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OCT's 'Life Could Be a Dream'

It was a special, magical and brief time — the years after Elvis and before The Beatles — when guy groups keened and pleaded for love with such songs as "Stay," "Earth Angel" and "Fools Fall in Love."

These doo-wop hits may seem sappy and sentimental now, but, as you'll see in "Life Could Be a Dream" at Oregon Cabaret Theatre, they're the tunes that set teen hearts a-throbbin' and feet a-dancin'.

This show is part of a matching pair of cheery, crazy musicals. The other, "The Marvelous Wonderettes" — all about girl groups — was staged to welcoming crowds last year at OCT. "Dream," filled with intense and shifting, romantic drama, was written by Roger Bean, who also penned "Wonderettes."

The show will preview Wednesday and Thursday, June 6-7, open Friday, June 8, and run through Aug. 26. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays and at 1 p.m. Sundays.

"This show is more about the guy-group stuff," says producer Jim Giancarlo. "The boys are trying to win a big radio contest that will land them a recording contract. There's a lot of music. It's like a revue of pop songs with lots of ups and downs in relationships — and they're all really strong singers. The show's going to be a lot of fun."

The boys in "Dream" were classmates of the "Wonderettes" at Springfield High. Slacker Denny (Kyle Smith) and timid Eugene (Garrett Deagon) belt it out as members of the "Crooning Crabcakes." Preacher's son Wally (Chris Chiles) and heartthrob Skip (Devon Stone) fill out the group.

The plot twists as the boys seek sponsorship from Big Eddie at Big Stuff Auto. When Eddie sends his daughter, Lois (Heather Gault), to help them polish the act, romantic sparks fly. She already broke Eugene's heart in fifth grade, and he's never gotten over it. Denny and Wally wig out for her, but she digs Skip.

"One girl becomes everyone's love interest," says director and choreographer Christopher George Patterson.

The storyline can be discerned from the song titles: "Tears on My Pillow," "Runaround Sue," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Lonely Teardrops" and "The Glory of Love."

Most of the cast are new faces, with Smith having appeared last year in OCT's "The Daly News." Deagon recently graduated from University of California at Irvine, and Gault from University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Chiles is an Ohio native. Stone recently placed in a national tour of "Spring Awakening."

Preview tickets cost $19. Tickets cost $36 for Fridays and Saturdays, $30 for Sunday matinees, $27 for Sundays evenings, $32 for weeknights and $18 for bistro seats. Tickets are available at the box office and www.oregoncabaret.com or by calling 541-488-2902.

The cast of 'Life Would Be a Dream' croons hits from the '50s and '60s in Oregon Cabaret Theatre's production of Roger Bean's 'Life Would Be a Dream.' - Photo courtesy of Christopher Briscoe