Lakewood Theatre Company Presents It's A Bird ...It's A Plane ... It's Superman - Theatre News - Theatre In Portland
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Lakewood Theatre Company Presents It's A Bird ...It's A Plane ... It's Superman
Oct 4, 2014

It's A Bird ...It's A Plane ... It's SupermanThis year three musicals featuring a theme of strong men will be presented in a concert/cabaret style.
The first offering, It's A Bird ...It's A Plane ... It's Superman will have only 3 performances, Friday, October 24 at 7:00 PM and Saturday, October 25 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Performances are on Lakewood's Side Door stage at Lakewood Center for the Arts in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Each show in the series is presented script-in-hand, with minimal staging. No sets, no props (free from the usual trappings of a fully staged production). Food and beverages are available for purchase before and during the show.
In 2013, PAMTA (Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards) presented Lakewood Theatre Company with a special award celebrating the origination of this series and the curatorial care that director Ron Daum has brought to this series of musical plays.
The 2014-15 Lost Treasures series of plays includes It's A Bird, It's A Plane... It's Superman (October 24-25, 2014), What Makes Sammy Run (February 20-21, 2015), and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (April 17-18, 2015). The series sponsor is Dr. Fritz Camp.

The first show in the series is It's A Bird ... It's A Plane ... It's Superman and has only 3 performances, Friday, October 24 at 7:00 PM, and Saturday, October 25 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. The production features Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Lee Adams, and book by David Newman and Robert Benton. The musical is based on the comic strip "SUPERMAN. Lakewood's production is directed by Ron Daum. Musical direction is by Andrew Bray and the producer is Kay Vega. The title sponsor is Dr. Fritz Camp.

The Story: The plot revolves around Superman's efforts to defeat Dr. Abner Sedgwick, a ten-time Nobel Prize-losing scientist who seeks to avenge the scientific world's dismissal of his brilliance by attempting to destroy the world's symbol of good. Additionally, Superman comes into romantic conflict with Max Mencken, a columnist for the Daily Planet newspaper, who resents Lois Lane's attraction to Superman.

After Superman (Spencer Baylis Conway) tells the audience about his credo (I'll never stop doing good), he changes into his disguise, that of mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent at the Daily Planet.

On one particular day, there arrives a visitor in great upset. He is Dr. Abner Sedgwick (Paul G. Miller), renowned nuclear genius from M.I.T. who tells Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (Chrissy Kelly-Pettit) that he must get Superman immediately to halt an atomic reactor that has gone out of control. Superman (who overhears the problem with his super-hearing) arrives at M.I.T., enters the radioactive chamber and soon sets it aright.
Back at the Daily Planet, gossip columnist Max Mencken (Adam Eliot Davis) has concocted a plan to reveal the identity of Superman to the world, thus making himself the town's real hero. He has gathered together the six most likely Superman suspects and planted a ticking bomb in the office. Fortunately, Clark Kent wanders into the room and is able to stop the danger without revealing himself. In the meantime, Dr. Sedgwick constructs a mammoth computer called Brainiac 7 to aid him in uncovering Superman's secret identity and Max Mencken decides to join him in defeating Superman.

Will Superman be beaten? Will Lois confess her love of him? This looks like a job for .... Superman! Others in the cast include Caitlin Upshaw, Ryan Monaghan, and David Sargent.

Ticket prices are $20 for all seats. The whole series of three musicals is available for a subscription package of $55. Contact the Lakewood Theatre Box Office at (503) 635-3901 or order online at
Lakewood Theatre Company's Side Door Stage is located in the Community Meeting Room at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street in Lake Oswego. Food and beverages are available to purchase before and during the show.

The musical opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on March 29, 1966. It was directed by Harold Prince with choreography by Ernest Flatt, and starred Bob Holiday as Clark Kent/Superman, Patricia Marand as Lois Lane, Jack Cassidy as Max Mencken, and Linda Lavin as Sydney. The production received generally positive reviews, but it failed to catch on with the theater going public and closed on July 17, 1966 after 129 performances. The musical received three Tony Award nominations, for Best Actor in a Musical (Cassidy), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Michael O'Sullivan, playing the main villain), and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Marand). One of the songs from the score, "You've Got Possibilities" (introduced by Lavin), had some success outside the show as a nightclub and cabaret standard.

Television Highlights: It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman was made into a TV special on February 1, 1975. The show was significantly shortened, the script significantly changed, and the ethnicity of a troupe of evildoers was changed from Chinese acrobats to Mafia-style gangsters. The sound of the musical numbers was updated to a more contemporary 1970s sensibility. The show was broadcast on the ABC network and starred David Wilson as Superman/Clark Kent, Lesley Ann Warren as Lois Lane, Loretta Swit as Sydney Carlton, David Wayne as Dr. Abner Sedgwick, Allen Ludden as Perry White, and Kenneth Mars as Max Mencken. Viewers of this re-make felt that the TV production lacked the energy of the original Broadway show.

The Adventures of Superman, the T.V. show (1952-1958), was a live-action television series about the Man of Steel as he fights crime with help from his friends at the Daily Planet. It was the first to bring the comic-book hero to TV. George Reeves played Clark Kent/Superman with Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen, John Hamilton as Perry White, and Robert Shayne as Inspector Henderson. Phyllis Coates played Lois Lane in the first season with Noel Neill stepping into the role in the second season. Its opening theme is known as The Superman March. Episodes of this original series are again on the air Saturday evenings on Me-TV beginning September 6, 2014.