2008-01-31 / On the Town

'Bubble Boy: The Musical' coming

By Stephanie Bertholdo bertholdo@theacorn.com

OUT OF THE BOX- Agoura High School graduate Shaun Fleming plays Jimmy Livingston in "Bubble Boy: The Musical." The show opens at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Feb. 7. OUT OF THE BOX- Agoura High School graduate Shaun Fleming plays Jimmy Livingston in "Bubble Boy: The Musical." The show opens at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Feb. 7. If you missed the 1976 madefor-TV-movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" starring the young John Travolta and then somehow failed to see the 2001 comedic film "Bubble Boy," don't despair.

"Bubble Boy: The Musical" is coming to town and promises a new twist on the old tale of an immunity-challenged young man who risks his life to win the heart of the woman he loves.

"Bubble Boy" will feature performances by young actors and musicians from Agoura and Oak Park high schools and is slated for Thurs. and Fri., Feb. 7 and 8 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza's Scherr Forum.

Screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio wrote the screenplays for both the 2001 movie, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and the stage incarnation of "Bubble Boy." Paul, however, is solely credited for writing the music and lyrics for the stage production.

Paul and Daurio were inspired by the original 1976 drama that portrayed the life of an immunity deficient boy who cannot leave the sterile environment of his bedroom bubble dome or he will die. Despite the odds, the young man eventually finds love. "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" was based on a true story.

"Ken and I wanted to do a comedic version of that, sending the bubble boy on the road in a plastic bubble suit," Paul said. "The movie died a quick death in theaters, but it's found kind of a cult audience on cable and DVD."

The growing fan base of the movie inspired the revival of the musical version of the story, and Paul has some surprises in store for theatergoers.

Bubble boy Jimmy Livingston will now sing his way across the country in a special bubble suit designed to protect him from tenacious virulent germs bent on killing him before he can stop the girl he loves from marrying another, Paul said.

"The story works really well as a musical," Paul said. "The musical is much better than the movie, actually. And it is absolutely a comedy."

Shaun Fleming, 20, a graduate of Agoura High School, landed the leading role of Jimmy. Fleming was chosen for the part because of his singing talent. Paul had seen Fleming perform and asked him if he wanted the role.

The music, Fleming said, includes "fun, upbeat songs with a little comedy mixed in." While most of the songs are funny, Fleming said many of them are "sweet songs."

Allie Martone, a senior at Agoura High School, will portray Bubble Boy's mother, Mrs. Livingston.

"She's an overly protective mother who's made a lot of mistakes in the past and takes them out on her son," Martone said of her character. "She has a husband who she also abuses- she's crazy."

Martone characterizes herself as "more of an actor who sings."

"So rarely in your life do you get to do a show where the author is right there to answer questions," Martone said of working with Paul.

Agoura High junior Alex Paul will play Bubble Boy's love interest, Chloe, in the show. Jordan Stidham, a junior at Oak Park High School, will play, "Slim," the biker.

Paul, an Agoura Hills resident, co-wrote the "Santa Clause 2" screenplay with Daurio and other writers. "That was our first big success," Paul said.

Two movies written by Paul and Daurio are scheduled for release in March- "College Road Trip," starring Martin Lawrence and Raven, and "Horton Hears a Who," starring Jim Carrey and Steve Carell.

Paul, who was named "Cinco" because he was born on Cinco de Mayo (May 5), graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 1986, and from the USC School of CinemaTelevision graduate program in 1993.

He said he sold his first script after he earned his degree.

"But it was many years before I finally got a movie produced," Paul said. "And that movie was Bubble Boy."

Seating for "Bubble Boy: The Musical" is limited. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. For reservations and further information, call (818) 665-6366.

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