Prairie Fire Theatre is staging "The Most Happy Fella," a musical set in Napa Valley with a plot that's future forward.
Originally written in 1956, the show is by Frank Loesser ("Guys and Dolls"), yet it has a modern slant to its love story with an element of catfishing. The show is directed by Emily Honzel.
"It could actually be a reality TV show," Honzel said of the plot, which involves a middle-aged man sending the photo of a younger, more handsome man in order to woo a young waitress. "With the incorrect knowledge of who she is corresponding with, she arrives in Napa as a sort of mail order bride. When she finds out that Tony is not the man he presented himself to be, things develop from there."
One of the striking things about "The Most Happy Fella" is the fact that it has confounded fans for years. Is it a musical? Is it an opera? Maybe it’s an operical!
“It’s so weird,” said Honzel. “Because you have numbers that come across as if they could be right out of 'Guys and Dolls,' and everyone in the cast is dancing is singing, and then you get a beautiful song that sounds like it could be straight from a Puccini opera. So it’s a very quick turnaround and it keeps the audience and the performers on their toes.”
Prairie Fire Theater's production of "The Most Happy Fella" runs August 3-6 in Bloomington's Westbrook Auditorium.
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