|Ariel has Kut-Ups near perfection for July performances
Musical troupe to host first evening show at Spreckels on July 12
By Jud Snyder
The Kitchen Kut-Ups are hitting the road this year. Well, not exactly. They’re coming back to Spreckels Performing Arts Center for their 22nd annual show next month on the main stage and the theme this year is “It’s a Travelin’ Show,” a musical journey from east to west coast.
Directing the production for the sixth straight year is Ariel Weymouth-Payne. Back as musical director is Larry Broderick, keyboard virtuoso, who’s been with the Kut-Ups for more than 40 years. The dates are Saturday July 6, Tuesday July 9, Thursday July 11, Friday July 12 and Saturday July 13. Curtain times are 1 p.m. except for the Friday July 12 show, which has a 7:30 p.m. curtain, a first-time evening show for the Kut-Ups.
Back in the days, circa 1972, when the troupe was known as the Kitchen Kut-Ups, directed by vaudeville veteran Betty Ferra (now retired), they played kazoos, thrummed washboards and clattered wooden and metal spoons with Broderick at the piano solidly knitting their kitchen sounds.
They’ve been trying to drop the word “kitchen” because now they have a full-size, all seniors, pit band led by Broderick.
“We’ve been rehearsing, especially the dancers, since March,” said Ariel Weymouth-Payne. “It’s a genuine cross-country journey by train, boat, bus and just hoofing it all the way. It takes a lot of action to fill that big stage.
“We’ve updated the show quite a bit to attract a younger audience, for we’ve got the talent to do this.”
Ariel mentioned some of the soloists, including Allen Saunders, Sharon Griffith, Joe Tringali, Margot Godolphin, Joe Bekar, Mary Kelly and Jim Fitzgerald, for example, who can swing no matter the tempo.
Ariel has a background in choreography and musical comedy production. Her last name is a combination of her parent’s name and she’s married to Tom Baughan, a contractor who also is a set designer and builder for the show.
“My father’s an engineer and we traveled a lot, and I went along as an infant, born in Denver. I went to many schools, and finally earned my MFA in dance at University of North Carolina.
“I worked a lot in New York, choreography mostly, for shows like “Cabaret” and “My Fair Lady.” And I did a lot of my own traveling in many states.” She confessed she just passed her 60-year mark. So she’s amid her peer group with the Kut-Ups.
“It’s a challenge directing seniors,” Ariel admits. “I tell them, even when you’re dancing, you’re acting, keep smiling and always remember, you’re on stage for the audience, they paid money to see you perform and you owe them the best you can do.”
Tickets for “It’s a Travelin’ Show are $16 for each performance. Group rates are also available. Call the Spreckels box office at 588-3400 Tuesday through Saturday afternoons or show up one hour before curtain times for reservations.