Reviewed by Amalisha HuEck
On Sunday afternoon, February 12, I watched with increasing delight the world premiere of Come Get Maggie written by Diane Frolov with music by Susan Justin and Lyrics by Frolov and Justin at the storied Matrix Theatre on Melrose.
This new intergalactic musical offers insight into the life of the young, fairly naive, yet brilliant, but ahead-of-her-time woman Maggie (Melanie Neilan) stuck in a very dumb
world in the 1930s, 1950s where she is dreaming and looking for her real home somewhere out there - in the world,
in the outer space. Having the brains of a nuclear physicist she gets a Ph.D. in physics and goes to work for the government, believing that she is building a rocket ship for space exploration. By accident, she builds the H-bomb. With the great disappointment of that mishap and pressure from her parents, Maggie decides to become an ordinary homemaker, marry a controlling widower with two children, who just wants a spouse - 'timid like a mouse', and will listen and obey him.
Her dreams of life somewhere out there in space become alive again after she is abducted by aliens and falls in love with someone on the spaceship.
Whether or not you believe in UFOs and spacecraft
this musical with its catchy score and inspirational message about freedom and true love will have you wishing upon the stars for a happy ending. And indeed, with her knowledge of science, Maggie returns home but builds an effective communication device in her basement so that she is able to send messages into space, asking for help. The denouement evokes suspense, laughs, and surprises as the audience awaits the outcome, wondering if this device can work well enough to reach her intergalactic soulmate, Varex (Dennis Renard).
As a powerful ensemble, the incredibly talented cast uses their strong and effective voices and dance moves to tell this story, getting us into the magic of a musical. It was well received
with most of the audience giving a standing ovation.
Congrats to the entire cast - Melanie Neilan (Maggie), Dennis Renard (Varex), Philip Casnoff (Ziskin), Melissa Jobe (Mrs.Wyberry), Bruce Nozick (Gen.Winthrop/Mr.Wyberry), Jacquelin Lorraine Schofield (Auntie Ruthie), Chase Ramsey (Hugh), Nicole Ledoux (Kwee), Beth Egan (Little Ruthie), Sarah Hinrichsen (Female Swing), Alan Trinca (Male Swing) and Eddie Vona (President/Rodney).
Directed by Michael Pressman and choreographed by Brooke Wendle
this first-ever musical for Rogue Machine Theatre adds another aspect to the many excellent productions on that stage in the past
and to the 'historical importance of this great theatre', says Chair, Rogue Machine Theatre Board of Directors Neely Swanson. 'Take a few minutes to walk the halls and see who has performed on this stage in the past.'
John Perrin Flynn, Producing Artistic Director says, "When Michael Pressman approached me about producing Come Get Maggie, a world premiere musical, I immediately said no. We don't do musicals." But Michael's persistence made this production happen, "He does know a good thing when he sees it." And here it is, Rogue Theatre producing its first musical.
"After the last two years of incredible adversity and isolation, I wanted to work on a joyful piece of musical theater that would share optimism and humor with all ages," says Director, Michael Pressman.
Come Get Maggie is exactly that - a joyful piece with lots of optimism and humor, which we all need these days.
Come Get Maggie is being performed Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through March 26 at the Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Avenue, L.A., California, 90048. For reservations call (855)585-5185 or
The running time is 2 hours (with one intermission of 15 min).