Dandy Dan and Fat Sam

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Community theatre to present "Bugsy Malone Jr."

By Ken Begley

“If it was raining brains, Roxy Robinson wouldn’t even get wet.”

Fat Sam

Bugsy Malone Jr. and his hoodlums are riding into Springfield’s Opera House on May 13 and 14 at 7 p.m.
This play is being performed by the Bluegrass Kids section of the Central Kentucky Community Theatre group. All 26 youngsters in this play are from local elementary schools and adjoining counties as directed by our own Jan Fattizzi.
You’ve got to see this one. It’s a play where all the gangsters are children.
The story tells of the rise of “Bugsy Malone” and the battle for power between “Fat Sam” and “Dandy Dan.” A pint-sized cast illuminates this musical that is unlike any other ever made. Set in 1929 New York City, Bugsy Malone captures a flashy world of would-be hoodlums, showgirls, and dreamers.
This was originally made into a movie in 1976 with Jodie Foster and Scott Baio in the leads. It’s where they got their starts in the movie industry. Award-winning pop composer Paul Williams wrote the words and music for this really funny look at 1929.
It’s a slapstick musical comedy where we follow the rivalry between two half-witted street gangs. We see the washed up Bugsy Malone (Mary Medley), who is a well-intentioned, one-time boxer, take control of Fat Sam’s (Harrison Young) gang and give Dandy Dan (John Patrick Brown) and his boys what they’ve got coming. The message is one of good, clean fun, the characters are wonderful cartoon cutouts, the weapons of choice are “splurge” guns that shoot out marshmallows, and the one liners keep coming with 11 songs to boot that will leave you rolling with laughter.
You meet a whole cast of memorable characters. How about Fat Sam’s not too smart henchman Roxy “the Weasel” Robinson (Elly Carrico)? You will hear the loudest knuckle cracking you ever heard coming from, who else, Knuckles (Mary Claire Hughes). Then you’ll find Blousey (Jami Taylor on Friday and Kendall Tirabasso on Saturday) who is auditioning for Fat Sam’s nightclub. The Jody Foster part, “Tallulah,” is ably played by Gracie Graves on Friday and Maddy Secrecy on Saturday. The prize for most parts played by a single person has to go to Hailey Grace, who plays Flash Frankie, Clipboard Willy, Butler, and Oscar De Volt.
The songs by Paul Williams are sometimes funny and fast paced and other times thoughtful.
The play starts with the title song “Bugs Malone” and “Fat Sam’s Grand Slam” and are sung by the entire troop of actors. It proceeds to “That’s Why They Call Him Dandy” by Dandy Dan and his gang. Then you’ve got “Tomorrow” by Peyton Young, and “Show Business” by Emma Humphreys and the chorus. These songs keep on coming with “Bad Guys” by Fat Sam and his gang, “Ordinary Fool” by Jami Taylor and Kendall Tirabasso, “My Name is Tallulah” by Gracie Graves and Maddy Sagrecy, “Down and Out” by the Down and Outs cast and finally “You Give A Little Love” which is again sung by the entire company. Of course the final song comes after a pitched gang battle among the entire cast.
You know, I’ve been watching our theatre group for some time now.
It amazes me how it has grown to over 60 young people working with Jan and her husband, Scott. I don’t see how they’re able to crank out play after play and do such a good job. The quality is such that they always seem to far surpass the ordinary school play. Instead, some of the work is definitely as good as seen in regional theatres such as the Derby Dinner Playhouse.
More importantly, this program develops confidence in kids like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve probably interviewed some 30 young actors over the years, and most will say that they were initially shy and introverted. You get over that in a hurry working in plays. Performing makes you put everything you have out there in the public arena. It awakens skills such as public speaking, discipline, teamwork and the most important ability, which is to take a chance. It’s the sports equivalent of being on a championship basketball, volleyball, baseball, or football team.
So, come on down and see what these kids have done with their spare time. I think you’ll be amazed, and who knows; You might be watching some youngster that one day actually does end up making it big in acting. Far fetched? They all start somewhere. Then you can say I saw them when they performed at the Opera House at the age of 10.