Totally rockin’ fun in Gilroy

Iggybana Bones, played by Ken Christopher, sings to Nefertiti,

Gilroy
– A giant garlic warehouse may not seem like a place to spend a
Friday or Saturday night, but it is when John Bisceglie is
around.
The theatre maestro is back in Gilroy for his third production
of the summer
– and according to the actors and the construction crew, this
one is over the top even for him.
Gilroy – A giant garlic warehouse may not seem like a place to spend a Friday or Saturday night, but it is when John Bisceglie is around.

The theatre maestro is back in Gilroy for his third production of the summer – and according to the actors and the construction crew, this one is over the top even for him.

Bisceglie had the idea for his latest show, an archeological musical adventure, eight years ago.

“I started writing the script, set in India, but there wasn’t a lot of interest in it,” Bisceglie said.

He put the idea aside until Bill Christopher approached him last summer about doing a show using a 10,000-square-foot warehouse at Christopher Ranch as a theater venue. Bisceglie’s brain jumped to action, and he started visualizing his latest show, “Totally Rockin’ Temple of Boom.”

He sketched out his idea for a spoof on the Indiana Jones trilogy, moved from India to Egypt, with friend and playwrite Larry Hayes.

“I came up with the concept,” Bisceglie said. “[Larry] writes it and then I punch it up.”

The show calls for a cast to tell the wacky tale of a volcano frozen in time. While this play has a storyline that allows the actors to highlight more than just their singing and dancing ability, the show still has plenty of what Bisceglie shows are known for – music and glitter.

“It gives a lot of us the opportunity to really shine,” said Ken Christopher, who plays Iggy Bonabones, a discovery-hungry archeologist and one of the few characters who doesn’t have rhinestones or glitter on his costume.

The Egyptian tomb created in the huge warehouse surrounds the audience on all sides, with cast members popping onto stage from 360 degrees.

“It went from nothing to all this,” Christopher said, pointing out the immense gold columns decorated with glitter and hieroglyphics, a waterslide in the shape of a bird and a stage built from the ground up.

The 20-year-old college student has been in 16 Bisceglie productions and signed up to work on this one while he is home on a summer break from University of San Diego.

Aside from all the work the 45 young actors have put into the show, Christopher said plenty of parents have been working hard to construct the set and costumes, some putting in as much as 70 to 80 hours.

Working under the direction of Lou Fargher, the fathers have helped build 24 Egyptian columns in the warehouse as well as a spooky maze for the audience to walk through as they enter the “theater.”

Performer Katharine Andrade, 15, said the maze entrance is one of her favorite parts of the set. As guests walk through, they pass lost excavations and plenty of crawly creatures around 15 turns before they arrive inside the tomb.

“It’s really kind of creepy,” she said. “I got a chance to paint it, but I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. It’s awesome.”

She plays the dorky assistant to Christopher’s Bonabones during the first half of the show, with a plot twist transforming her character before intermission.

Like many of the performers and the crew, Andrade said it was hard to visualize how the empty warehouse would turn into the elaborate set.

“If it had been any other director, I would have been hesitant,” she said. “Working with John Bisceglie, I knew it was going to work out. He has a talent for making everything fabulous.”

Bisceglie said they are racing towards the finish line, but are already in good shape.

“I joke with the crew that the set will still be wet when the show starts,” Bisceglie added. “But this is a testament of what we can do when everyone’s resources come together.”

Who:

John Bisceglie Presents

What:

Totally Rockin’ Temple of Boom

When:

Aug. 5 through 21, 7:30pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2pm Saturday

Where:

Christopher Ranch, 305 Bloomfield Ave., Gilroy

All Tickets are $11. Reservations are recommended. Bleacher seating with limited chair seating available. Call 607-4849 or visit www.jbpresents.org for more information.

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