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Season Info

Gunmetal Blues
Book by Scott Wentworth
Music & Lyrics by Craig Bohmler & Marion Adler

Kevin Symons, Jeffrey Rockwell, Susan Wood

Producing Director
Scenic Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Costume Design
Marketing/Public Relations
Production Stage Manager
Production Assistant
Musical Direction
Technical Director/Master Electrician
Set Construction
Production Crew

Costume Associate
Production Photography
 Stage Manager
House Managers
Lighting Operator
Sound Engineer
Spotlight Operators
Back Stage Crew
Production Graphic Design
Publicity Copy Writer

Andrew Barnicle
Barbara Beckley
John Berger
Paulie Jenkins
Drew Dalzell
Dwight Richard Odle
David Elzer/Demand PR
Vernon Willet
Rachelle Horak
Jeffrey Rockwell
Red Colegrove
IDF Studio Scenery, Inc.
Robert Kyle, Sean Madden, 
Anthony Bradshaw, Nick Bindbeutel
Julie Keen
Michael Lamont
Vernon Willet
Elizabeth Saryan, Marja Harmon 
Amy Masgai
Jonathan Elliott
Darshann Smyth, Katharine McIntyre
Spencer Howard, Rachelle Horak
Doug Haverty
Rich Lippman


The Piano Player
The Blonde
The Private Eye
Jeffrey Rockwell
Susan Wood
Kevin Symons


Jeffrey Rockwell
Jeff Driskill
Tom Bowe
Dana Decker
Kawai Baby Grand Piano courtesy of The Piano Factory, Burbank



Welcome To This Window
Don’t Know What I Expected
Loose Change
Mansion Hill
The Blonde Song
Childhood Days
Take A Break


Buddy Toupee--Live
Gunmetal Blues
I’m the One That Got Away
Don’t Know What I Expected (Reprise) 
Put It On My Tab
The Virtuoso

The action takes place at the Red Eye Lounge. 
It’s one of those bars out by an airport.

Time: Tonight.  Pretty late.

The Character of Buddy Toupee was inspired by the work of Richard March
Director’s Notes

America’s fascination with grim detective work and evil rooted out by a solitary sleuth working on the fringes of the establishment goes back through the film noir of the 1940’s and 50’s, the hard-boiled detective novels of the same era and all the way back to the dime novels of the late 19th century. The instructional manuals for the form are the novels of Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett, Ross MacDonald, and Earl Stanley Gardner, and those authors owe a debt of historical gratitude to John Carroll Daly, who penned the Race Williams series back in the 1920’s. 

The French term film noir (“black film”) championed by the critic Nino Frank, referred to the dark suspenseful thrillers of the time, with their oblique camera angles, nightmarish city images, wet streets and flashing light signs—all describing a bleak, urban world of corruption and crime. When German expressionism made its way to the Hollywood cinema, where gangster and detective films already occupied a lot of turf, the combination of influences resulted in some great movies in the era surrounding World War II: The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and Murder, My Sweet, to name a few. Most of these films were shot at night, so the “black” part of film noir refers not only to the pessimistic and cynical world view, but the shaded camera angles and glaring streetlights as well. 

In these stories, some social patterns play out. The narrator/hero is a disillusioned, insecure loner, often a war vet who has seen so much corruption that he has no faith in institutions even as he seeks to correct the injustices of his sordid little world. It is an overly capitalistic world where the strong exploit the weak with a greed that can only lead to horror and decay.  Unsure of the present, burdened by the past, and unenthusiastic about the future, the hard-boiled gumshoe doles out a personal justice. He drinks too much, he’s a sucker for a dame and he lives like a rat in a hole--only his determination to expose the truth and his sardonic wit carry him to the end. 

Then there’s the world of musical theatre! No less abstract than a noir film, people burst into song whenever a strong emotion gets the better of them, omniscient orchestras, rhyming lyrics and practiced dance steps pervade the atmosphere, and everybody in the village miraculously knows all the words to the same song.  In many of these stories, the pairing of inevitable lovers is the central plot element, and the story explodes into music on a regular schedule. The song/soliloquies serve as abstract narration for what is going on in the hearts and minds of the characters, much like the voice-over narration of the hard-boiled detective stories. 

Using the degree of abstractness as a calibrator, then, one perhaps can see that melding these two forms isn’t such a radical concept—their commonalities outweigh their differences, and they are both truckloads of fun.  Gunmetal Blues is meant to be an affectionate homage to Chandleresque noir mysteries, told through the abstract prism of cabaret-style musical theatre.  There is a streetlight, a litany of blondes, a flashing sign, a mobster, a corrupt cop, a snubbed-nose .38, an opening number, a big first act closer, a sexy club number and a couple of ballads, just like any other hardboiled-detective-mystery-cabaret-act.  Time, space, and conventions of naturalism are elastic and songs can pop up at any time, but remember--just about everything is a clue, and quick judgment about what seems obvious can lead you down a dangerous road, as in most detective stories. 

-Andrew Barnicle

This production was made possible by the kindness and generosity of:

Anjali Bal, Bardwell's on the Boulevard, Ben Beckley, Priscilla Davis, Laura Dwan, Susan Gratch, Occidental College, Tom Griffin, Doug Haverty, Art + Soul Designs, A.K. Hernandez, Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony, The Laguna Playhouse, Gabrielle Harwood, Wardrobe, Supervisor Jim Ryan, Production Manager, Rich Lippman, Salvador Palacios, California Lighting & Power, Mi Piace, Bill Shaw, San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, Wadler Data Systems

The Colony is grateful to The Laguna Playhouse for invaluable assistance with this production.

Read the BackStage West Review