In 1989, “City of Angels,” written by Larry Gelbart (of “M*A*S*H” fame), was adapted for the stage and exploded into major success, sweeping the Tonys for Best Musical, book, score, set design, actor and featured actress. With a vivacious jazz score by Cy Coleman — who won his first Tony with the show — and David Zippel’s lyrics, “City of Angels” became a huge hit on Broadway, running at its opening venue, the Virginia Theatre, for an amazing 878 performances. Now, “City of Angels” comes to the Power Center for performances this Thursday through Sunday.

“City of Angels” follows the trials of writer Stine and his alter ego, who happens to be the leading character of his novel, Detective Stone. Stine struggles to adapt Stone’s adventures for the screen under the direction of sharky and overbearing producer/director Buddy Fiddler in ’40s Hollywood. As parallel characters in interwoven storylines, Stine and Stone’s dilemmas reflect each other, with Stone stepping forward from fiction as Stine’s conscience and critic, eventually leading to their explosive duo, You’re Nothing Without Me.

The play’s sets and costumes are integral to the mood: Stone’s fictional realm is cast in the bleak hues of noir-esque black and white, while Stine’s real world appears in vibrant color. But with one stage, two worlds and numerous scene changes, bringing “City of Angels” to life is quite difficult. The director, Theater Prof. Mark Madama, realized this immediately when adapting the musical for a University production; at the outset, he knew what the central challenge would be.

“Clarity … The script was already brilliant, but the plot is very layered and dense,” Madama said.

He dealt with this by utilizing the Power Center’s stage space as well as he could, using projections and moving sets to aid the flow of the story.

Musical director Cynthia Kortman Westphal leads both local musicians and School of Music jazz students in the pit orchestra. She expressed great excitement to be acting as musical director for her first University show. “I’ve worked in Broadway shows for the last 10 years,” she explained. “I didn’t know what to expect when I came to (the) University … but it’s been a fantastic experience.”

Madama stated that the script for “City of Angels” also reflects what lies in store for his students — or perhaps any young person — looking to find his way in the world.

“There (are) tremendous truths in this script,” he explained. “There’s so much of the reality of Hollywood and Los Angeles there, and it’s something that these students will be relating to in the time to come — just like how (the character) Stine is trying to come to peace with his artistic life and economic life. But it’s also a part of the human condition. We all go through something like this.”

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