STERLING — Complete with “Boos,” “Hisses” and “Hoorays,” it’s time for a good, old-fashioned melodrama as Sterling High School Theatre presents its winter play “Sundown Alley.” With a cast of 20, the show by playwright Tim Kelly and directed by Piper Harding will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30 and Saturday, Feb. 1 in the school’s theater.
Film aficionados may recognize that Sundown Alley is actually a westernized/melodrama take off on the classic film and musical Sunset Boulevard. Instead of washed-up silent film actress Norma Desmond there is Norma Desperate – a retired stage actress. Sterling High junior Hannah Bennett leads the Sterling production in the central role.
This reimagining of the film takes place in a small western town called Lizard Gulch, where retired actress Norma Desperate has spent 40 years planning her return to the stage with a 15-act retelling of “Cinderella.”
Norma owns the Desperate Rooms Hotel and allows downhearted actors without a role in life to stay there rent-free. As a rental requirement, however, they must applaud and yell “Bravo!” almost continuously. Into Norma’s dream world crawls Sly Vester, the seedy villain, played by Lucas Gilmore, who convinces Norma he’s a playwright with the ability to polish the “Cinderella” clinker.
Before long, Norma is writing checks for a production that will never actually happen. Sly and his tricky partner in crime, Delilah Desdemonda Dilly, played by Natalie Schweizer, have it made until another smelly bandit, Billy the Goat, played by Noah Svaty shows up and demands a cut of the action.
It’s up to the new sheriff, Johnny Straightshooter, portrayed by Josiah Watney, who is in love with Amy Sweet, the schoolmarm, played by Karissa Wilson, to sort things out.