Melodrama is back at the High Street Arts Center.
Beginning Friday and running for five weeks, Rex Bravo, the Whistling Cowboy—Showdown at the Bombay Corral blusters onto the stage like a tumblin’ tumbleweed.
The popular interaction with the audience—including hissing and booing the bad guys, cheering for the good guys and showing appreciation for the pretty ladies with a hearty “Homina, homina”—are all traditions encouraged by the cast.
The story goes something like this: Set in the 1930’s, famous movie cowboy Rex Bravo, star of such westerns as Rattlesnake Rangers and Sidewinders Showdown is about to live a real-life western adventure.
Along with his gentleman's gentleman, Steeves, he travels to the town of Lizard Spit, California to perform at Tony Patel's Bombay Corral and Lounge. While there, he gets caught between the villainous Fox family and cantankerous prospector Romo Seltzer, who has just struck it rich with a huge discovery in his mine. Rex ends up framed for murder and needs all the help he can get to escape with his life.
Throw in some over-zealous Feds, exotic far-eastern flavors, classic western music, some unexpected twists topped off with FDR and the New Deal and you’ve got the makings of another classic melodrama!
Pre-sales of the Fried-Out Features production are unusually brisk. More pre-show ticket sales have taken place for this production than have ever been enjoyed at the Arts Center’s history. The show is written by Moorpark Melodrama regular, Terry Miles, with concepts developed by Steve Carlson.
Miles and Carlson originally wrote Rex Bravo, the Whistling Cowboy in 1969 as a short story for their Agoura High School student newspaper, The El Escadero.
It was then made into a short movie in 1974 starring Miles and Carlson as rival gunmen. The movie was a first effort, and has a few of the melodrama’s plot points. The film can be enjoyed on YouTube in two parts—simply type in the key words “Rex Bravo” into the search box.
This new stage production is packed with tons of laughs and surprises, opening with a comic movie short, written and developed by Miles and Rick Pratt.
Many of the original actors who once graced the stage during the years of the Moorpark Melodrama are in this production, bringing back the feel of the good old days. Included in the cast is Sandy (Bunday) Pratt, the “cheerleader” of the melodrama era.
Also on board as director is Rick Pratt, who for many years served as music director back in the “good old days.” In addition to his directorial duties, Pratt is also the music director and on-stage music talent.
On juggling all three positions, Rick said, “Obviously, I am completely out of my mind.”
Other “true believers” from the old melodrama include Gerald Vandiver, Chris Carnicelli, Steve Carlson and Tim Holtwick.
Whistling cowboy Rex Bravo, is played by Chris Mahr, recently featured in the High Street Arts Center production of The Music Man.
Also on-board are Getty Olm, Jeff Rivetti, Ailsa Kathleen, and Colleen Donovan of the popular Improv-A-Sutra troop, which performs monthly at the High Street Arts Center. Add Preeti Tiwari, John Tedrick, Jessica Stone, Joey Van Noppen, Rene Jacqueline Smith, Melinda Weisberger, Shannon Smith, Meagan Carlson and Trevor Pratt and you have one great cast!
The show is produced by High Street Arts Center Manager, Ken Rayzor.
Rex Bravo, the Whistling Cowboy—Showdown at the Bombay Corral runs from Aug. 24 through Sept. 23 on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.highstreetartscenter.com or by calling the Arts Center, located at 45 High St. in Moorpark, at (805) 529-8700.