"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" On Stage at Roger Rocka's

by Lorie Lewis Ham

If you enjoy a good old-fashioned musical filled with big song and dance numbers, then Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, currently on stage at Roger Rocka's in Fresno, is the show for you!
Dance number in GCP's production of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

Some of you may recall the original movie, which came out in 1954, and starred Jane Powell and Howard Keel. That was the only version I had ever seen of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers until this production done by Good Company Players. The stage musical is based on the movie, which itself is an adoption of the short story, "The Sobbin' Women," by Stephen Vincent Benét, based on the Ancient Roman legend of The Rape of the Sabine Women--watch for a mention of this story in the show itself which I thought was fun.

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Adam (Chris Moran)
The show is set in 1850s Oregon. At the beginning of the show, we meet Adam Pontipee (Chris Moran) who has come to town to find a bride. He meets Milly (Meg Clark) who is an orphan and works in a local restaurant. She is a hard worker and very pretty and this impresses Adam, who sets out to impress her. In typical musical fashion, after very little thought, Milly agrees to marry him and move to his home in the mountains, thinking he is brave and sweet and it will just be the two of them. What she finds when she gets there is something very different-Adam lives with his six uncivilized brothers and he expects her to cook and clean for them all. Milly isn't happy, but resigns herself to the situation. She proceeds to teach the brothers to become gentlemen so they can go courting and find wives of their own. Adam ends up having issues with how she has made his brothers less "manly" and gets them to do something rash and barbaric that leads to problems for all of them.

Despite the chauvinism of the time in which this show is set, I appreciate the fact that Milly is a strong confident woman who ends up being able to change the seven brothers lives for the better and stand up to Adam. The brothers all have Biblical names and were named alphabetically from Adam to Gideon (Ben Applegate), the youngest--leaving the second to the youngest brother with an unfortunate name, Frankincense (Anthony TeNyenhuis)--called Frank for short--which of course is a bit throughout the show. Each brother has his own little quirks, which makes them each adorable and hilarious in their own ways. I loved watching Shawn Williams (who plays brother Caleb) dance, and Ben Applegate provided a lot of the laughs-though I have to say the brothers overall provided most of the comedy and did it very well. Chris Moran blew me away with his amazing voice and I really hope to see more of him on the local stage. Meg Clark has a lovely voice and is always a pleasure to see on stage. I could go on and on about this talented cast but I suggest that you go and check it out for yourself!
Adam (Chris Moran) and Milly (Meg Clark) getting married in GCP's production of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

The rest of the brothers are played by Teddy Maldonado, Jonathan Padilla, and Brady Crenshaw. The rest of the brides are played by Emily Pessano, London Garcia, Ashlyn Kolbert, Aubree Facio, Kristina Clark, and Alyssa Martin. Roger Christensen as the Preacher can make you laugh with nothing more than a facial expression. Every cast member did a great job. Kudos to directors Laurie Pessano and Steve Souza as well.
Milly (Meg) teaching the brothers how to dance

The best things about this show are its talented cast, the big song and dance numbers performed wonderfully, and how it keeps you laughing. If you are looking for a fun night of theatre, this show fits the bill. Oh and don't forget that the Jr. Company starts off the evening's fun, and their theme this time is food!

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
is on stage at Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater at 1226 N. Wishon, at Olive and Wishon in The Tower District, until November 11. you can purchase tickets on their website or by calling their box office at 266-9494 or 800-371-4747.

Check out more local theatre reviews & articles in Kings River Life's Arts & Entertainment section!

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Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie's mystery writing at Mysteryrat's Closet.

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