After working on BRONCO BILLY for nearly two years, the dream has become a reality for producing artistic director Gary Grossman and co-producer Tony Abatemarco. Based on a 1979 Clint Eastwood film, BRONCO BILLY spins the yarn of a good-hearted – but perpetually broke – wannabe cowboy who assembles an unlikely crew of society’s throw-aways to develop “the best” traveling Wild West show in the country. From the book by Dennis Hackin with music and lyrics by Chip Rosenbloom and John Torres (additional lyrics by Michele Brourman), BRONCO BILLY springs to life with song and dance in a western song-fest about dreams and where they may lead.
Bronco Billy McCoy (Eric B. Anthony) is down to his last dime when he finds out that Hollywood auditions are being held for a show that just might be perfect for his little band of energetic never-give-up cowpokes. Using his charisma and positive thinking, he manages to convince his “family” that it’s off to Hollywood they must go.
Despite any misgivings from the troupe members, Doc (Benai Boyd), Lorraine (Fatima El-Bashir), Chief Big Eagle (Michael Uribes), Two Gun Lefty Lebow (Randy Charleville), and Lasso Leonard James (Kyle Frattini) are ready to go along with Billy’s impossible and maybe grandiose plans. When runaway heiress Antoinette Lilly (Amanda Leigh Jerry) crosses paths with Bronco Billy, sparks are sure to fly. For Antoinette is trying to escape a planned “accidental” death orchestrated by her evil stepmother Constance (Michelle Azar) and paid assassin Sinclair St. Clair (Pat Towne). She has no time in her harried life to fall in love.
Artfully directed by Hunter Bird, BRONCO BILLY offers a bright, upbeat, and song-filled evening with a multi-talented cast. Kudos to musical director Anthony Lucca and choreographer Janet Roston, who keep the high octane musical up and running without a dull moment. John Iacovelli’s scenic design is brilliantly fluid for the small Skylight stage. Ann Closs Farley’s vivid costumes, Brian Gale’s lighting, and Cricket S. Myers’ sound cleverly advance the tale, while Matt Franta’s fight choreography almost blurs the line between aggression and dance.
And let’s not forget the band, omnipresent and joyous, with keyboardist Anthony Lucca (conductor), woodwind/percussionist Austin Chanu, guitarist Jeff Frantom, electric and upright bassist Cyrus Elia, and drums/percussionist Ryan McDiarmid. Their enthusiasm is everywhere present to wrap up the musical package with a melodic bow.
BRONCO BILLY, THE MUSICAL is a must-see for Los Angeles audiences, combining a feel-good story with vim, vigor, and vitality as the lively cast perform their hearts out in a series of challenging musical numbers. Director Hunter Bird sums up Bronco Billy’s message: “The show is about living your passion. About being part of a family even if you have to create your own…beautifully honored the book and enlightened the characters with their magic musical influences.”
BRONCO BILLY, THE MUSICAL runs through June 30, 2019, with performances at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 ½ North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Tickets range from $29 to $42. For information and reservations, call 213-761-6061 or go online.