If you’re anything like me, you have a deep and profound respect for classic comedy. Whether that be a cult-classic film like The Big Lebowski or hearing Carlin on Campus for the hundredth time- watching and listening to those comedic roots can be an incredibly uplifting experience. These days, in 2016, we see time and time again comedians and filmmakers attempting to pay their respects to these geniuses of comedy. Unfortunately, in the cinematic world littered with classic remakes, franchise reboots and formulaic rehashes, these attempts to refresh old ideas churn out utter failures the likes of which ruin characters that we have grown so fond of over the past decades.
Thankfully, a fantastic new idea to present a classic has found its way to The Clinton Street Theater. From Stageworks Ink comes Three Amigos Live, a musical adaptation of the 1986 cult-classic comedy Three Amigos. While ultimately placing itself amongst other remakes or adaptations simply by nature, the production finds its way to authenticity by delivering new songs that coincide seamlessly with the original script as well as wonderful casting choices that, in some instances, rival the original film.
From the very beginning, we see that Steve Coker, the co-star, producer and director of the production, has upheld his respect and love for not only the film but the time of which it came from. Steve does a fantastic job taking on Chevy Chase’s role as Dusty Bottoms, effortlessly portraying the classic character alongside Sean Ryan Lamb as Steve Martin’s Lucky Day. Lamb has clearly done his research on this performance, as his cadence and tone of the character echoes Martin’s original performance very closely. The most unique casting decision was in regards to Kylie Jenifer Rose who had the challenge of taking on the role of Martin Short’s Ned Nedelander, referred to as “Neddie” throughout the production. Rose was able to take on Short’s silly and nonsensical character as well as deliver breath-taking performances when it came time to sing “Blue Shadows” and “My Little Buttercup”, two songs from the original film.
On the flip side of protagonist cast sits Tim Giugni who had the task of taking on Alfonso Arau’s “in-famous” El Guapo. Giugni’s performance was first-rate when it came to not only the tone of El Guapo but also the look and movements of the character. From discussing a plethora of piñatas with his #1 henchman Jefe to wearing his birthday sweater around his neck, Giugni does a great job of paying homage to the original character.
Even with some opening night wrinkles, the cast and crew smooths out those issues with well-timed jokes, making for a very promising run in the future. It’s clear that Coker and company have banded together to ride, fight and love on stage in what is sure to be one of the very few refreshing and original adaptations of an existing classic. 3 Amigos Live is currently running every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through April 9th. Be sure to check out this performance in Stageworks Ink’s last show for this season!
For an interview with Steve Coker, check out Portland Notes article on the making of Three Amigos!