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'Easter Parade' in concert at Firehouse today

Irving Berlin's musical to be celebrated cabaret-style

The classic, "Easter Parade" will be celebrated Saturday with two performances -- at 2 and 7 p.m. -- at the Firehouse Arts Center in downtown Pleasanton.

The movie, made in 1948 and starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, will be revisited in a cabaret-style tribute with the Irving Berlin songs and scenes from the film.

The revues will include the favorite songs, including "Steppin' Out With My Baby," "Shakin' the Blues Away," "A Couple of Swells," "It Only Happens When I Dance With You," and of course the classic "Easter Parade."

The show features Tielle Baker from World of Webber, along with Bay Area Theater stars Robert Dornaus, Shelby Deans-Flegel and Tom Flegel; special guest dancers Brandon Freeman and Rachel Furst; and music director Joe Simiele at the piano.

"Easter Parade" was the most financially successful picture of their careers for Garland and Astaire. It follows the story of a seasoned nightclub performer who hires a naive chorus girl to become his new dance partner in order to make his former partner jealous.

Astaire was coaxed back from retirement to play the starring role of Don Hewes, when Gene Kelly, who was originally cast as Don, broke his ankle playing volleyball. Astaire would retire and "un-retire" several more times over the following decade, making a number of wonderful musicals.

This show is part of the Firehouse Arts Center's Cabaret Series, produced and presented by Esses Productions. The series concerts always sell out, so advance ticket purchase is recommended.

Reserved seating tickets are $15-$25, and can be purchased at www.firehousearts.org, by calling 931-4848 or in person at the Firehouse Arts Center Box Office, 4444 Railroad Ave.

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