Thursday, May 21, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS for Thursday May 21, 2015


MUSICAL NEWS: Get a sneak peek at new musicals in development at New Musicals Inc. on June 4. The concert presentation of got musicals will include material from the winners of the 2015 New Voices Project: Jacob Combs & Madeline Myers, Bill Nelson & Joseph Trefler, and Michael Finke (all under the age of 26) as well as projects in development for ASCAP/Dreamworks, McCoy Rigby Entertainment, and the 2014 Search for New Musicals. You’ll also get to see previews of shows coming to the Stages Musical Theatre Festival in August and highlights from NMI’s latest crop of Core writers. 7:30pm at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. Tickets: http://nmi.org/.

Mike McGowan and Anastasia Barzee.
Photo by T Charles Erickson

The cast has been announced for The Old Globe and Hartford Stage’s co-production of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate. This spectacular revival will be choreographed by Peggy Hickey and directed by Darko Tresnjak, who won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which made its world premiere at The Old Globe and Hartford Stage in 2013. Kiss Me, Kate will run July 1 - August 2, with opening night on Thursday, July 9 at 8:00 pm. Broadway stars Mike McGowan (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and Anastasia Barzee (Urinetown) will play former lovers and reluctant co-stars Fred/Petruchio and Lilli/Kate. The cast also features Brendan Averett (Second Man), Joel Blum (First Man), Giovanni Bonaventura (Hortensio), Robert Hannon Davis (Ralph), Charity Angel Dawson (Hattie), Tyler Hanes (Bill/Lucentio), James T. Lane (Paul), Barrett Martin (Gremio), Wayne W. Pretlow (Pops/Priest), Megan Sikora (Lois/Bianca), Michael Starr (Phillip), Jeff Steitzer (Harry Trevor/Baptista Minola), Johnny Stellard (Nathaniel), and Nick Wyman (General Harrison Howell). Dancers include Robin Masella, Shina Ann Morris, Jane Papageorge. Cast subject to change. www.theoldglobe.org

The Grove Theatre in Upland announces its production of Cinderella which will run June 12 - 28. This modern take on the classic show features romantically-challenged Prince Freddy, who just received his Doctor of Philosophy. Having just returned to his home kingdom, he is being pressured by his all-business father, King Frederick, to quickly choose a bride at the upcoming royal ball. Domineering Brunhilda and greedy daughters, Clarissa and Priscilla, are excited to go to the ball but smart and modern stepdaughter Cinderella would rather stay home and read with her animal friends Aristotle the Crow, Plato the Toad, and Socrates the Spider. Magical Gwendolyn the Well-Wisher appears and urges Cinderella to go to the ball. Stubborn Cinderella finally agrees to go... provided she doesnt have to wear any stupid glass slippers. At the ball, Cinderella and Prince Freddy dance and fall in love, but the ball erupts into chaos at midnight. Every girl loses a glass slipper; except Cinderella, who loses her red sneaker. Come see the show and find out how it ends. www.grovetheatre.com

CONCERTS/CABARET: The Festival of New American Musicals presents its next Musi-Cal on June 8, where you can meet SoCal songwriters and hear songs from their new musicals. Hosted by Jonah Platt, the show will feature new material by Erik Przytulski & Steve Troop, Richard Berent & Rob Meurer, Gary Stockdale & Spencer Green, Brett Ryback, David Cornue & Sam Holtzapple. “Musi-Cal is part of the Festival’s ongoing priority to create community among Southern California’s composers, lyricists and book writers,” said co-executive producer of the Festival Linda Shusett. “These Musi-Cal evenings offer an opportunity for the writers to get to know one another and for the audience to get a first peak at new musical works in progress.” Tickets: http://rockwell-la.com/.

Kritzerland presents the Songs of Leonard Bernstein and Elmer Bernstein Monday, June 8 at 8:00 pm starring Kimberly Hessler, Travis Leland, Sami Staitman, Tory Stolper, Robert Yacko, and special guest, Kerry O’Malley. Music director is Alby Potts. Click Here for reservations or call (800) 838-3006 x 1.


DANCE/FILM: Villainess Productions’ The Girl in the Green Dress has its world premiere on May 30th at 7:15 pm at the TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood. A surreal drama set in the conservative world of America’s 1950’s housewives, it explores themes of modern feminism and sexual liberation. Contemporary dance is intertwined with narrative, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy in the vein of The Stepford Wives and Mullholland Drive. Check out their trailer above and then go enjoy it at the Dances With Films Festival. Click Here for tickets. 

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review: It's Love Sitcom-syle in LOVE AGAIN at The Group Rep

Renee Gorsey, Amy Gillette, Paul Cady, Lloyd Pedersen, and
Janet Wood. Photos by Doug Engalls

Three short musicals about the complications of love make up the world premiere of
Love Again playing at The Group Rep in North Hollywood. Though light on substance – each piece is only 30 minutes in length – this one-act musical still takes the audience on a pleasant journey through three scenarios where love may or may not conquer all.

In the first, In a Different Light, kismet brings two college sweethearts together after twenty years while traveling in Paris with their spouses. He’s (Paul Cady) there on business with his wife (Amy Gillette) and boss (Renee Gorsey); she’s (Janet Wood) vacationing with her husband (Lloyd Pedersen) on their second honeymoon. Neither has forgotten the other and as they reconnect over drinks, with all their assorted baggage in tow, they must decide whether to act on their feelings.

In the second, Two Lives, a car accident leaves longtime pals Loretta (Debi Tinsley) and Fanny (Michele Bernath) in the hospital on life support while family members place their lives on hold to be with them. Though brain dead, in fantasy sequences we’re privy to their very active – and often humorous – inner life as Fanny attempts to play matchmaker for her son (Andrew Curtis Stark) and the nurse who cares for her (Kathleen Chen), and Loretta comes to terms with whether her husband (Lloyd Pedersen) will take her off the machines before she’s ready.

The third, Forget-Me-Not, concerns a financially-strapped couple (Cady and Wood) who considers moving his parents (Bernath and Pedersen) – both of whom suffer from memory loss – into their son’s (Elijah Tomlinson) room without reminding them they’re divorced.

Lloyd Pedersen, Andrew Curtis Stark, and Elijah Thomlinson

Collectively, bookwriter Doug Haverty’s stories have the feel of an early 1970’s or ‘80’s sitcom like The Love Boat and Love American Style. But while the setups are fun, there is little time to develop the conflicts so the pieces end up feeling predictable and somewhat thin, especially with their intentionally unresolved endings. It’s definitely light romantic comedy, heavy on the light.

Composer Adryan Russ has a way with a sentimental ballad and her music never fails to pull on the heart strings. Rich choral harmonies show off the cast en masse. Amy Gillette and Kathleen Chen soar in the category of ‘leading ladies with lovely soprano voices’ and baritone Paul Cady is grounded as the ‘earnest leading man.’ Also moving is the male trio of Pedersen, Stark, and Tomlinson, who sing of the war days in one of the few serious moments in the show. Musical director Richard Berent’s instrumental arrangements are crisp and easily heard but I wondered if the actors were having trouble with the tracks as several individuals had difficulty staying in time and in tune during their solos. Director Kay Cole’s serviceable staging keeps the overall movement of the show fluid, adding some light dance staging to enhance character personalities.

Distracting, however, was the teal, pink, and purple set design in which everything – walls, floors, tables, benches, chairs – was painted to resemble an impressionistic painting. Others may find the effect unobtrusive. For me, it was overwhelming.

The cast of Love Again

LOVE AGAIN
May 15 - June 28, 2015
The Group Rep
10900 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sundays at 2:00 pm
Talk-back Sundays after the show May 24 and June 7
Tickets: (818) 763-5990 or www.thegrouprep.com

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS for Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS: Kelrik Productions presents Violet, directed by Joshua Finkel, May 15 – 31 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. Starring Kristin Towers Rowles as Violet, Jahmaul Abiodun Bakare as Flick, Michael Spaziani as Monty, and Jaidyn Young as Young Vi, along with Jason Chacon, Richard Lewis Warren, Gail Matthius, Erika Bowman, Benai Alicia Boyd, Jeremy Saje, and Justin Anthony Long. The creative team also includes Joe Lawrence (musical director), Samantha Marie (choreographer, Kathleen Yost Forster (costume & lighting designer), Erik Austin (set designer). On a cross-country bus trip in search of a minister to heal her scarred face, one woman discovers the true meaning of beauty, courage and love. Due to the show’s adult subject matter, audience members under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tickets: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/943912

The Pasadena Playhouse announces the return engagement of A Night With Janis Joplin starring Mary Bridget Davies, July 21 – August 16, following her Tony Award® nominated Broadway run. Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The unmistakable voice filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. A Night With Janis Joplin is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences – trailblazers like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest legends. Written and directed by Randy Johnson, the show is produced by Michael Cohl, Todd Gershwin and Daniel Chilewich, in association with The Estate of Janis Joplin and Jeffrey Jampol for JAM, Inc. Tickets are now on sale at www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

DOMA Theatre Company will rock the MET Theatre when they open Green Day’s American Idiot on June 5. Director Marco Gomez, musical director Chris Raymond and choreographer Angela Todaro bring this story of three lifelong friends who are forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia in the smash Broadway hit. Tony Award-nominated for best musical and a Grammy Award winner for best musical show album, American Idiot features the music of Green Day with lyrics by lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong and a book by Armstrong and Michael Mayer. The 25-member ensemble stars Jess Ford stars as Johnny, with Chris Kerrigan (Tunny), Wesley Moran (Will), Andrew Diego (St. Jimmy), Jackee Bianchi (Heather), Renee Cohen (Whatsername), Cassandra Nuss (Extraordinary Girl), Alex Allen, Sandra Diana Cantu, Tony Cellucci, Kevin Corsini, EverJohn Feliciano, Blair Grotbeck, Lillian Mansala, Angeline Mirenda, Johnny Ortiz, Nohely Quiroz, Michael Restaino, Brittany Rodin, Dekontee Tucrkile, Lauren Tyni, Ty West and Anthony D. Willis. www.domatheatre.com

CASTING CALL: The Confidential Musical Theatre Project is coming to L.A. Billed as a one-night performance of a musical that the audience doesn’t know the identity of until the show starts, the unusual performance  also includes cast members who rehearse on their own and meet the rest of the cast right before going on stage. The concept of this show began in Toronto and has been very successful in both Toronto and Vancouver. Casting is done by submissions only - there are no auditions. Actors who would like to submit may do so at http://ow.ly/LO9XR.

BOOKS: Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life by William V. Madison (University Press of Mississippi) was released on May 1, 2015. This is the first biography of the great comedic actress best known for her Oscar-nominated roles in Paper Moon and Blazing Saddles. She was one of the most popular comedians of her time—and one of the least understood. The book draws on new interviews with family, friends, and colleagues like Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, Gene Wilder, Harold Prince, and Eileen Brennan, as well as archival press and private writings. It examines Kahn’s film career and focuses on her Oscar-nominated triumphs with Mel Brooks and Peter Bogdanovich, including her first audition for Blazing Saddles, which almost ended before it began. There are also new revelations about her disastrous run in On the Twentieth Century on Broadway that culminated in her firing by the legendary Hal Prince shortly after it opened. www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1746

Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me... by legendary agent to the stars, Stevie Phillips, is set for release in June. No star burned more ferociously than Judy Garland. And nobody witnessed Garland’s fierce talent at closer range than Stevie Phillips. Philips worked for Freddie Fields and David Begelman at MCA under the glare of legendary über-agent Lew Wasserman. When MCA blew apart, Fields and Begelman created Creative Management Associates, and Stevie went along. Fields convinced Garland to come on board, and Stevie became, as she puts it, “Garland’s shadow,” putting out fires-figurative and literal-in order to get her to the next concert in the next down-and-out town. Philips paints a portrait of Garland at the bitter end and although it was at times a nightmare, Philips says, “She became my teacher,” showing her “how to” and “how not to” live. Stevie also represented Liza Minnelli, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, George Roy Hill, Bob Fosse, Cat Stevens, and David Bowie. She produced both films and Broadway shows and counted her colleague, the legendary agent Sue Mengers, among her closest confidantes. Now Phillips reveals all in this tough-talking memoir. http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250065773

FILM: Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 27 for a Gene Autry double feature at the Autry National Center from noon – 2:30 pm. Oh, Susanna! (1936) and Rootin’ Tootin’ Rhythm (1937) both have plots that deal with mistaken identity and that’s the theme of this fun afternoon. In Oh, Susanna! an escaped convict knocks out radio star Gene Autry and swaps clothes with him, making the authorities believe that Gene is the criminal. Then in Rootin Tootin Rhythm, Gene and his pal Frog Millhouse are after cattle rustlers and become mixed up in a comedy of errors when they don the clothes of two dead outlaws, only to learn that the outlaws are really dead sheriffs, dressed in outlaws’ clothes. Admission is included with Museum Admission and is free for Autry Members. Click Here for more information.

Cinespia’s outdoor movie series will present The Wizard of Oz (1939, 102 minutes) on Saturday, June 20 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Starring the effervescent Judy Garland in her greatest role, this is a night of classic Hollywood movie musical magic under the stars. You can also join Cinespia for a rare screening of the original 1940s masterpiece, Fantasia, followed by a screening of its millennial cousin, Fantasia 2000, on June 7 at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The event is a benefit for the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation and includes a private cocktail party in the decadently decorated lobby and forecourt where so many stars have left their handprints. With a Disney themed Cinespia Photobooth, DJs spinning before the screening and full bars with valid ID. This double feature is open to all ages. For tickets and a complete schedule of events, go to http://cinespia.org/.


WEB SERIES: Season one of webTV show Ruby and Martin, featuring Taylor Coffman and Clayton Farris, is now available online. In this offbeat comedy, Ruby, a rolling stone, and Martin, a buttoned up TV writer, awkwardly navigate the trials and tribulations of love. Influenced by a co-dependent twin-brother and an under-sexed overprotective best friend, Ruby and Martin try to make a connection…and end up falling in love, awkwardly. It isn’t a musical per se but it made me laugh and I think you’ll enjoy it. Episodes are available Here.

CABARET/CONCERTS: Rubicon Theatre’s Broadway Musical Concert Series continues with three concerts celebrating the genius of two of the most prolific and most important writing teams in musical theatre history in a show entitled Rodgers & Hart & Hammerstein. Directed by Larry Raben, the concert features Joan Almedilla, Teri Bibb, Susanne Blakeslee, David Engel, Jason Graae, and Andrew Samonsky. Musical direction is by Steven Freeman. Performances will take place May 16 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm and Sunday, May 17 at 2:00 pm and will feature some of the greatest songs produced by these extraordinary collaborators, including “Where or When,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “My Romance,” “Ten Cents a Dance,” “I Have Dreamed,” “My Funny Valentine,” “So Long, Farewell,” “If I Loved You” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.” www.rubicontheatre.org

A Little New Music returns to Rockwell: Table & Stage in Los Feliz June 3 at 8pm. Daisy Eagan and Jordan Kai Burnett co-host and Bryan Blaskie returns as musical director. The evening will showcase songs by Michael Heitzman and Ilene Reid, Sam Carner and Derek Gregor, Bill Nelson and Will Aronson, Brian Woodbury, and more top writers to be announced, with performances by Sharon McKnight, Ryan O’Connor, Kelley Dorney, Amanda Kruger, Matthew Sims, and Kate Ponzio. Tickets: www.rockwell-la.com. www.alittlenewmusic.org

Angel City Chorale, led by Artistic Director Sue Fink, will present EPIC: Blockbuster Music from Video Games & Film, on Saturday, June 6, and Sunday, June 7, 2015. ACC’s 150+ member choir and its instrumental ensemble will perform a diverse selection of music from the exciting worlds of video games and film in the choir’s eclectic blend of styles, including classical, pop, world, folk, jazz, gospel, and R&B. The concerts will also feature a 26-piece live ensemble performing with the choir. Performances are family-friendly and will take place at the historic Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010. The evening includes a 15-minute intermission and the audience will also be invited to join the performers for a reception with light refreshments after each performance. For tickets and a look at the program, visit www.angelcitychorale.org

Arcadia Performing Arts Foundation has announced that Brian Hyland will be joining Dick Fox’s Doo Wop Extravaganza on Sunday, June 6 at 7pm. Hyland is known for a slew of iconic hit songs including “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and “Sealed With a Kiss” and replaces the previously announced David Sommerville, who is unable to appear, due to a scheduling conflict. Dick Fox’s Doo Wop Extravaganza is a celebration of Doo-wop, the iconic sound that caused a sensation in the 1950s and early 1960s. www.Arcadiapaf.org

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Fringe Spotlight Part 1 - Check Out These Shows Coming in June

The 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival opens next month and tickets are available now for all productions. This year’s Fringe will run June 11 – 28, and feature over 1300 performances at more than 55 venues. From the opening night party at Fringe Central (Fringe Cabaret Stage) 6510 Santa Monica Blvd to the Fringe Award Ceremony and Closing Night Party on June 28, get ready for anything. Here’s a look at some of the musical productions on this year’s schedule. For information about all of the shows available, go to www.hollywoodfringe.org.

MARRY ME A LITTLE: Good People Theater Company makes its third appearance at the Hollywood Fringe Festival with Marry Me a Little, a two-hander music revue featuring Stephen Sondheim trunk songs from some of his greatest musicals including Anyone Can Whistle, Follies, Company, Forum and A Little Night Music. Craig Lucas and Norman Rene thread the Sondheim songs through a story about two singles (Jessie Withers and David Laffey) passing a Saturday night musing about love, never knowing they live just one floor apart. Producer/Director Janet Miller says the show is “about loving Stephen Sondheim.” She adds, “it is a true Fringe show due to a One Act structure (about 70 minutes), and for patrons who know their Sondheim it’s an ‘oh, I love that song. And that song. And that song’ kind of show. Plus, for Fringers who know Sondheim mainly from his mega hits - like Sweeney Todd - it’s a fantastic chance to hear his lesser known, but no less brilliant, rep.” Featuring musical direction by Corey Hirsch. (June 4 – 28, 2015) www.hff15.org/2234

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO: THE MUSICAL: Matt Dahan (music) and Kelly D’Angelo’s (book & lyrics) world premiere musical is based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas and is the story of Edmond Dantès and his dark transformation into the antihero known as the Count of Monte Cristo. A tale of love, loss, and extreme agony coupled by an undeniable thirst for retribution, this musical expands on the many motifs raised in the novel while offering a fresh perspective on the nearly thousand-paged piece of literature. The cast will star David Meinke as The Count of Monte Cristo, with Laurine Price (Mercedes), David Zach (Danglars), Anthony Gruppuso (Villefort), Parnell Marcano (Caderousse), Bryan Vickery (Albert), Mary Nepi (Valentine), Henry Kaiser (Abbe Faria), Teresa Tracy (Heloise), Anderson Piller (Edward), Stephen Novick (Andrea Cavalcanti/Young Dantes), Jillian Easton (Lucille Debray), Todd Andrew Ball (Noirtier/Morrel), TR Krupa (Franz D’Epinay), Richelle Meiss (Luiga/Young Mercedes), and Amanda Walter (The Dancer). (June 5 – 27, 2015) http://hff15.org/2075

STANDUPERA: This multi-media multi-genre, one woman show is written by, and stars, Erin Carere, directed by Nell Teare. The world premiere incorporates stand-up, story, cabaret, and opera, and is Rated R for Swearing, Sex, and Opera. Carere says, “I am a singer. And when people ask, ‘What kind of music do you sing?’ my answer causes a lot of confusion. This is because, in reality, I am a classical-pop-crossover-Broadway-jazz-singer-songwriter. Sometimes I try to explain it like, I’m like if Andrea Bocelli and Bette Midler had a baby who hung out with Leonard Cohen. That’s what I do. Sort of.” Standupera is the story of a woman who sings, who makes mistakes, and lets you laugh at them… er… with her…and, yes, it’s a comedy. (June 5 – 27, 2015) http://hff15.org/2212

MY SISTER: My Sister features identical twin sisters, Emily and Elizabeth Hinkler, in a play with music written for them by Janet Schlapkohl, who worked with the Hinklers while at the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop. Set in 1934 Berlin, it is the endearing story of identical twin sisters Magda, a cabaret performer, and Matilde, her writer, who lives with cerebral palsy. While Magda performs at the cabaret, Matilde is homebound, experiencing the thrilling cabaret only through her mind’s eye. The play speaks to contemporary issues of human rights, disability awareness, and freedom of expression, and incorporates music, song, dance, and cabaret. (June 4 – 27, 2015) http://hff15.org/2195

THE HALFWITS’ LAST HURRAH: Four Clowns returns to the Fringe with an original piece penned by company clowns Jamie Franta and Don Colliver. The play features a fame-hungry showman and his mischievous troupe of halfwits as they struggle to keep their variety show from derailing when they are faced with a vindictive ghost from the past. Part Vaudeville tribute, part show biz farce, the audience will enjoy an evening of comedy, music, and mayhem. The cast of twelve includes five new company members who will be enjoying their first adventure with the clowns and stars Tyler Bremer, Jennifer Carroll, Charlotte Chanler, Don Colliver, Julia Davis, Jamie Franta, Elizabeth Godley, Dave Honigman, Benji Kaufman, Jolene Kim, Jamarr Love, and Helene Udy. David Anis will direct and Jeremy Aluma will lead the company as executive producer. Aluma is excited to bring this new team together, saying, “For the past three seasons I have been pushing for a huge cast show, just like this one; The Halfwits’ Last Hurrah implements two of our company members’ greatest strengths, our ability to create fine-tuned self-contained bits, and our pursuit to have a theatrical play that is funny, stunning, and moving. Our company finally has the staff, membership and artistry to make this happen.” (June 4 – June 26, 2015) http://hff15.org/2166

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS for Sunday, May 10, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS: The remount of Deaf West Theatre’s innovative production of Spring Awakening is set to open at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on May 21 and will continue through May 28. The sold-out engagement originally played L.A.’s Rosenthal Theatre in the Fall of 2014. [read my review here] It is performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English by a cast of 27. The cast features performers signing ASL and speaking roles including Joey Antonio, Hillary Baack, Miles Barbee, Sean Barna, Katie Boeck, Joshua Castille, Julian Comeau, Daniel N. Durant, Treshelle Edmond, Sandra Mae Frank, Kathryn Gallagher, Gabrielle Garza, Sean Grandillo, Karla Gutierrez, Amelia Hensley, Lauren M. Luiz, Daniel Marmion, Austin McKenzie, Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez, Howie Seago, Daniel David Stewart, Ali Stroker, Alexandra Winter and Alex Wyse. I highly recommend you don’t miss this show! www.thewallis.org

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment present Mary Poppins May 29 – June 21. The show features original music & lyrics By Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, book by Julian Fellowes, new songs and additional music by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and musical direction by Dennis Castellano. Original choreography created by Dan Mojica will be re-created by Dana Solimando and Kim Arnett and the production is directed by Glenn Casale. The cast includes Brandi Burkhardt as Mary Poppins and Leigh Brian Wakeford as Bert, with Martin Kildare (Mr. Banks), Shannon Warne (Mrs. Banks), Time Winters (Admiral Boom/Bank Chairman), Mary Gutzi (Miss Andrews/Mrs. Smythe/Queen Victoria), and Helen Geller (The Bird Woman) along with Nick Adorno, Kim Arnett, Kat Borrelli, Brandon Burks, Kevin Patrick Doherty, Michael Dotson, Jake DuPree, Rachel Pfeifer Green, Devon Hadsell, Natalie McDonald, Dino Nicandros, Joël René, Brian Steven Shaw, Noa Soloria, Momoko Sugai, Christine Tucker, Logan J. Watts and John B. Williford. www.lamiradatheatre.com

Tony Award-winner and Broadway superstar Idina Menzel (Wicked, Rent, Frozen, Glee) will launch the National Tour of If/Then, reprising her critically-acclaimed, Tony-nominated performance in seven select cities, including the Hollywood Pantages, Dec. 8 – Jan. 3). The original Broadway musical reunites composer Tom Kitt, book writer/lyricist Brian Yorkey, and director Michael Greif, the creative team behind the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical, Next to Normal. The show follows two distinct storylines in the life of Elizabeth, a city planner who moves back to New York to restart her life in this city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories simultaneously as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance. www.hollywoodpantages.com

Ebony Repertory Theatre will present The Gospel at Colonus starring Tony Award-winner Roger Robinson (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone) as Oedpius, June 18 – July 19 (press opening June 20) at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. Conceived and adapted by Lee Breuer, with music by Bob Telson, it takes place during a Pentecostal church service set against the tragic Greek story of Oedipus, in which the exiled king seeks a place where he may be properly buried. The production, directed by Andi Chapman, will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles premiere. http://ebonyrep.org/

Fancy Nancy, the musical opens at Chance Theater on May 29, running through June 7. Based on the book Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor, it features book & lyrics by Susan DiLallo, music & lyrics by Danny Abosch, and is directed by Kelly Todd. Fancy Nancy and her friends Bree, Rhonda, Wanda, and Lionel are going to be performing in their very first show, Deep Sea Dances. Nancy is positive - that’s fancy for 100 percent sure - that she and Bree will be picked to be mermaids. When another girl wins the coveted role of the mermaid, Nancy is stuck playing a dreary, dull tree. Can Nancy bring fancy flair to her role, even though it isn’t the one she wanted? The 50-minute show stars Jillian Batt, Felicia Fairly, Erika C. Miller, Megan Walker, Shaina Knox, Wesley Barnes. www.chancetheater.com

EXTENSIONS: The Los Angeles premiere of Words By Ira Gershwin, a musical play by Joseph Vass, directed by David Ellenstein, has been extended through Sunday, May 24 at the Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third Street in Burbank. www.colonytheatre.org

A Noise Within has also extended The Threepenny Opera through Sunday, May 24. There will also be a Pay What You Can performances of the show on Friday May 22 at 8pm. Pay What You Can tickets go on sale at the box office window the day of the performance, starting at 2pm, and are sold on a cash-only basis based on availability; limit of two tickets per person. For regular tickets, call 626-356-3100, or go to www.ANoiseWithin.org.

SEASON ANNOUNCEMENTS: 2015 – 2016 Laguna Playhouse

July 8 - August 9, 2015 (Press Opening July 11)
Footloose, by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, music by Tom Snow, lyrics By Dean Pitchford, additional Music by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar. Kenny Loggins & Jim Steinman

Oct. 7 – Nov. 11, 2015 (Press Opening October 10)
Artistic Director’s Choice

Jan. 6 –31, 2016 (Press Opening January 9)
Act 3 starring Rita Rudner, written by David Ambrose and Claudia Nellens. directed by Martin Bergmann

Feb. 24 – March 27, 2016 (Press Opening Feb. 27 
Louis & Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford, written by Vanessa Stewart, Taylor Hackford & Jake Broder, starring Tony Award-Winner Anthony Crivello and Vanessa Stewart.

April 27 – May 22, 2016 (Press Opening March 8)
Sex and Education written by Lissa Levin, directed by Andrew Barnicle

June 1 - 26, 2016 (Press Opening June 4)
Buyer & Cellar written by Jonathan Tolins, directed by Larry Raben

Optional productions: August 12 – 30, 2015
The Official Blues Brothers Revue presented by Dan Aykroyd, Judy Belushi and musical director Paul Shaffer

Dec. 2 – 27, 2015
A Snow White Christmas from Lythgoe Family Productions

And more. For a complete schedule go to www.lagunaplayhouse.com

*   *   *    *    *    *    *    *    *

2015 – 2016 La Mirada Theatre www.lamiradatheatre.com

Sept. 18 – Oct. 11, 2015 (Press Opening Sept. 19)
First Date by Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, directed by Nick DeGruccio, with choreography by Lee Martino.

Oct. 23 – Nov. 15, 2015 (Press Opening Oct. 24)
Rent, book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, directed by Brian Kite, with choreography by Dana Solimando.

Jan. 22 – Feb. 14, 2016 (Press Opening Jan. 23)
Empire The Musical, book, music & lyrics by Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull, directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge. Pre-Broadway engagement.

March 25 – April 17, 2016 (Press Opening March 26)
Dreamgirls, book and lyrics by Tom Eyen, music by Henry Krieger, directed and choreographed by Bobby Longbottom

June 3 – 26, 2016 (Press Opening June 4)
The Little Mermaid, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, book by Doug Wright, directed by Glenn Casale, with choreography by John McGinnis.

April 29 – May 15, 2016
American Idiot, music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, directed by Brian Kite, with choreography by Dana Solimando.

May 21, 2016, 2pm and 8pm
Leann Rimes in concert

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2015 – 2016 Lewis Family Playhouse http://lewisfamilyplayhouse.com/

Oct. 10 – 25, 2015
Elephant and Piggie’s We Are in a Play, based on the Elephant & Piggie Books by Mo Willems, script & lyrics by Mo Willems, music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, directed by Art Manke with musical direction by Deborah Wicks La Puma.

Jan. 30 – Feb. 14, 2016   
Fairytales, Unscripted, completely improvised plays in the style of Classic Fairy Tales by the amazing artists of Impro Theatre, directed by Dan O’Conner and Jo McGinley.

April 23 – May 8, 2016
Mirette, based on the Caldecott winning book by Emily Arnold McCully, book by Elizabeth Diggs, music by Harvey Schmidt, and lyrics by Tom Jones

PODCAST: Clifford Bell recently sat down with special guest Kate Pazakis during his show Cabarabia. Hear them talk about upcoming events happening at Rockwell Table & Stage: Romeo & Juliet: Love is a Battlefield and Cruel Intentions: The Unauthorized Parody Musical, and more. Click Here to listen to the show. For more about the shows at Rockwell, go to http://rockwell-la.inticketing.com/.

DANCE: Highways Performance Space presents GUSH, five new contemporary dance works by independent choreographers Jennifer Kayle and Charlotte Adams May 29 - 30. Kayle probes the realm of mortal passion, and the new era of human impact on the earth. Adams uncovers the body’s anatomy and its undoing, and the ludicrous toiling for success. The five works will immerse viewers in the distinctly visceral performance of eleven dancers and two musicians which include original music by composer Jason Palamara, and original video by Alex Bush and Tori Lawrence. The two-hour event starts at 8:30 pm at Highways Performance Space, 18th Street Arts Center, 1651 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404. www.highwaysperformance.org.

MULTI-MEDIA: REDCAT presents the world premiere of The Institute of Memory (TIMe) a multimedia performance by director and media artist Lars Jan and his company Early Morning Opera May 28 – 31. Produced by the CalArts Center for New Performance, TIMe is a multi-dimensional performance about how the future of remembering is changing right now. TIMe features two performers (Ryan Masson and Annie Saunders), advanced projected imagery, original musical compositions by world-renowned vocalist and composer Mariana Sadowska, a minimalist LED-lined set structure, and a collage of found and original text tracing the evolution of national and personal remembering and privacy through the story of director Lars Jan’s father. Jan’s father, known in later life as Henryk S. Ryniewicz, was a Polish resistance fighter in WWII, a McCarthy-era anti-communist speaker, a Cold War intelligence operative, and privacy-obsessed misanthrope. He is on record in various historical archives, including with the ‘Institute of National Memory’ in Warsaw, the archives of Harvard University, and the National Archives of both the US and the UK. Click Here for tickets and more information.

CABARET/CONCERTS: Party Worth Crashing, featuring the music of songwriting duo Kerrigan-Lowdermilk will be presented one night only, May 17, at 8pm, at the Attic Theatre. Cast includes Michael Barnum, Lauren Byrd, Jessica Louise Garcia, Nasi Nassiri, Nicholas Pilapil, and Alexander Pimentel, with musical direction by Gabby Maldonado. Tickets are $20 and available online Here or at the door. Following the performance, there will be an intimate acoustic concert called The After Party featuring original music by the cast. Tickets for The After Party are an additional $5.

The next evening of MISCAST: Right Singer Wrong Song will take place on Sunday, March 17. featuring a cast of 11 singers performing inappropriate songs from Sweet Charity, Sound of Music, Grease and more. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Proceeds benefit Project Angel Food. Click Here for tickets.


Valley Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce its final event of the 2014/15 season will be a FREE concert with the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West Concert Band with a special guest performance by Hailey Reinhart on May 14 at 7:30pm. Tickets can be obtained at the box office or by calling (818) 677-3000.

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) presents LACO @ The Movies Celebrates Walt Disney Animation Studios, an extraordinary evening of musical world premieres and eye-popping animation spanning more than 80 years with orchestral scores performed live by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, led by six-time Emmy® Award-winning composer Mark Watters. The event takes place on Saturday, June 13 at 7 pm at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown LA.


The magical event, for adults and children six and older, includes re-premieres of newly restored versions of two long lost 1920’s-era “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” shorts, Poor Papa (1927) and Africa Before Dark (1928), shown for first time in more than 50 years along with world premieres of music by Watters for both films, neither of which previously had musical scores. Also featured is a screening of a newly restored print of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia (1940) including the world premiere of a compelling new adaptation of the score by Watters.

Other highlights include: the 2014 Academy® Award-nominated Get A Horse! (2013), a contemporary homage to early Mickey Mouse cartoons, shown with live music for the first time ever; the 80th anniversary of theSilly Symphony” short Music Land (1935) highlighted by the first live musical performance to the film in its 80-year history featuring the brilliant and virtuosic score that pits the Land of Symphony against the Isle of Jazz for a unique Disney “take” on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; the iconic Plane Crazy (1929), the first Mickey Mouse cartoon created by Walt Disney and inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s first solo-flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927; the 80th anniversary of The Band Concert (1935), the first color Mickey Mouse cartoon to use the Technicolor process; and the delightful “Have a Laugh” versions of Lonesome Ghosts (1937), in which Mickey, Donald and Goofy run a ghost exterminating agency, and Mickey’s Trailer (1938), a “road picture” with Mickey, Donald and Goofy involving a car separated from its trailer traveling down a mountain incline. www.laco.org [Pictured: Mickey Mouse in The Band Concert (1935) Photo courtesy of ©Disney Enterprises]

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Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
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