El Camino College Union

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‘House of Blue Leaves’ wraps up five-show run

John+Webb+performs+a+monologue+during+the+second+act+of%2C+%22The+House+of+Blue+Leaves.%22+Photo+credit%3A+Jeremy+Taylor
John Webb performs a monologue during the second act of,

John Webb performs a monologue during the second act of, "The House of Blue Leaves." Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

John Webb performs a monologue during the second act of, "The House of Blue Leaves." Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

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A piano sits onstage with a spotlight shining overhead.

Jared Gaxiola enters from stage left, sits down, introduces himself as Artie Shaughnessy and so begins our journey into, “The House of Blue Leaves.”

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Jared Gaxiola as Artie Shaughnessy acts out his last scene in El Camino College's production of, "House of Blue Leaves." Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

The two-act play is about a struggling New York City zookeeper with aspirations of making it in show business and how his life implodes the day the Pope visits New York City in October of 1965.

“It’s a different kind of play indeed,” Jerry Prell, the “House of Blue Leaves” director said. “It’s tragic comedy and balancing those elements of comedy and tragedy, I think the cast did a really a great job of that.”

The ensemble cast made up entirely of students, wrapped up their five-show run Sunday evening in the Campus Theatre.

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Cast members (left to right) Rita Chavdarian as Bananas Shaughnessy, Jared Gaxiola as Artie Shaughnessy, and Allie Barnum as Bunny Flingus. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

One of the standout performances was by third-year drama student John Webb in his first leading role.

Webb plays the troubled son of Artie Shaughnessy, Ronnie who is awol from the United States Army.

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Cast members (left to right) Vaughn Page as Bill Einhorn, Jared Gaxiola as Artie Shaughnessy, and Rita Chavdarian as Bananas Shaughnessy. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

“I’m a more reserved person usually and this character is extremely out there,” Webb said, “especially since this a farce, all the characters have to be huge and letting myself be huge and go over the top with my mannerisms and everything is probably the hardest challenge for me personally.”

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The cast of "House of Blue Leaves" giving their bows in the Campus Theatre. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

Webb was so committed to his role that he even sacrificed his normally long locks for a traditional military haircut.

“I used to get my hair cut this short every summer when I was kid, I stopped when I was around 10,” Webb said. “It was definitely very weird to going back to having very short hair after such long hair for a very long time.”

Tamara Glaser, a professional actress and singer, was in attendance during Sunday’s show and had this to say about the El Camino production.

“I was extremely impressed. Toward the end of the production I was flashing back to when I saw the show on Broadway and I think it was comparable to that in many ways,” Glaser said.

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‘House of Blue Leaves’ wraps up five-show run