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Muskego High School brings back classic TV comedy

'The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis' presented this weekend

Nov. 4, 2012

Muskego - "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" by Max Shulman throws 21st-century audiences back into the 1950s to watch young people struggle with the same relationship issues as they do today, only with funny twists and pratfalls as they go.

"The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Muskego High School Performing Arts Center, S8750 Racine Ave.

Those who remember the TV show of the same name that ran from 1959 to 1963 also remember Bob Denver as the irrepressible Maynard G. Krebs. But Maynard isn't in the play because it's based on the book, said director Angel Mullen. Maynard G. Krebs was added for the show.

"But there are still some very funny characters," she said.

There's a special quality in this comedy about the everyday complications of young people, she said. Helen, whom Dobie adores "above Helen of Troy," is going steady with Petey Bellows. According to Dobie, "Petey thinks that just because he's captain of the football team, president of the student council, a three-letter man and editor-in-chief of the School Echo, he is somebody."

Unfortunately, Helen agrees. Through three hilarious acts, Dobie pursues Helen, and he does catch up, Mullen said.

The kids in the cast never heard of Dobie Gillis but they relate well to the show because its heart is the struggles of the heart, she said.

"We set this play in the 1950s, but teenagers face the same challenges in any era: unrequited love, self-doubt, money troubles, bullies, conflicts with parents and teachers," Mullen said.

Even though some of this is tough stuff, the play is fun.

"It's got a lot of comedy," Mullen assured.

The cast of 27 includes Josh Spano as Dobie Gillis, Sarah Penn as Helen, Max Mullen as Petey, Hannah Cantrell as Bonnie Willet, Paul Salsieder as Mr. Pipgrass, Anna Mazza as Happy Stella Kowalski and Ashley Olszewski as Limbo Lamb.

The play is being produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Ill.

Admission is $5.

Max Shulman (1919-1988) began writing Dobie Gillis stories in 1945 for various humor magazines, Mullen said. In 1951, these were collected and published as a book titled "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," which is where the script for the play originates, she said.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

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