the Backstage Theatre's 38th Season in Hollywood visit www.backstagetheatre.org.