Great American Melodrama

2008 marks the 33rd season for San Luis Obispo County’s most popular theatre company, The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville. Opened in 1975, the company has grown into a year- round professional theatre that is attended by over 54,000 patrons annually!

At the Melodrama, theatergoers are welcomed into a comfortable atmosphere of cabaret tables with sawdust on the floor and honky- tonk piano music in the air. Professional performers, recruited from all over the United States, present highly acclaimed productions of classic comedies, melodramas, musicals and thrillers. Following the play at each performance is the vaudeville show, a musical revue full of song, dance and comedy in the Melodrama’s own hilarious style. The high quality and unique combination of show and vaudeville are among the reasons Sunset Magazine called the Melodrama “an excellent year ‘round company.”

Over the last 33 years as audiences grew, the theatre was remodeled and enlarged two times. The playbill, once all melodrama, has grown as well. Playing through March 2 is Just Kidding, a hilarious new American play that centers on Calvin Rogers, a young husband who has created a fictional daughter to enter various contests. When he wins a big one, all he has to do is send his wife on a wild goose chase, enlist his brother- in- law's help, find someone to play his daughter, convince the contest promoters and side- step a truancy officer - all before his wife returns. The sure winners here are chaos and hilarity! Following Just Kidding at each performance is the Ah, Paris! Vaudeville Revue, transporting the audience to the beautiful and romantic City of Light through song, dance and comedy. Can- can girls, funny French waiters, romantic duets, and a hysterical condensed version of Les Miserables are among the highlights of this not- to-be-missed show.

Playing March 6 through April 20 is The Road to Oildale, the hilarious story of a second- rate vaudeville act, Wiffle and Perkins. Down on their luck and desperate to improve their situation, the two song- and- dance men concoct a scheme to get rich in California oil. Soon they are off across the Wild West, stumbling from one misadventure to another, encountering sultry saloon singers and black-hearted bad guys along the way. In the spirit of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby “Road” movies, this is road trip full of laughter and song, and as always, a terrific Vaudeville Revue rounds out the evening.

The Melodrama’s in- house pub serves up jumbo hot dogs, BBQ beef sandwiches, baked potatoes, soups and salads. Beer, wine, soft drinks and coffee are available, as are popcorn, pretzels, nachos and a variety of tasty desserts. Open 30 minutes before showtime and during intermissions, the pub is family priced so all can enjoy great food as part of their Melodrama evening.

Performances are Wednesdays through Sundays at the theatre located at 1863 Pacific Highway 1 in Oceano, 3 miles south of Pismo Beach. Information on showtimes can be found at their website, www.americanmelodrama.com or by calling the Box Office at 805-489-2499.

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