On Saturday, February 18th, the Colony Theatre opened their production of Calvin Berger, a musical, bringing Broadway to Burbank with a red carpet event that included celebrities, dignitaries, and theatre creatives. Shows are now running Friday to Sunday through March 26.
Getty Images and other Hollywood paparazzi lined the red carpet to snap pictures of the Calvin Berger cast and creatives in front of step and repeat backdrops donning the show and theatre logo. The cast features Jordan Quisno, Corinne Miller, Jasmine Sharma, and Frankie A. Rodriguez as Calvin Berger. Rodriguez is best known for his star role on the Disney+ show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
Celebrities like Jolene Purdy (Firefly Lane), Adam Arkin (Sons of Anarchy), Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Allison Tolman (Fargo, Why Women Kill), Carolyn Hennesy (General Hospital), Rodney To (Parks and Recreation), Emmy winner Patrika Darbo (Days of Our Lives), Reece Caddell (All That), Nico Greetham (American Horror Story, Love Victor), Scott Evans (Grace and Frankie), and Emmy Nominated actress Kira Reed Lorsch, were in attendance on the red carpet. Rodriguez’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series cast mates Matt Cornett, Jason Earles, and Saylor Curda also attended the event.
Mayor Konstantine Anthony, Vice Mayor Nick Schultz, and Councilmember Zizette Mullins came out to walk the red carpet for pictures and interviews before the show. Senator Portantino took to the stage in front of the full house to present The Colony Theatre a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the opening night of Calvin Berger, which Producer, Heather Provost, accepted followed by a roaring applause. “Ellen and I loved the show!” said Senator Portantino. “Calvin Berger reminded me of Bye Bye Birdy, one of my favorite musicals, and it was a terrific modern take on Cyrano. Very glad to have seen it and certainly excited for Heather and the Colony to present it in Burbank.”
The Colony Theatre’s new production of the musical Calvin Berger is directed by Ovation Award-winner Richard Israel with musical direction by Anthony Lucca. Book, music, and lyrics are by Barry Wyner, who flew in from New York with his wife, Emilee, to see the show at The Colony Theatre. Noah Weisberg, who played the original Calvin Berger, also was in attendance for the opening night event.
This is the first time Calvin Berger has shown on the West Coast and has been well received by theatre critics. “Calvin Berger is a brilliantly funny musical with a big heart and a thoughtful soul. It’s the perfect play to take your kids to, or your granny. The performances are dynamic and authentic. These actors are truly excellent. They fit perfectly together, and their voices are superb,” said Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros from the NoHo Arts District. “I also loved the set, which is very very clever…I can’t explain, you have to see it! We are so lucky to have The Colony Theatre in the Valley. It’s a wonderful venue and they bring some great work to our theatre-loving Valley audience!”
The Calvin Berger set is incredibly innovative and unique and was designed by by Alex M. Calle, an award-winning designer for film, television, theatre, themed entertainment, theme parks, and public art installations all over the world. Red, blue, white and yellow shapes collage together to make the backdrop of there musical, but none of them are as they seem. Some are used as projection screens to invite guests into the setting of each scene, and some shapes are pulled out as full functions set pieces like beds, desks, lockers, and even a janitorial closet.
The musical has taken social media by storm, with theatre goers ranting and raving about the production and the incredible music performed by this talented group of actors. “The energy in the audience was palpable and Saturday night’s response was something I have not witnessed since attending Hamilton in NYC,” said one opening night attendee, “I smiled, laughed and shed a few tears, not only for those special moments in the show and that terrific cast, but also to just see great THEATRE on the stage of The Colony again,” said another. “I can’t recall the last time I’ve loved a new musical as much as I have fallen for Calvin Berger…This is one high school musical you won’t want to miss, no matter whether your upcoming class reunion is your first, your fifth, or your fiftieth.”
Opening night held a full house of guests which was followed by a post-show reception courtesy of the Colony Theatre. In honor of the show, A “Bergerita” aka margarita was served, as well as a “Lovenote” aka Cosmopolitan. To play on the theme of high school, food was served cafeteria style with lunch trays and dishes like grilled cheese, corn dogs, sliders, and of course chicken nuggets, all purchased from Handy Market, a local Burbank full-service grocery store. Martino’s Bakery coffee and tea cakes were also served which everyone knows to be a Burbank staple.
The California Creative Arts group also had the opening of their “Unrequited Love” art gallery in the Colony Theatre that night and is open through the run of Calvin Berger. Over a dozen artists contributed art of different mediums that were hung in the theatre’s gallery and put on display. All art is available for purchase.
“I’m thrilled with the reception this show is receiving. I knew it would be something special. It has been an honor to produce it. We look forward to bringing more productions of this caliber to The Colony Theatre stage. Broadway in Burbank is happening,” added Provost. Tickets to the show are $55 but you can use code BUR for $10 off. Performances run Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and a Sunday matinee at 3pm. For more info on the show or to purchase tickets visit www.colonytheatre.org.