Stage Shows

Birch North Park Theatre’s “Gigi” musical leaves the crowd saying “I Remember it Well…”

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Lyric at the Birch presented “Gigi,” a coming-of-age love story about a young woman in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Within the restored walls of the Birch North Park Theatre, “Gigi” delighted the audience with song, dance, humor, and love.

Gigi, played by Laura Bueno, was being trained to become a mistress like her eccentric aunt, Inez (Leigh Scarritt). Gaston (Benjamin Robinson), was born into wealth and had spent his time living a life of pleasure. With Gigi unhappy at the thought of becoming a trophy-wife and Gaston bored of his life, yet constantly hounded by media, the two begin to take solace in each other’s relaxed company. Free from the pressures and intrusiveness of society, love blossoms until Gaston tries to make Gigi another one of his mistresses. Will true love prevail?

Leon Natker, serving in his 22nd year as Director of Lyric, was excited to bring “Gigi” back to the people of San Diego. “Putting on shows is a passion for us. We are able to bring a script to life and pass on the work!” says Natker. Knowing that competition in the entertainment business is coming on strong from television, computers and cell-phones, Natker maintains that live theatre will continue to fill an important niche in peoples’ lives. “The audience comes for a 3-D experience; they come to have their mind expanded, to think, and to grow. Theatre is an experience that is totally unique.”

The San Diego audience was delighted to be a part of the company’s final day of “Gigi.” Their responsiveness to the dialog and wit was refreshingly unique. San Diegans were there simply to enjoy the show. Wives did not have to nudge their husbands awake and there were no social gatherings in the lobby during the performance. Relaxing after the final performance of Gigi, Natker said, “The most exciting thing to the cast and me is to know we gave the audience an experience. When actors are interacting and connecting with them and the orchestra is filling them with emotion, you can feel the audience react and come alive.” Indeed, San Diego will be looking forward to being in the audience for Lyric’s next show at the Birch, one of the top comic operas, “Barber of Seville.”

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