'Gigi' comes to Camelot

Sweet and funny will fill the bill with Camelot Theatre's family-friendly production of "Gigi," which opens Friday, March 19.

The musical won a Tony Award for best original score in 1974, with music by Frederick Loewe and book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, based on a work by French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette.

"It's like a Parisian Cinderella story," says Livia Genise, artistic director of Camelot Theatre Company who is directing "Gigi" this spring.

"Back in the days before VCRs, my family loved this musical. When we were kids, my sister and I used to sing all of the songs from it. Our favorite was the title song. It also was one of Lerner's favorite compositions. Another highlight is 'She's Not Thinking of Me,' which is hysterical."

Shows will run at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through April 18 at the theater, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. The show will preview at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, with a benefit performance for the Community Health Centers in Medford, Ashland and White City. Tickets to the March 17 benefit show are $20. A second preview will be offered Thursday, March 18, and tickets will cost $12. All other tickets will cost $21, $19 for students and seniors. Reserved seating is available for $2 per ticket. Student rush tickets cost $10 and will be available five minutes before show times. A pay-what-you-can-performance will be available at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, for the first 100 people. "Gigi" is sponsored by the Rogue Valley Harmonizers.

The story of "Gigi" is set at the turn of the 20th century in Paris. Gaston Lachaille, a wealthy, young socialite, develops a close friendship with a precocious, carefree Gigi. While her family colludes to make the girl Lachaille's mistress, Gigi has plans of her own.

Genise says there's a remarkable difference between the stage musical and Lerner's 1958 screenplay.

"The biggest roles in the movie are Louis Jourdan as Gaston and Maurice Chevalier as Honoré Lachaille," Genise says. "The musical is about Gaston and Gigi."

Amanda Anderson plays Gigi in the Camelot production, Michael Maisonneuve plays Gaston Lachaille, Bob Jackson Miner plays the charming, old roué, Honoré Lachaille, Ellie Holt-Murray plays Mamita and Presila Quinby is Aunt Alicia.

Anderson earned a two-year degree from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and is an acting intern with Camelot's Conservatory.

"I've been working with Amanda since she was 6," Genise says. "She is my daughter, now 20."

Anderson and Maisonneuve were classmates at PCPA, and the two played brother-and-sister roles in Camelot's 2009 production of "The Secret Garden."

Choreography for the show is by Audrey Flint, musical direction by Mark Reppert, costumes are by Barbara Rains, Don Zastoupil designed and built the set and Bart Grady is lighting designer. Sound, audio and video designer Brian O'Connor will project images of Paris and artwork from the story's time period onto the set design.

Holt-Murray's role as Mamita is her debut appearance at Camelot. She was a vocal coach for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and is a vocal instructor at Southern Oregon University.

Tickets may be purchased from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and one hour before each performance at Camelot's box office. Tickets may be reserved online at www.camelottheatre.org or by calling 541-535-5250.

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