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Saturday Night Fever brings the musical legacy of the Bee Gees to Laguna Playhouse


Some music is timeless, and although Saturday Night Fever takes place during the disco days of the 1970s, the Bee Gees’ songs seamlessly translate to any decade. Seventies disco was born on Valentine’s Day 1970 when The Loft opened in New York City and peaked from 1978-79. Sadly, that particular dance trend rapidly faded in 1980. 

However, for those of us who miss it, there’s hope. On Sunday evening (July 3) at the Laguna Playhouse, the cast of Saturday Night Fever brought it back in full regalia, complete with bellbottomed pants, big hairstyles and platform shoes. It was a time when men often wore big medallions on a chain around their necks, and women wore colorful, shiny tops with lots of jewelry. There was nothing subtle about the clothing or the dance style. 

saturday night manero

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Dorian Quinn as Tony Manero (center) with the company of “Saturday Night Fever” 

The production of Saturday Night Fever was packed with Bee Gees’ classics; “Stayin Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Night Fever,” “Tragedy,” “Jive Talkin’,” “More Than A Woman,” “Nights On Broadway,” “If I Can’t Have You” and “You Should Be Dancing.” 

Saturday Night Fever is based on the Paramount/RSO picture and the story by Nik Cohn. It was adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oaks. The musical arrangements and orchestrations were by David Abbinanti, musical direction by Ricky Pope and the production was directed and choreographed by Karen Babcock Brassea.

The additional behind the scenes creators were Scenic Design by Chris Strangfeld, Lighting Design by Clifford Spulock and Sound Design by Ian Scot. These various elements were skillfully melded together to create the look and feel of the ‘70s. The production supervisor was Gail Anderson.

saturday night tony and stephanie

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Natalie Kastner as Stephanie Mangano and Dorian Quinn (center) with the company of “Saturday Night Fever”

It takes a confident cast to create this 1970s atmosphere, which was as much about cultural restlessness as it was about the dancing and attire. 

Dorian Quinn possesses all the brooding desperation of Tony Manero, who has nothing going for him except his dancing at the local disco where he is “king of the dance floor.” Quinn has the voice, build and dancing talent to pull this off. His New York Strut is convincingly natural and his maneuvers on the dance floor are at times mind-boggling.

Manero rejects Annette, played by Daniella Castoria, who switches easily between spunky and somber. Her rendition of “If I Can’t Have You” highlights her vocal talent and her dancing ability was evident in every dance number.

Quinn’s sidekicks, Bruce Bayer as “Bobby C,” Benji Godley-Fisher as “Gus,” William Nelson as “Double-J” and Johann Santos as “Joey” were as good together as they performed “Dog-Eat-Dog,” as they were when featured individually.

saturday night sidekicks

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(Top row) Johann Santos and William Nelson; (Bottom row) Bryce Bayer and Benji Godley-Fisher 

Natalie Kastner as Stephanie Mangano not only had the talent to both sing and dance beautifully, she had the unique ability to take on the accent and demeanor of Stephanie in her quest for a better life. Her conflict between wanting something more and loving Tony was palpable.

Pauline’s character was understated and delicately portrayed by Erika Harper. 

Dwan Hayes as Candy was a chameleon on stage, slipping in and out of her character with style and a powerhouse of a voice. 

The Manero family – Patrick Murray as Frank Jr., Judy Mina-Ballard as Tony’s mother, Izzy Valdez Ayres-Kaplan as Linda and Jonathan Van Dyke as Tony’s father all gave solid performances.

Presley Nicholson as Connie and Ava Cusiter as Doreen perfectly portrayed roles as Tony groupies.

Ryan Mulvaney as Monty the DJ was right out of the ‘70s and there wasn’t a hitch in his performance.

saturday night dwan

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Dwan Hayes as Candy

The entire company delivered. There were many stand-out moments, too many to describe in a short space. The ensemble cast of Haley Ayers, Kristen Daniels, A.J. Love, Ellery Smith, Lucy Swinson, Kyle Urbaniack and Katie Van Horn were individually (and as a group) spectacular dancers and maintained their high-octane performances throughout.

Even if you weren’t privy to the music scene in the 1970s, this production will put a smile on your face. With its elements of rock, romance, melancholy and longing, the Bee Gees’ music touches on a wide variety of emotions. Whether or not you experienced disco first-hand, Saturday Night Fever makes you want to put on some bellbottoms and make you think you should be dancing.

Saturday Night Fever runs through Sunday, July 17.

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

For performance times, tickets and more information, go to or call 949.497.2787.


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