The world premiere of a new musical, Cambria the Musical, almost hit the stage at the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre. Written by Ed Hughes and his wife, Linda, the show was set to open April 3 and run through April 19. Now its run is on hold due to the current coronavirus outbreak.

Rehearsals had to stop short and the building deep cleaned. A spokesperson for CCAT said, “We are taking the health and safety of our actors and crew, as well as our audiences, very seriously. We won’t open our doors until it is safe to do so.”

Ed Hughes is a retired educator, having taught music in the Los Angeles School District for many years. He was also the director for the LA Unified All-City High School Marching Band. He led more than 300 students in 12 Rose Bowl parades and two Super Bowls.

His musical, Cambria the Musical, has never been produced. “It’s exciting for the cast to be the first to create these characters, not base their performance on something done before,” said Hughes.

The production is light and funny, and filled with catchy tunes. Hughes and his wife are also part of the cast.
The script is based on a true story in Cambria’s history. Back in the mid 1800s, Cambria was settled by five men named George, The musical follows of one of them, George Lull. George opened the first General Store in Cambria in 1865. It was then that he met Mary Inman, an exhausted traveler who had just come to town in search of her wayward husband, a gambler named Dolphin, who had run off with their daughter. George and Mary become friends, then good friends by the time Dolphin blows into town after deserting the Army. Mary is reunited with her daughter, and George and Dolphin reach an agreement. In exchange for money and a horse, Dolphin leaves Mary behind.

Once George and Mary are free to be together, he builds her the “finest house in town,” which still stands as the central building of the Blue Bird Inn. Ken Cooper, the former owner of the Blue Bird, handed Hughes a wealth of historical information regarding the property. Hughes said, “I had enough material for 10 musicals. But I especially wanted to settle the little matter of the ghost.” Rumors have circulated for years that a friendly spirit roams the Lull home.

Hughes still has high hopes that the show will be produced. The board of directors for CCAT is considering several options to rearrange the schedule. Mari Fedrow, president of Allied Arts, the organization that heads up CCAT, said “The cast and crew have worked so hard, it would be a huge disappointment to just see it all disappear. This is the kind of show Cambria needs, especially now.”

Meanwhile, Hughes will continue with his work as director of the Cambria Chorale. “We have two concerts scheduled in May. I’m hoping those will still go on.”

Keep reading Estero Bay News for an update on when the show is cleared for performances.