Theater Review: Family fun on small budget

Kevin Artigue as Rock Star "Royce" and Steve Muterspaugh as Alex in "The Legend of Alex." Don Luce

No need to drive all the way downtown to enjoy a fun evening for the family. In Santa Monica, the Powerhouse Theater Company manages to offer excellent theater without much money but with plenty of imagination and ingenuity.

The current production, “The Legend of Alex,” is the perfect vehicle for introducing or reintroducing teenagers to the theater. No screen, just live actors. Happily, adults can enjoy the show as well. (Many pre-teens in the audience seemed to be having a good time, too.) The story, by children’s author Doug Cooney, follows the adventures of a 12-year-old boy who manages, through a lucky chance, to attach himself to his idol, the one-name rock star, Royce.

Through song and dance, the two leads prove that everyone can be someone. People on lo-carb diets must be warned that the ditty, “Ah, Phooey,” lists cookies and candies, and can do inestimable damage.

The important role of Royce was played with great style by Kevin Artigue, while Steve Muterspaugh was excellent as the adoring Alex. The other talented members of the cast were Emma Barton, Dustin Fasching, Jamey Hood and Peter Musante. They took multiple roles and did them all well.

Although the stage is small, choreographer Ameenah Kaplan managed to arrange some excellent dance numbers. The clever set, by Keith Mitchell, uses blackboard slates for walls and doors. A piece of chalk can create a telephone! Corey Madden directed and Ingrid Ferris was the costume designer.

“The Legend of Alex” plays Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 26 but it would be a good idea to call 1.866.633.6246 for times. Tickets are priced at $15 and that’s a lot of show for the dough.