Green Grows The Lilacs -Theatre Review: A Prelude to Oklahoma



Green Grows The Lilacs - Melora Marshall and Jeff Wiesen photo by Ian Flanders

The terraced hillside of the rustic canyon lent itself beautifully to this performance as the audience in the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum clapped their hands and sang along to familiar tunes at A-ridin' ole Paint, Green Grows the Lilacs, Skip To My Lou among others while they enjoyed the reprisal of Lynn Riggs successful 1930's play, Green Grow the Lilacs.   Rarely performed in its original form, the play remains as compelling as it was when it first won awards.


Green Grows The Lilacs - Steven B Green and Jeff Wiesen photo by Ian Flanders

As a tribute to his childhood in the Indian Territory, Native American playwright Lynn Riggs's 1930's story of young love threatened by violence when a menacing farmhand dies unexpectedly is said to be the precursor to Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma


Green Grows The Lilacs - Willow Geer and Jeff Wiesen photo by Ian Flanders

The music is fun and engaging and the drama keeps you watching.  All the actors were superb, but the dog was the best and added to the set. 


Green Grows The Lilac - Elizabeth Tobias photo by Ian Flanders

Masterfully directed by Ellen Geer, the play stars Willow Geer (Laurey Williams,) Jeff Wiesen (Curly,) Melora Marshall (Aunt Eller Murphy,)  Steven B. Green (Jeeter Fry,) Zachary Davidson (Peddler,) Wendy Pigott (Cory Elam,) Elizabeth Tobias (Ado Annie,) Leo Knudson (Old Man Peck,) John Manahan (Man,) along with Dimitri Aleman Jones, Tate Ammons, Olivia Buntaine, Charina Cherbosque, Caitlin Durkin, Arielle Fodor, Devin Holliman, Kathleen Leary, Kendall Linzee, Victoria Yvonne Martinez, Jay Sosnicki, Schyler Tillet, and Alexander Wauthier round out the cast.


Green Grows The Lilacs - Melora Marshall photo by Ian Flanders

Jonathan Blandino assisted with direction, while Kim Cameron did stage management and was helped by Jackie NicoleRandy Hozian was costume designer while Beth Glasner did wardrobe supervision.  Erin Walley was properties master and Ian Flanders did sound.  Zach Moore did lighting and was assisted by Jennifer Burkhart


Green Grows The Llilacs - Zachary Davidson, Melora Marshall photo by Ian Flanders

Ticket prices, depending on where you are sitting, run from $27 to $39.50  with children 7- 12 being $10 and those under 6 entering for free.   There are discounts for senior, military, students and AEA members.


Green Grows The Lilac - Elizabeth Tobias, Willow Geer and Melora Marshall photo by Ian Flanders

While everything they do here is wonderful, you want to check the schedule first. Green Grows the Lilacs runs different days so call the theatre at 310 455 3723 or go online since they have several plays running at once.  This play runs until September 26, 2015.  Several of the performances as August 16  -2:30 pm  (a pre-show discussion) and August 21 and 29th (a buffet dinner for an extra charge) have special programs associated with them. 


 Start time is 7:30 pm not 8 pm as with many theatres.  Parking is available for $% on the lot (handicap and seniors being free), but there is ample parking along Topanga.  Many patrons bring picnic baskets and enjoy the outdoor ambiance before the show.



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