By Wanda Seymour
April 1, 2018 (El Cajon) – After being shuttered for a decade, the East County Performing Arts Center has announced a grand reopening event under management by Live Nation.
This stellar event will feature an inclusive cast of celebrities, local all-stars, and multi-cultural participants in “El Cajon Follies,” an original production choreographed for the occasion.
The lineup will include:
- A pre-show celebration featured NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson driving his winning racecar down Main Street followed by classic cars, equestrian trick-riders, and a Mother Goose float with this year’s reigning queen and princesses. Celebrity guests will be ushered into the fully restored theatre via a red carpet rolled out for the occasion.
- Mayor Bill Wells, an accomplished pianist, will open the show seated at a restored grand piano, a red rose in the lapel of his glitzy Liberace-style tuxedo as he tickles the ivories and croons Frank Sinatra’s hit, “My Way” followed by a rendition of "Rhapsody by Candlelight."
- Next, a chorus line of El Cajon Council members and former Council members (men wearing silver top hats and tuxedos, women in stiletto heels, silk stockings and short gold tux-style costumes) will perform a Rockettes-style rendition of “Give My Regards to Broadway, El Cajon.”
- Britney Spears, who sang at ECPAC early in her rock-star career, returns for an encore performance in a glittering body suit, singing “Oops I did it Again!”
- El Cajon Police officers, in a show of community unity, are teaming up with Black Lives Matter members, break dancing to the music of “Dragnet.”
- Heartland Firefighters will strut their stuff to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of fire,” accompanied by a dazzling pyrotechnics display.
- The newly formed El Cajon Precision Shopping Cart Brigade comprised of homeless and transitioning residents will show off wheelies and other moves led by Pastor Brown from the East County Transitional Living Center, Councilman Steve Goble, and Eric Lund, who heads up the East County Regional Task for on Homelessness. In the orchestra pit, the Salvation Army Brass Band will provide musical accompaniment, performing “Homeward Bound.”
- Food Not Bombs has volunteered to serve up free meals to homeless performers after their number on a new backstage patio. Ex-Mayor Marc Lewis has agreed to make a cameo appearance, tossing donuts to the crowd.
- Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica, dressed as Sonny and Cher in tie-dyed bell bottoms, wigs and peace symbols, will affectionately sing “I’ve Got You Babe.”
- Councilman Bob McClellan, wearing his patriotic Uncle Sam costume, will muster up a lively tap dance to “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandy” accompanied by the Rock Church Choir.
- A Chaldean ensemble from St. Michael’s Cathedral will sing traditional Babylonian music, followed by Middle Eastern belly dancers shimmying to strains from “Aladdin.”
- Press corps members with beats in El Cajon are also getting into the act. East County Magazine’s reporter Paul Kruze, who moonlights as a trumpet player, will play Mariachi music to celebrate local Latino heritage. ECM’s Jonathan Goetz will bring his caroling troupe to sing “Joy to the World.” Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson, ECM freelance journalist and baker, is cooking up her award-winning cookies from the County Fair to serve at the concession stand. Albert Fulcher, former editor of the East County Californian, will return to sing cowboy ballads honoring our pioneering past. San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Karen Pearlman and her dog, Chloe, will demonstrate “Doga Yoga” moves.
- Eldonna Lay, president of the El Cajon Historical Society, will show a slideshow of historical images from the city’s past 100 years, wearing a pioneer dress as “The Way We Were” plays over the new state-of-the-art speaker system.
- Congressman Duncan Hunter, an Iraq War veteran, will appear in uniform to lip-sync the Marine Corps Hymn “…First to fight for right and freedom, and to keep our honor clean; We are proud to claim the title Of United States Marine.”
- His Democratic political opponents, wearing Elvis outfits, will follow, chanting “Lock him up” as they swivel to the strains of “Jailhouse Rock.”
- El Cajon High School’s marching band plans to parade up the aisle playing “Happy Days Are Here Again” as cheerleaders rock out with a ‘50s style sock dance on stage.
- Next up, Rubio’s Dance Studio’s Junior Crew percussionists will wow the crowd with their drumming routine on rolling trash cans, twirling drumsticks as they march across the stage.
- Councilman Gary Kendrick, who championed saving ECPAC, will soar in on an overhead wire in a Superman suit, cape flowing as the comic book hero theme song booms through the theatre.
- Monica Zech, the city’s public information officer, will land in her former traffic helicopter on the theater’s roof and slide down a rope through a trap door in the ceiling to the victorious strains of “Rocky.” City Manager Douglas Williford, who fought to reopen the theatre, will follow. Wearing silk robes, the pair will exchange fist bumps in red boxing gloves hoisted high.
- For the grand finale, Ray Lutz, who organized a “Save ECPAC” protest group, will lead a revival of his Grossmont Community Concert Association in a stirring rendition of Handel’s Messiah. “Seeing our theatre finally reopened after all these years has given me religion!” Lutz announced. As the audience rises to their feet, he will lead the crowd and the show’s entire cast in the traditional “Hallelujah Chorus” sing-along, ending in a thunderous standing ovation for all.
Happy April Fool’s Day!
Find more April Fool’s Day 2018 stories here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/april-1-2018-special-edition