The Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank is well and correctly known for its visual appeal and comfort and for being a venue where the entertainment shines bright. But the evening when I went with my ten-year-old most granddaughter Somaya to see The Enchanted Nightingale the stage was set in a most captivating way. It was undeniably Asian in general and Chinese in particular and it was both intriguing and beautiful, and all of this was even before the show actually began.
But the show indeed did begin and the audience is introduced to the omnipotent ruler of ancient China, Emperor Li as presented convincingly by Marc Fajardo, Major Mi delivered with passion and conviction and more than a touch of wit and humor by Ravi Kapoor, Mrs. Wu played convincingly by Melody Butiu and Chef Zu brought to life by Jully Lee. So given the set and the cast and the time period of the story surely this would be a play rich in the lore of ancient China, right? Well not so much.
The Emperor is a blatantly spoiled brat who is only happy when constantly presented with priceless gifts, because he is after all, the Emperor. But then along comes a very unusual gift, a bird that sings, a very beautiful bird a Nightingale that captures the Emperor’s heart like no other gift. But, then a serious complication sets in and in resolving the crisis something wonderful and almost magical happens.
It is clearly a story aimed at children of all ages and presents a view of a right way and a wrong way to approach life. And I must say that when I first saw the set I was a little bewildered by the solid focus on things Chinese.
Ultimately the setting really doesn’t matter that much except that there is a certain mysterious quality about ancient China and it gave the entertainers an opportunity to also entertain with a very sweet fan dance that simply wouldn’t have happened had the writer placed the story let’s say in Denver.
In all The Enchanted Nightingale is a fun and entertaining show that captured and held the children and even their parents for about an hour while delivering a very important lesson to all. The set and costumes added even more punch to a very well delivered story. Oh, and thank you Major Mi for recognizing my most granddaughter as the princess she truly is.
So treat yourself and your children to a night of fun and magic. The Enchanted Nightingale is playing at the Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, California 91505 Now through March 18, 2018. For everything you need to know including reservations and ticketing simply vist the Garry Marshall Theatre website.
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For even more art and fun visit www.ronirwin.net
Photos by Lisa Francesca
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.