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Don’t be a fool and miss ‘Tomfoolery’ at Sutter Street Theatre

Six actors bring Tom Lehrer’s satirical song stylings to life
By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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The music and musings of satirical pianist Tom Lehrer are the focus of “Tomfoolery,” one of the new productions at Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom. The show features some of Lehrer’s best-known pieces, such as “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” and “Silent E” (as featured in the 1970s children’s TV show “The Electric Company”), as well as more obscure pieces like “Vatican Rag” and “I Wanna Go Back to Dixie.” Lehrer, who is still kicking at 83, skewered politics and the social scene in the 1950s and ‘60s, performing on television and stage. He is also a mathematician. His songs are often shocking, even when heard today, so I can only imagine their shock value in the 1950s. From nuclear annihilation and marriage to hunting and math, no topic is taboo in “Tomfoolery.” Two of my older kids, Parker, 12, and Cian, 13, are familiar with some of Lehrer’s tunes so it was appropriate to bring them to the show. However, this is not a children’s show, so you’ve been warned. Six local actors bring “Tomfoolery” to life — Jackie Clausen, Michael Coleman (who also directed), Blake Flores, Amanda Goldrick, Robin Southworth and Kevin Toole. They are accompanied by John Wilder on piano. There certainly are no bad apples in this bunch. From the lyrics to the vocal stylings, the show is well worth watching. For standouts, Cian and I picked Coleman and Goldrick, who has a bachelor’s degree in musical theater. Parker picked Flores (she was particularly fond of his rendition of “Masochism Tango”) and Goldrick as her favorites. Lehrer has been quoted as saying, “If, after hearing my songs, just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps to strike a loved one, it will all have been worth the while.” * * * “Tomfoolery” When: 7 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 4 p.m. Saturday, through April 1 Where: Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom Tickets: $15 children under 12, $18 students, $21 seniors & SARTA members, $23 general Info: (916) 353-1001, sutterstreettheatre.com Rating: 4 out of 5 stars