In its four years of existence, the cultural institution known as the San Miguel Playhouse has become the city’s most significant home for high-quality theater.
Now, however, the institution is in peril. The lease has expired on the playhouse building, and the San Miguel Playhouse must deal with the real possibility of eviction. A group of business professionals with a love of theater is launching a capital campaign to preserve this important cultural institution.
In tandem with the capital campaign, one of the biggest theatrical events in the history of San Miguel is in the final stage of rehearsals – a new musical called Bikers in Camelot, which will have its world premiere at the San Miguel Playhouse. With book, music, and lyrics by Wendy Bichel, who has been writing musicals since earning an MFA in musical theater four decades ago from New York University, an international cast, and New York-level production values, Bikers in Camelot is expected to sell out its San Miguel run and very likely be extended, before touring in other cities. Ken Albanese, who directed The 39 Steps, is directing the new musical, and Ken Bichel, who won a Drama Desk Award for his work on Broadway, is the orchestrator and conductor.
Musical theater creates a fantasy world in which characters sometimes speak and sometimes sing, and Bikers in Camelot can be described as a fantasy about fantasy. Two authors, live-in lovers, cannot commit to their relationship because they have ineluctably fallen in love with the characters they’ve written. The writers conjure up their dream lovers in the flesh, and all hell breaks loose. A romantic musical comedy, Bikers in Camelot has been years in the making, and Wendy Bichel’s most ambitious work to date.
The world premiere performance, the first-ever presentation of a musical that may conceivably work its way to Goodspeed in Connecticut or even Broadway, will take place at a special 3pm Wedensday matinee on February 20. The fundraising committee for the San Miguel Playhouse has reserved the entire theater for the world premiere, and is offering VIP tickets for what it calls “a sparking reception to save the San Miguel Playhouse.” Tickets for the event are being offered to patrons at $50 US per ticket, and include an after-show private reception with the cast and creators of Bikers in Camelot, with sparkling wine and other refreshments. More importantly, the patrons who attend will not only be the first spectators to see the show, but will be helping to inaugurate the capital campaign to save a critically important arts institution.