Romance and lust trump in musical

by Brittney Pickei

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The well-known Rodgers and Hart musical, “Pal Joey” will be performed at the Don Powell Theatre on Feb. 28 through March 9. Paula Kalustian is directing the edgy romantic tale.

Kalustian is currently the director of the MFA Musical Theatre program at San Diego State. During the course of Kalustian’s career she has directed several musicals, professional plays and opera productions. In addition to being a director, Kalustian has also had the role of artistic director and co-owner of Miracle Theatre Productions, a professional music theatre venue in Old Town, San Diego. Kalustian is also an active member of the Executive Boards of the Actor’s Alliance of San Diego as well as The San Diego Performing Arts League. She has directed several hit SDSU productions, such as “A Little Night Music,” “I Love a Piano” and “The Boy Friend.”

“Pal Joey” focuses on Joey Evans, a manipulative performer with dreams of opening up his own nightclub. Throughout the play Joey falls for the young and innocent Linda English. Events complicate when he begins to have an affair with a middle-aged married woman, Vera Simpson. This creates a shocking love triangle that’ll change all of their lives forever.

Many theatergoers are familiar with several big songs from “Pal Joey.” These include popular musical numbers such as “ Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “I Could Write a Book,” which is a duet that will feature Kimberly Doreen Burns as Linda English.

Although, in the past the show has received mixed reviews for featuring an unsympathetic protagonist and a dark tone, its reputation has grown throughout the years thanks to memorable tunes and a gutsy plot. Kalustian will hopefully create a beautiful interpretation and spectators will end up rooting for a flawed, but charismatic main character.

Also read: Heartwarming musical about friendship and love

Photo courtesy of Ryan Grossheim

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