Pacifica Spindrift Players director Jenny Hernandez thinks “Meet Me in St. Louis” has endured because audiences like its theme of love conquering all.
Although the musical about a family preparing for the 1904 World’s Fair seems quaint by modern standards, the humorous way the Smiths deal with adversity and each other was charmingly unconventional when the iconic film starring Judy Garland debuted in 1944, says Hernandez, who is at the helm of the show’s local production, which runs through Sept. 7.
Originally based on a series of short stories in The New Yorker, the plot’s conflict arises from the family’s impending move from St. Louis to New York City, which threatens to separate the Smith girls from their love interests and force them to miss the World’s Fair.
While many of the movie’s outdoor scenes, such as Garland singing “The Trolley Song” on a moving streetcar, cannot be recreated on the Spindrift Players’ intimate stage, Hernandez still manages to place the characters at the big fair, albeit without a Ferris wheel or similar props.
Some of the show’s chorus numbers boast added town folk, to highlight the fact that, after the World’s Fair, St. Louis was a “pretty poppin’ place to be,” Hernandez says.
Is it significant that “Meet Me in St. Louis,” with its sweet, family-friendly themes, is being performed in Pacifica, a small town that prides itself on being a little out of step with the rest of the Bay Area? Hernandez doesn’t think so, but says the play’s sense of place will resonate with anybody who appreciates Pacifica’s beaches and lush open spaces.
“I grew up in a beach town, and I can see how this story would relate to families who feel connected to the beautiful area around them,” Hernandez says, “People can have a significant relationship with the place where they love to be, and the characters talk about how beautiful St. Louis is. They love being there; it’s home for them.”
IF YOU GO
Meet Me in St. Louis
Presented by Pacifica Spindrift Players
Where: 1050 Crespi Drive, Pacifica
When: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; closes Sept. 7
Tickets: $25 to $30
Contact: (650) 359-8002, www.pacificaspindriftplayers.org