Gilroy gets Gleeful

Gilroy gets Gleeful

Gleeks are in for a dose of euphoria when a localized spin-off
on the hit TV series


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Today’s breaking news:
Gleeks are in for a dose of euphoria when a localized spin-off on the hit TV series “Glee” invades the Garlic Capital.

The full-length, feature film will “sort of invade all over town,” as John Bisceglie puts it, the founder of the Gilroy Children’s Musical Theater in 1991. Gilroy and Christopher high schools will provide the backdrop to scenes in “Gleeful: The big movie musical,” along with junior high schools and other venues such as Black Bear Diner on Leavesley Road and Dutchman’s Pizza in Morgan Hill.

The editing process will require one month before the hard work crescendos to a live, opening night gala, for which Bisceglie hopes to rent out the entire Gilroy Platinum Theater at 6851 Monterey Road.

“We’re going to have Hollywood theatrical fun with it,” said Bisceglie of the occasion, for which he’s scheming to include limousines, a red carpet, paparazzi and Academy Awards. “Cast members will also have the unique experience of sitting in the audience and watching the show.”

He says signs-ups have been brisk, with 130 participants – some hailing from Pleasanton and San Francisco – setting appointments to tryout for what mark’s Bisceglie’s 41st production.

His shows have become regional attractions over the course of 20 years spent directing in Gilroy.

After a short hiatus wherein Bisceglie produced a show at the San Francisco Children’s Musical Theater – which he also founded – the creative powerhouse is rolling up his sleeves and returning to work in South County for the upcoming fall/winter season.

His newest project offers 50 speaking rolls for starlets of all ages, in addition to a few small parts for parents. Bisceglie plans on double-casting numerous characters and shooting two different versions of the film, as “this will allow more kids to have a chance to have leading and featured speaking roles.”

Tryouts will consist of on-camera screen test incorporating studio lights and professional equipment. Thespians not so keen on singing can sit out this portion of auditions, says Bisceglie, and just partake in the dance/movement/acting segments.

“There’s so much drama, it’s going to be like a Bravo show,” says the innovative thespian of his newest brainchild, a movie musical takeoff on the Fox network sensation.

For those oblivious to “Glee” hysteria, the series spins high school drama, comedy and romance through original music videos. In its first two seasons, the show amassed 19 Emmy nominations and a cultish fan base.

It’s irresistible fodder for Bisceglie, a man known for composing zany, pop-culture-poking parodies such as “Little Shop of Garlic” and “Totally Rockin’ Temple of Boom.” He dreams up elaborate productions featuring actors ages 5 to 21; designs glitzy costumes; and constructs professionally-built sets incorporating structures such as a dough-boy pool, a real Jeep, live pigs … nothing is off-limits with this mad genius is behind the helm.

“Gleeful” will offer the hands-on dynamics of Bisceglie’s traditional live musicals, married with the opportunity to work with a film crew, sing in a recording studio and act in front of a green screen. A local production company in Gilroy, 152 West Productions, has been hired to execute the filming.

“He came up to me last year and said, ‘I have this idea,'” recalls Nils Myers, who owns 152 with his wife, Mattie Scariot.

Their two sons have participated in a dozen of Bisceglie’s shows over the course of a decade, he says.

Having never shot and edited a musical, Nils added he and Mattie were game for the proposition as it “would be just a blast to do.”

Previously, the pair teamed up with Bisceglie on “Rock-N-Roll Reunion.” The show incorporated video clips between live musical numbers.

That experience segues nicely into “Gleeful;” an undertaking Myers says will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity for children who haven’t worked in front of a camera.

True to his playful penchant for conjuring slapstick parodies, Bisceglie says the premise of “Gleeful” revolves around two schools – Gleeson High and Reese High – reluctantly merging due to budget cuts.

“Geese is the word,” he said, through a half giggle, tossing out catchy slogan ideas.

The ensuing mash-up of dueling glee clubs promises a drama-fest fit for reality television, he says.

And with Bisceglie behind the wheel, you never know what wildcards will pop up.

Zombies? Justin Bieber? A flash mob?

Anything that’s popular and current is fair game, according to Bisceglie, who says his screenplay draws from a buffet of iconic teen media including “Grease,” “Saved by the Bell,” “Teen Wolf” and “High School Musical.”

In addition to mainstay “Glee” characters seen on the TV, “Gleeful” promises a small handful of comedic cameos including Hannah Montana and The Real Housewives of Gilroy.

“I think John is really something. He’s always trying to do something really unique and exciting,” said Myers. “It’s always a surprise, just how grand his productions turn out to be.”


‘Gleeful: The big movie musical’

– Auditions and rehearsals will be held Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Gilroy Senior Center on 7371 Hanna St. in Gilroy. Ages 5 to 9 will audition at 11 a.m., ages 10 to 13 will audition at 1 p.m.; and ages 14 to 25 will audition at 3 p.m.

– There will be 12, Saturday-only rehearsals held Sept. 3 to 24; Oct. 1 to 29; and Nov. 5 to 19.

– The live movie gala is slated for either January or February 2012.

– Registration fees are $195 for Gilroy residents; $200 for non-residents. Each family is responsible for providing/creating a costume, as well as selling 25 tickets.

– For more information and to make an audition appointment, visit

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