'The Real Housewives of Walnut Creek: The Musical'

Posted:   April 23, 2014


The Real Housewives of Walnut Creek: The MusicalMolly Bell, who rocked Center REP's alternative Off Center Season with her popular Becoming Britney, returns with another musical take on pop culture, lifting the lid on the secrets, lies and betrayals of the women of Contra Costa. Michael Butler directs the world premiere. Bell just wrote the book, music and lyrics, handles musical direction and choreography - and plays one of the five eponymous wives.

8:15 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2:15 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Through May 11. $41-$44. 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. (925) 943-7469. www.centerrep.org.

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'Real Housewives of Walnut Creek' musical opens at Lesher Center April 19

By Pat Craig

Posted:   April 16, 2014


In her last gallop across Walnut Creek's Lesher Center stage, Molly Bell wrote and starred in "Becoming Britney," a high-energy musical sendup of the young stars in rehab who don't need last names to be recognized.

This time out, her target is a bit closer to home in "Real Housewives of Walnut Creek: The Musical," a close-to-home parody of the popular reality TV show series that often reveals it's really pretty shallow in the deep end where wealthy divas play.

But, fear not, jeweled princesses of The Creek and surrounding areas (you know who you are), the housewives in Bell's two-act musical aren't necessarily based on you.

"The characters are based loosely on the stock characters reality shows seem to have each season," Bell said. "So, we end up with characters along similar themes -- the younger trophy wife, the older woman trying to hang on to her youth -- all characters created from my own imagination. I just want to have a little something in it for everyone."

That's Bell's formula. And the show is a musical and not an opera because Bell doesn't know enough about opera to write one. But she feels "Real Housewives" would make a great opera, with all its high-stakes emotion, grand passion and bodice-ripping excitement.

As it is, "Real Housewives of Walnut Creek" consists of 16 show tunes and a constant musical underscoring that augments the ongoing action of the show.

Not surprisingly, there are a number of Walnut Creek-specific references in the show, but it isn't so specific that the musical is a tale of one city.

"It's my hope that the show will go to other cities," she said, agreeing that the Walnut Creek name can sound pretty generic to those unfamiliar with the town at the intersection of highways 680 and 24. "I think mostly the show can go anywhere with the references to Walnut Creek. Basically, people are the same everywhere."

For a full-scale musical, the "Real Housewives" cast of six is pretty small. And for the lone man in the show, it's going to be a huge and busy time, since he plays every male character, even where there is more than one on stage at the same time.

"I originally wrote it to be two men," Bell said, "but I think it's a better experience for the audience with just one."

"Real Housewives" plays in previews Thursday and Friday, with its main run Saturday through May 11, as part of the Center Repertory Company's Off-Center series. Tickets, at $28-$44 may be reserved at 925-943-7469, www.centerrep.org. But hurry, many of the performances are already sold out.

Curtain Calls: 'Real Housewives' with the unsinkable Molly Bell

By Sally Hogarty

Posted:   April 16, 2014


The amazingly talented ball of energy known as Molly Bell opens her latest creation this coming weekend at Walnut Creek's Lesher Center. Written and performed by Bell, "The Real Housewives of Walnut Creek" -- which runs April 17-May 11 -- is a sendup of television's popular "Housewives" series.

"I realized how much people love the characters on the shows, and when I found out that many of the women also release pop songs on iTunes, I knew I had the beginnings of a new musical," says Bell.

"The Real Housewives of Walnut Creek" follows five local women and what happens to their social status and relationships when one of them loses everything. According to Bell, there are lots of references to Walnut Creek, but none of the characters are based on actual residents ... or are they?

The show features Bell, Riette Burdick, Lynda DiVito, Jason Hoover, Danelle Medeiros and Lizzie O'Hara.

Call 925-943-SHOW (925-943-7469) or go to www.lesherartscenter.org for tickets.

-- Sally Hogarty, mercurynews.com - April 16, 2014