LEISURE

Scripps Ranch gets ‘Dancing Lessons’

Scripps Ranch Theatre presents “Dancing Lessons,” starring Michelle Marie Trester and Andrew Gumm. (photo by Ken Jacques)

Scripps Ranch gets ‘Dancing Lessons’

Theater fans are in for a night of smiles and interesting characters when Scripps Ranch Theatre (SRT) presents Mark St. Germain’s ‘Dancing Lessons,’ Jan. 25-Feb. 24.

Dancing Lessons is described as a heartwarming and humor-laced story of Ever Montgomery, a young man with Asperger’s syndrome, who seeks instruction from Senga Quinn, an injured dancer, so that Ever can prepare for an upcoming awards ceremony. As the lessons and a relationship unfolds, both student and teacher make interesting discoveries about each other and themselves.

Director Megan DeBoard noted that at first look, the characters in the play — there are only two — are the type of New York neighbors who live in the same building two floors apart but have never communicated.

“As you get to know these characters, you see that they’re both a little socially awkward; they almost don’t have the patience for each other’s unique personalities,” she said.

But that awkward stage of the relationship changes over time.

“It’s not quite a romantic comedy, but there’s maybe a little bit of romance and a lot of comedy,” DeBoard said. “Mainly, it’s a lot of communication and learning how to communicate with someone who isn’t like you, and what kind of friendship can grow from that.”

The dancer, Senga, will be played by Michelle Marie Trester, who has starred in previous productions at SRT. Ever will be played by Andrew Gumm in what DeBoard said will be his first performance at the local theater.

A native of Oahu, Hawaii, DeBoard completed her undergraduate studies at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where she is now the director of the theater department and has directed numerous plays. Her local directing experience also includes plays at Grossmont College, San Diego Junior Theatre, Cygnet Theatre and Diversionary Theatre. “Dancing Lessons” marks DeBoard’s first time directing at SRT.

“What I love about ‘Dancing Lessons’ is that the entire play takes place in a New York studio apartment, so we don’t have walls that are getting in the way of various sight lines,” she said. “We’re just able to live in this New York apartment, and hopefully the audience will feel like they’re peeking in the windows.”

Scripps Ranch Theatre is on the campus of Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations. “Dancing Lessons” runs Jan. 25-Feb. 24. The Jan. 26 “opening night” performance will be followed by a post-performance reception including snacks and the opportunity to meet the cast and production team. To reserve seats, call (858) 578-7728. For ticket price information, visit scrippsranchtheatre.org.

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