Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre

Several productions at the award-winning Skylight Theatre have made it onto my Top Show lists for several years. Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre And now I can guarantee the just-opened World Premiere of BRONCO BILLY - THE MUSICAL is bound to be on this year's Best Of List given its spectacular book by Dennis Hackin, music and lyrics by Chip Rosenbloom and John Torres with additional lyrics by Michele Brourman, with the entire show being one of the most entertaining I have ever seen. Thanks to casting genius Michael Donovan, Director Hunter Bird, Musical Director Anthony Lucca, and Choreographer Janet Roston have woven together 14 top-notch, triple-threat performers into non-stop musical magic for the entire family on the Skylight Theatre stage.

Taking place in 1979, BRONCO BILLY - THE MUSICAL takes us back to somewhere in America's heartland, Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre introducing us to the dedicated members of Bronco Billy's Wild West Show in a delightfully entertaining opening number. But when an important piece of equipment fails, it just might be the end of the line since the coffers are almost bare. Jumping in to save the day is Bronco Billy (Eric B. Anthony whose non-stop energy and enthusiastic demeanor could charm anyone into following him), convinces the troupe to travel to Hollywood for an audition to star in A New Television series. And with just enough cash for gas and grub, the rag tag players agree to hit the road and work their way West from town to town.

At a chance meeting at a gas pump, Bronco Billy meets Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre Antoinette, a Manhattan heiress on-the-run from her money-hungry husband, stepmother and her lawyer/lover, and the ride gets even wilder as she turns Billy's world upside down. Of course, like the other Wild West performers, she re-invents herself as "Miss Lily" without revealing her true identity. The two lost souls searching for a way to achieve their dreams and live their passion bring a new and perfectly marvelous upbeat musical which is bound to be a standing-room only hit!

Director Hunter Bird, in discussing what drew him to the show, said "Bronco Billy is so much about identity. Rather than accepting the roles we're given, we always have the ability to create our own realities, our own families, and our own identities. I think our audiences will appreciate this upbeat musical about reinvention, identity, and living your passion. We're so lucky to have this powerfully talented cast of fourteen to bring it to life for the first time."

I cannot offer enough superlative-laden adjectives to describe the brilliance of the cast, beginning with Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre Eric B. Anthony as Bronco Billy, who channels one of the most famous African American cowboys, Nathan "Deadwood Dick" Lane, with his effervescent personality making me believe he could easily be one of the great, rodeo-winning cowboy's descendants! His partnership onstage with Amanda Leigh Jerry as Antoinette/Miss Lilly, is beautifully realistic and dreamlike at the same time as they tear up the stage singing catchy tunes while executing athletic choreography to perfection.

Thanks to the impeccable direction of Bird, Lucca and Roston, the Wild West Show troupe thoroughly entertains the audience with their clear character portrayals and Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre brilliant execution of the most magnificently entertaining production numbers to ever grace a stage, out of which the show's theatrical magic is born. Among the Wild West Show performers are powerful Benai Boyd as Doc the Ringmaster, a real force-of-nature who left nursing to follow Billy after his Post-Vietnam hospital stay, making her the perfect person to care for the entire troupe when things go haywire.

Rounding out the team who takes to the road Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre with Billy to follow their dreams are Michael Uribes as Big Eagle, Fatima El-Bashir his Native-American wife Lorraine, whose tap dancing often escorts her stilts-wearing husband from the stage to roars of laughter; Randy Charleville as Two Gun Lefty Lebow, the clown; and Kyle Frattini as Lasso Leonard James whose rainbow outfits as just as eye-catching as his lasso skills!

With more heart and chutzpah than sense, Bronco Billy has decided to hit the road to Hollywood in an attempt to keep his traveling Wild West show alive. But when Billy and his ragtag troupe of misfits Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre meet Antoinette, a Manhattan heiress on-the-run, their ride gets even wilder as she turns Billy's world upside down. For even though the two soon fall for each other, she is keeping a big secret from him: she is being tailed by the incompetent trio of Michelle Azar her evil stepmother as Constance; Marc Cardiff as Lawyer Lipton; and Chris M. Kauffmann as her greedy husband John, in their attempt to seize control of her late-father's fortune.

The situation gets even more hysterical when they hire Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre Pat Towne as Sinclair St. Clair, a two-bit investigator with a multitude of comical disguises who leads them to "Miss Lilly" in Bronco Billy's Wild West Show. Hilarity ensues!

Rounding out the ensemble and assisting with everything from the Wild West production numbers to moving scenery to accommodate many quick location changes are Bella Hicks as Mitzi/Ensemble, Anthony Marciona as Sam Lilly/Character Male Ensemble, and Jamie Mills as Dee Dee/Ensemble.

"The show is about living your passion. About being part of a family even if you have to create your own. With some unexpected turns through love, villainy, show business, and lots of humor, Chip, John, and Michele have beautifully honored the book and enlightened the characters with their magical musical influences," says Hackin. "All this, during a time when everyone could use a new upbeat musical." I particularly thank Hackin for promoting the emotional power of women to overcome all obstacles in his script.

Kudos to the dedicated technically creative team including John Iacovelli for his wonderfully Western-themed entertaining Scenic Design Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre which allows the rocking onstage band (Austin Chanu, Jeff Frantom, Cyrus Elia and Ryan McDiarmid, conducted by Musical Director Anthony Lucca on keyboard) to be revealed to play parts in the show, Anne Closs-Farley's beautifully creative and comical Costume Design ranging from all variations of over-the-top Western Wear to sparkly evening gowns, not to mention many intentionally laughable disguises, Brian Gale for his mood-enhancing Lighting Design, Cricket S. Meyers and Daniel Tator for their Sound Design which, thankfully, always allows the actors to heard over the incredibly talented band which needed to play as loud as they did to rock the house, David Murakami's Projection Design which displayed many location backgrounds on the side of set piece crates to bring the city and other environments into the Wild West Show set effectively, and Kevin Williams' Properties Design.

Producers Gary Grossman and Tony Abatemarco are to be congratulated Review: BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL Spectacular World Premiere Two-Steps its Way to Fame at the Skylight Theatre for assembling this incredible dream team to bring the most incredibly entertaining BRONCO BILLY - THE MUSICAL World Premiere to life on the Skylight Theatre stage! No doubt the performances are going to sell out, so be sure to order your tickets soon and be prepared to join in the outrageous fun at 8:30pm Fridays and Saturdays, 2:00pm Saturdays and Sundays through June 30, 2019 at the Skylight Theatre, located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027. Tickets are $29 - $55. Students $20 cash (at the door) - valid picture ID required. Please note children under 6 years of age are not admitted. Information and reservations: (213) 761-7061 or (866) 811-4111. Online ticketing at http://SkylightTix.org. Run-time is 2 hours (includes one intermission). Parking information: http://skylighttheatre.org/plan-your-visit/

Photo credit: Ed Krieger




From This Author - Shari Barrett

Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in secondary sc... (read more about this author)


Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield on the World Premiere of TO THE BONE Presented by Open Fist Theatre CompanyInterview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield on the World Premiere of TO THE BONE Presented by Open Fist Theatre Company
September 26, 2022

Open Fist Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of To the Bone, a darkly funny comedy about family, baseball, and genetics, written and directed by Catherine Butterfield. The play centers on sisters Kelly Moran and Maureen Dugan from the 'Irish Riviera' south of Boston, where they were known as 'hard girls' back in high school. And since the adage says that it's better to write about the things you know, I decided to ask Catherine Butterfield about how much of her own personal life is reflected in the play and what it's like to write and direct it herself.

Interview: Carla Ching on the World Premiere of her Play REVENGE PORN OR THE STORY OF A BODYInterview: Carla Ching on the World Premiere of her Play REVENGE PORN OR THE STORY OF A BODY
September 23, 2022

Carla Ching is among the first three recipients to win the Los Angeles New Play Project Award, which supports playwriting and producing in smaller Los Angeles theaters. Her new play, Revenge Porn or the Story of a Body, opening September 23 at The Pico, directed by Bernardo Cubría for Ammunition Theatre Company, was originally developed as part of the 2021 Ammo Writers' Lab. It takes a very public look into the private lives of people who hurt the ones they love most, and how or if revenge should be taken to offset the pain. I decided to speak with Carla Ching about the play and how it was developed for its world premiere.

Interview: Bart DeLorenzo on Directing Richard Eyre's Adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's GHOSTSInterview: Bart DeLorenzo on Directing Richard Eyre's Adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's GHOSTS
September 7, 2022

Odyssey Theatre Ensemble is presenting the Los Angeles premiere of what may be Henrik Ibsen's most controversial play, Ghosts, adapted by acclaimed British director Richard Eyre and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, a Los Angeles-based theater director and producer who is the founding artistic director of the Evidence Room theater, a 17-year-old company renowned in Los Angeles for contemporary theater productions. I decided to speak with Bart about what led him to direct this new adaptation at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble.

Interview: Katelyn Schiller and Nick Rheinwald-Jones on Their Immersive Interactive DRAGON SHOW: THE EXTENDED TAILInterview: Katelyn Schiller and Nick Rheinwald-Jones on Their Immersive Interactive DRAGON SHOW: THE EXTENDED TAIL
September 7, 2022

Dragons... fairies... knights... enchanted meadows... spooky caves... all part of an immersive experience into your favorite childhood fantasies in Spy Brunch's site-specific adventure, Dragon Show: The Extended Tail. Filled with original songs and a memorable cast of characters, just 12 audience members will be admitted into each performance to enjoy the kind of intimate and memorable experience that immersive theatre delivers best. As a true fan of the genre, how could I resist a production such as this? So, I decided to speak with Katelyn Schiller and Nick Rheinwald-Jones, writers/producers/directors from Spy Brunch to find about more about them and the creation of their immersive fantasy world.

Interview: Michael A. Shepperd on Taking on a Dual-Race Double Role in VALLEY SONGInterview: Michael A. Shepperd on Taking on a Dual-Race Double Role in VALLEY SONG
August 25, 2022

VALLEY SONG by South African master playwright Athol Fugard is two-actor, three-character play in which Michael A. Shepperd takes on the roles of Abraam Jonkers, a mixed- race old man who has been a pumpkin farmer his entire life, and The Author, a White man who wants to buy the land where Abraam lives and works, potentially leaving him homeless. And since these roles were originally doubled by Fugard himself, I decided to speak with Michael A. Shepperd about preparing for such a challenging artistic endeavor.