A (musical) tale of a fateful trip

September 09, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - If you were to pass the actors on the street, out of costume, out of character, you might not see the resemblance.

But step into the Capitol Theatre while the seven members of the cast of "Gilligan's Island: The Musical" are at work - or play - and you might think the castaways of the 1964 to 1967 television series have come to life and are singing and dancing.

Eric Hurd, who portrays the professor, dyed his hair to more closely resemble his character, Roy Hinkley Jr. He's happy to report that the professor has a name as well as several advanced academic degrees. Kelly Merrbach, whose locks usually are dark brown, is a redheaded Ginger Grant, the "movie star" with the breathy voice, satin evening gown and high-heeled sandals.


The show opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10.

The show's concept is silly. Its story is told in "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle," the tale of a fateful trip of the SS Minnow, which was shipwrecked on an unnamed Pacific island during what was supposed to be a three-hour pleasure cruise.

Thurston Howell III - the millionaire - is played by Ron Hartzok, and his wife, Lovey, by Deb Millhouse, every bit the lady in gray wig and pearls.

A pigtailed Diana Gilbert is every inch the sweet Mary Ann Summers from Kansas. Gilbert also is the show's choreographer.

Mike Mason is a dead ringer for the skipper, and he admits to picking up a few of his character's mannerisms by watching episodes of the TV show.

And Gilligan, portrayed by Ian Jacobs, bumbles and stumbles - even while tap-dancing.

"Almost everyone has memories of 'Gilligan's Island,'" said Jacobs, who has a degree in musical theater and performed at Walt Disney World.

The show celebrates Chambersburg Community Theatre's 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the TV show.

Dave Dull directs the tropical romp, which has a book written by TV series creator Sherwood Schwartz and his son Lloyd J. Schwartz. Dull recently reached the younger Schwartz on location in Mexico, where he's working on "The Real Gilligan's Island," a reality TV version of the series. Brian Helman directs the music written by Hope (Sherwood Schwartz's daughter) and Lawrence Juber, who was lead guitarist with Paul McCartney's Wings.

Sherwood Schwartz autographed a three-DVD set of the show's complete first season. It is part of a basket that will be raffled the night of the final show to benefit the community theater company.

The Herald-Mail Articles