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Bonitafest melodrama returns with 'Ms. Sweetwater Valley' Max Branscomb | Fri, Sep 17 2010 03:18 PM

Beauty is only skin deep, maybe even less if you are the evil villains Cadwell von Fowl and Lickpenny trying to ruin the region’s premier pageant.  

South Bay’s favorite bad guys return to wreck havoc and provide laughter in the 33rd annual Bonitafest melodrama “Ms. Sweetwater Valley,” Sept. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at Bonita Vista High School’s Bolles Theatre.  All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

Written and directed by Sunnyside playwright/songwriter Max Branscomb, “Ms. Sweetwater Valley” was inspired by a controversial local pageant. Branscomb’s musical-comedy is a tuneful and uplifting story of a young woman who draws from a strong upbringing to overcome tragedy and disappointment to encourage others with her example.

Melodrama institution Timothy Paul Evans returns for his 30th production as Lickpenny.  Gabriel Orendain-Necochea is back again to play the bumbling villain Cadwell von Fowl. 
Talented 15-year-old singer/actress Natalee Nordfelt plays the leading lady Lindsey Magnuson. Chantal Marie Branscomb plays her little sister Paulette. Chloe Branch plays the spacey but good-hearted Melody Sue McGuire and Ginny Mabrey plays the shy singing sensation Shannon May. Also featured in the cast are Lianne Brannon, Lauren Grey, Dayna Hill, Ciarlene Coleman, Daniela Margolis and Taylor Webster.

Kerie Muller is the stage manager and Pablo Cantua is the music director.

San Diego County’s longest-running theater production, the Bonitafest melodrama was founded in 1978 by Branscomb, Glennalie Coleman, Corky Miser, Loren Tarantino, Margaret Frank and Jane Fitch. It features original musical comedies based on South Bay history. Its multicultural, family-oriented shows are known for their tuneful songs, comical villains and uplifting storylines. The melodrama has been honored by the San Diego Theatre League, National Endowment for the Arts, Chula Vista Commission for Arts and Cultural, San Diego County Board of Supervisors and California State Senate for its work to elevate the community.

This year’s production opens with its tradition Picnic-on-the-Green on Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.  For $15 theater-goers receive a catered dinner and tickets to the show.  For ticket information call 850-7126.

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