As fearless adventurer Phileas Fogg and his faithful manservant raced to beat the clock to fulfill an outrageous wager in the Canyon Theatre Guild’s production of Around the World in 80 Days, we had the pleasure of speaking with Wade and Cheri Bradford, Santa Clarita residents and the gracious and gifted directing team. Both from Seattle, WA, the Bradford’s met when Cheri was Wade’s boss at the local cinema. Cheri left for a year to adventure in Australia, and when she returned, Wade had grown from boy to man, and caught her eye the day he delivered a leftover hotdog to her office after hours.
Wade ‘followed Cheri down to L.A.’ where she attended the USC film school and he attended CSUN. Cheri was accepted in the Directors Guild Producer Training Program and worked as an assistant director in the film industry for 10 years. She has been a stay-at-home mom since they had their two daughters. Wade received his master’s in Literature from CSUN and went on to become a professor at Moorpark College and an accomplished playwright, with 35 plays under his belt, all of which have been produced. One of his plays has actually been produced in every continent in the world, used to teach English at international schools.
This talented and highly imaginative couple has directed quite a few shows together at the Canyon Theatre Guild. Wade says, “The good shows are better when Cheri co-directs with me. By myself, I get lost in the forest.” Cheri says, “We each other feedback and understand our areas of strength — Wade with the cool and creative stage business, me as scheduler, fine-tuner, etc. for the productions.” They both agree that the show, Around the World in 80 Days, was given to them as a gift. Based on a novel by Jules Verne, famous for his visions of the future, Cheri said it was perfect for them as its open for creative interpretation. “This is where Wade is a genius, turning simple stage pieces into steam ships, pagodas, elephants, and more, says Cheri.” Wade sees the story as progressive and positive for that time in history. “I like that Mr. Verne gives a positive glimpse of what’s yet to come. So to me, this show is kind of a love letter from Jules Verne to the future. The play also reflects the fact that Verne saw the planet as getting smaller, not just because of faster travel, but because people from different cultures started connecting with each other.”
Performances are Friday, 10/14, 8 p.m., Saturdays, 2 p.m. on, 10/15, 10/29, Saturdays, 8 p.m. on 10/8, 10/22, Sundays at 2 p.m. on 10/9 and Sunday, 6 p.m., 10/23 and 10/30.