Monday, April 20, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS Part Two for Monday, April 20, 2015


MUSICAL NEWS: After a sold-out initial run in Thousand Oaks, Panic! Productions is bringing its hit production of the musical 13 to the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood for two performances, May 8 and 9. The high-energy show, with a cast of 19 teens, features music and lyrics by Tony Award-winner Jason Robert Brown, and book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn. 13 is directed by Barry Pearl, with choreography by Keenon Hooks and musical direction by Diann Alexander. The cast includes Sam Herbert, Carly Shukiar, Samuel Thacker, Antonia Vivino, Delaney Joy, Elaine Panico, Gabriel Nunag, Mackinnley Balleweg, Mateo Gonzales, Liam Krainman. Mason Purece, Madeline Gambon, Batya Conn, Zoë Reed, Tate Downing, Ally Kaplan, Jade McGlynn, Allison Martinez, and Joey Maya. Tickets: (818) 508-4200 or www.elportaltheatre.com.

Pazos Media is launching its first edition of AvLA // Avant-Los Angeles at Club Monte Cristo in Koreatown on April 22 at 7:30 pm. The event is a fusion of Visual Art, Theatre, Jazz Music, Avant-Garde Music, and Electronic Music. Interdisciplinary theatre collective Source Material will present a preview of their second original piece “I Should Have a Party For All The Thoughts I Didn’t Say,” that magically blends live music with dance and performance. Visual artists Londubh Studio and Kaliisa Conlon will showcase an original and immersive sculpture designed exclusively for the occasion. Jazz musician and composer Daniel Rosenboom will perform the first single of his new album “Astral Transference & Seven Dreams.” Avant-garde singer and composer Dorian Wood is back from his successful European tour and will perform some of his biggest hits accompanied by a guitarist and an accordion. Keenhouse, an electronic musician, will be performing songs off his new album “A Future Past,” a production that blends electronic sounds with classical instruments. Club Monte Cristo, Koreatown: 659 S Westmoreland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005. More information: goo.gl/1fkHd1.


CABARET: On Monday May 11, Valerie Swift Bird returns in Sister Moon, directed by Pat Whiteman, at The E Spot Lounge located inside Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604. Valerie will perform with her musical director Rich Eames and the Rich Eames Trio. Doors open at 7:00 pm for dinner. Box Office Hours are Mon - Sat 3:00pm to 6:00pm. Click Here for tickets or call (818) 769-0905.


Join Ophelia’s Jump Productions and director Beatrice Casagran for Espíritu Gitano on May 9 and celebrate Mother’s Day with a Flamenco Experience. The show will feature performances by some of LA’s top Flamenco artists, musicians, singers and selections of the translated works of Federico Garcia Lorca. This one night only event is a perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day Eve with performances by Marcela Aguayo, Rosalina Castillo, Santiago Diego Martin Prechtel, Katherine Giaquinto, and Vernon Snyder. Tickets: $35 includes tapas selection, and a glass of sangria or non-alcoholic beverage. Additional wine will be available for purchase through donation. 8:00 pm at the Women’s Club of Claremont, 343 W. 12th Street, Claremont (off Indian Hill). Tickets: (909) 624-1464 www.opheliasjump.org.


WEB SERIES: After almost two years, connie & jimmy is back! Inspired by the 1953 film I Love Melvin, this episode will keep you “A-boodle-oo beep beep baum baum baum”-ing for hours. In episode 4, our charismatic duo has returned home from a frustrating dinner party. What’s on the menu must also match what’s in the heart. Our conscientious couple can’t help but shake it off in this delightful twist on “Where Did You Learn To Dance?” originally performed by Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. For more about the series, visit www.connieandjimmy.com.

MUSIC/DANCE: REDCAT presents The Murder Ballad (1938) by Los Angeles Theater Collective Poor Dog Group, April 23 – 26. With a volatile mix of desire, jealousy and emancipatory yearning, Poor Dog Group’s movement-based work, first staged at REDCAT’s New Original Works Festival, gives forceful physical life to Jelly Roll Morton's legendary 1938 recording. Originally performed in the brothels of New Orleans’ steamy Storyville district, Jelly Roll Morton’s song revels in the nastiness of its heroine’s voice, embodied here by Jessica Emmanuel, whose feral physical energy lays claim to the violent impulses of a woman betrayed. Directed by Jesse Bonnell, it delves into the myth of female madness and racialized representations of sexuality. Click Here for more information or call (213) 237-2800. 


Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre (formerly known as Media City Ballet Company) and Natasha Middleton, Artistic Director and Choreographer, will kick off its 14th Anniversary Season at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood with a program of classical and contemporary dance, A Collection of Works. There will be two performances: Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, April 26 at 3:00 pm. Alexander Fost, a season eight finalist from So You Think You Can Dance, will make a special appearance in the show. The program will feature Chopin Pieces set to the music of Frédéric Chopin’s romantic Nocturnes, intense Etudes and his melodic Fantasie-Impromtu; the world premiere of A Beginning. A Detour. An Open Ending., a modern contemporary piece about a man fighting for his identity choreographed by Clayton Velasquez set to the music of Imogen Heap; Searching, a new Adagio contemporary ballet duet set to the music of Kevin Keller; Black Coffee in which four dancers hash out their blues set to the music of k.d. lang; and Fire and Drums, a dance of speed, strength and passion set to Native American Drumming. Tickets: (818) 508-4200 or online at www.pacificballetdancetheatre.com or www.elportaltheatre.com. [Pictured: Irina Gharibyn and Grigori Arakelyan. Photo credit: B. Deck]

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MUSICAL NEWS Part One for Monday April 20, 2015

LOS ANGELES NEWS: The Pasadena Playhouse has announced that Broadway stars Emily Padgett, Thom Sesma, J. Elaine Marcos, and Thai superstar Bie Sukrit will lead the cast of the world premiere musical Waterfall. The epic new Broadway-bound love story begins previews May 29, with the official press opening on June 7, at The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Avenue in Pasadena. The production will then play Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre October 1-25, 2015.

Waterfall is based on a contemporary classic Thai novel, Behind the Painting by Sriburapha, and features book & lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and music by David Shire. It is set in Bangkok and Tokyo between the turbulent years of 1933 and 1939, as a monarchy falls in Thailand and Japan is on the brink of war. A young Thai student falls in love with the American wife of a Thai diplomat, and the story of their forbidden love parallels history as the new democracy of Siam moves into the vortex of the increasingly anti-American Japan. Tak Viravan, directs the production, which is choreographed by Dan Knechtges. The cast also includes Celia Mei Rubin, Colin Miyamoto, Darryl Semira, Eymard Cabling, Jordan De Leon, Kay Trinidad, Kenway Kua, Kimberly Immanuel, Koh Mochizuki, Leon Le, Lisa Helmi Johanson, Marcus Choi, Minami Yusui, Riza Takahashig, Rona Figueroa, and Steven Eng. Tickets: www.pasadenaplayhouse.org


Motown The Musical, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, will play the Hollywood Pantages April 28 - June 7. The musical is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more. The cast will star Julius Thomas III and Allison Semmes as Berry Gordy and Diana Ross, with Nicholas Christopher (Smokey Robinson), Jarran Muse (Marvin Gaye), Leon Outlaw, Jr., Reed L. Shannon, Erick Buckley, Patrice Covington, Jamarice Daughtry, Tamar Davis, Lynorris Evans, Melanie Evans, Devon Goffman, Jennie Harney, Rod Harrelson, Robert Hartwell, Dana Marie Ingraham, Rodney Earl Jackson, Jr., Trisha Jeffrey, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Jarvis B. Manning, Jr., Krisha Marcano, Moeisha McGill, Marq Moss, Rashad Naylor, Chadaè Nichol, Ramone Owens, Nicholas Ryan, Jamison Scott, Joey Stone, Doug Storm, Martina Sykes and Galen J. Williams. Tickets: www.HollywoodPantages.com or (800) 982-2787.


Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party has extended its performance residencies at Golden Road Brewing in Glendale and iO West in Hollywood. The comedy troupe will perform their signature musical form, featuring completely improvised music, lyrics, multi-act story structure, and choreography, based entirely on audience suggestions, during hour-long, monthly shows at each venue. RT+AP has been creating once-in-a-lifetime musical comedy experiences since 2012, earning the world record for longest cage match in improv history for their 86 week run at iO West in Hollywood. The cast includes a diverse group of performers from comedy institutions such as UCB, iO West, Nerdist, Comedy Sportz and The Second City. Performance dates: April 28 and May 26 at Chloe’s at Golden Road Brewing, 5410 W. San Fernando Rd, LA, CA 90039. Doors at 8:00 pm, show at 8:30, free admission. Also May 15 at iO West, 6366 Hollywood Blvd., LA, CA 90028. Show at 8:00 pm, tickets are $10. www.robotteammate.com


Arcadia Performing Arts Foundation presents Heather Henson’s Sing-A-Long with The Muppet Movie on Saturday, May 16 at 2:00 pm. Join the fun as the IBEX Puppetry Sing-A-Long crew, including Heather Henson, brings elements of the film to life for the audience via puppetry, kiting, and shadow acting. Children and adults alike are urged to yell out famous lines, blow bubbles, dance in the aisles, and of course, sing along with the movie to forge new or renew connections to films from another generation. Tickets ($15): www.Arcadiapaf.org. Admission is free with the purchase of a Goodie Bag (Goodie Bag is required for entry). The theatre is located at 188 Campus Drive at North Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia CA 91007. For more information please call (626) 821-1781.

IN SAN DIEGO: La Jolla Playhouse announces the cast for its world premiere musical Come from Away, featuring book, music and lyrics by the Canadian husband-and-wife team Irene Sankoff and David Hein (My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding), directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. A co-production with Seattle Repertory Theatre, Come from Away will run May 29 – July 5. The original, rock-infused musical is based on the true story of when the isolated town of Gander, Newfoundland played host to the world. What started as an average day in a small town turned in to an international sleep-over when 38 planes, carrying thousands of people from across the globe, were diverted to Gander on September 11, 2001. The cast features Jenn Colella (Beverly), Chad Kimball (Colin 1), Joel Hatch (Claude), Rodney Hicks (Bob), Caesar Samayoa (Colin 2), Q Smith (Lana) and Sharon Wheatley (Diane), plus Canadian actors Petrina Bromley (Bonnie), Lee MacDougall (Nick) and Astrid Van Wieren (Beulah) as well as San Diego favorites Geno Carr (Oz), and Allison Spratt Pearce (Janice). Tickets: (858) 550-1010 or www.LaJollaPlayhouse.org.

The Old Globe has announced its 2015-2016 Season, which will feature three exciting musicals beginning with the previously announced September 16 world premiere of In Your Arm. The exuberant dance-theatre musical features 10 of America’s best theatrical storytellers who will join director-choreographer Christopher Gattelli (pictured left) and composer Stephen Flaherty to create a ravishing evening that glides, leaps, and twirls through the giddy extremes of romantic love.

On March 26, 2015, Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein makes his musical directing debut with Rain, a sumptuous world premiere musical by Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party, Giant) and Sybille Pearson (Giant). Based on a short story by Somerset Maugham, Rain follows a group of American travelers thrown together in a boarding house on a tropical South Pacific island. The sudden arrival of another guest, the mysterious and provocative Sadie Thompson, turns their lives upside down in ways they could never have foreseen.

And returning for its 18th holiday season beginning Nov. 7, is Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! As in years past, The Grinch will be performed on Saturday, December 12 for children on the autism spectrum and their families, as well as other families with special needs that may appreciate the welcoming and supportive environment this performance provides. For a complete schedule of all the productions on The Globe’s season, including Shakespeare plays and more, go to www.theoldglobe.org.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

First Look: World Premiere of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE A Musical

In this world premiere musical from La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and McCoy Rigby Entertainment, the love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy comes to life when Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra revisit “First Impressions,” an earlier version of the beloved novel. Featuring music, lyrics and book by Lindsay Warren Baker & Amanda Jacobs, based on the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, with music direction by Timothy Splain, choreography by Jeffry Denman, and directed by Igor Goldin. April 17 – May 10, 2015. Tickets: www.lamiradatheatre.com

Bets Malone as Jane Austen with the company of Pride and Prejudice A Musical.
All Photos by Michael Lamont

Brandon Andrus, Jamison Lingle, Eddie Egan and Samantha Eggers
with the company of Pride and Prejudice A Musical

Brandon Andrus and Patricia Noonan

L-R: Brandon Andrus, Matthew Kacergis, Patricia Noonan and Bets Malone

[Seated] Kimberly Hessler and Gregory North with Samantha Eggers,
Patricia Noonan and Arielle Fishman


L-R: Jill Van Velzer, Bets Malone, Patricia Noonan and Samantha Eggers

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS for Thursday, April 9, 2015

MUSICALS: glory|struck productions has announced casting for American Idiot, to be staged in a yet-to-be-disclosed warehouse venue in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District. This electrifying stage adaptation of the punk album features James Byous as Johnny, Lindsay Pearce as Whatsername, Briana Cuoco, Payson Lewis, Jonah Platt, Caitlin Ary, Alec Cyganowski, Bianca Gisselle, Matt Magnusson, Abraham Lim, Michelle Raitzin, Shelley Regner, Jordan Booker, Barrett Crake, Casey Hayden, Reesa Marie, Jenna Townsend, and Zach Zagoria. American Idiot is directed by Topher Rhys and Jen Oundjian, with musical direction by Elmo Zapp. Performances begin May 15. Tickets go on sale April 28, with pre-sale beginning April 14 for those supporting the Kickstarter campaign. The cast will also present a special night of music celebrating the production at The Viper Room April 18 at 10:30 pm (8852 West Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood 90069). Tickets are available at http://viperroom.com.

The Group Rep presents the world premiere musical Love Again by Doug Haverty (book & lyrics) and Adryan Russ (music & lyric) directed by Kay Cole May 15 – June 28. The show consists of three engaging musical playlets, each with its own storyline, about making difficult choices in love with a brand new pop/Broadway score. Cast includes Michele Bernath, Paul Cady, Kathleen Chen, Amy Gillette, Renee Gorsey, Lloyd Pedersen, Lauren Peterson, Andrew Curtis Stark, Debi Tinsley, Elijah Tomlinson, and Janet Wood. You can also join the company for Talk-back Sundays after the show May 24th and June 7. Tickets: www.thegrouprep.com or (818) 763-5990.

Laguna Playhouse presents the Orange County premiere of Murder for Two by Joe Kinosian (book & music) and Kellen Blair (book & lyrics), choreography by Wendy Seyb, musical direction by David Caldwell and direction by Scott Schwartz. Show runs April 22 - May 17 (opening night 4/25) at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. Everyone is a suspect in Murder for Two, a hilarious musical murder mystery with a twist: one actor investigates the crime (Ian Lowe), the other plays all of the suspects (Kyle Branzel as Marcus) and they both play the piano! A zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, this 90-minute whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with killer laughs. Tickets: www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

The Old Globe in San Diego announces the cast for Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, its upcoming co-production with Hartford Stage. This spectacular revival will be choreographed by Peggy Hickey and directed by Hartford Stage Artistic Director and former Old Globe Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak. Broadway stars Mike McGowan (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and Anastasia Barzee (Urinetown) star as Fred/Petruchio and Lilli/Kate. The cast also includes Tyler Hanes (Bill/Lucentio), Megan Sikora (Lois/Bianca), Brendan Averett (Second Man), Joel Blum (First Man), Giovanni Bonaventura (Hortensio), Robert Hannon Davis (Ralph), Charity Angel Dawson (Hattie), James T. Lane (Paul), Barrett Martin (Gremio), Wayne W. Pretlow (Pops/Priest), 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, and Jane Papageorge. Tickets: www.theoldglobe.org.


EXTENSION: Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group’s Bedlam Explosivo XXO Variety Hour has been extended and will continue performances Fridays at 11:00 pm through May 8. ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. Tickets: $15 (818) 202-4120 or ZombieJoes.Tix.com.

BENEFIT: The Ojai Playwrights Conference will honor Gordon Davidson and Judy Ovitz during its benefit gala Town & Country on Saturday, May 2, 3:00 pm. Festivities begin with Show-Stoppers, a 90-minute cabaret of musical numbers and dramatic scenes performed by Broadway and Los Angeles stars and OPC playwrights. The show, created and directed by OPC Artistic Director/Producer Robert Egan with Emmy award-winning composer and music director Lance Horne, will feature performances Davis Gaines, Dale Kristien, Anthony Fedorov, Jennifer Paz, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Steven Weber, Julie Garnyé, Billy Valentine, Luis Alfaro, Jon Robin Baitz, Charlayne Woodard and Noah Wyle. Tickets: www.ojaiplays.org.

CABARET: Chris Isaacson Presents announces three performances of Erich Bergen--Live! Thursday, May 21 and Friday, May 22 (8:30 pm) at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood, and Monday, May 18 at Martinis Above Fourth in San Diego. Bergen is best known for his performance as Bob Gaudio in the Clint Eastwood film of Jersey Boys (a role he played on stage for over three years) and his co-starring role on the CBS drama Madam Secretary. Musical director is Michael Orland (American Idol). Tickets: www.TicketWeb.com or (866) 468-3399.

DANCE/VARIETY: This Mother’s Day, the 17th annual Momentum Place, curated by Lexi Pearl, creates a fantastical world of aerial and circus performers, dancers and musicians in Theatricum Botanicum’s outdoor amphitheater. Bring your mother to honor the MOMentum in her life - always on the go for others. Now, she can sit back, relax and enjoy an uncommon afternoon of performance delights that are kid friendly and full of surprises. For an extra treat, enjoy a scrumptious brunch in Theatricum’s rustic gardens before the performance. May 10. Brunch: Noon - 1:30 pm, Performance: 2:00 pm. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga CA 90290. Tickets: (310) 455-2322 or www.theatricum.com.

DANCE: First Run Features is pleased to announce that on May 11 and 12, the new dance documentary, Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter, will be presented as part of Laemmle Theater’s Culture Vulture Series. The series features the best films from the world of ballet, opera, stage, and fine art. Screening s are Mondays at 7:30 pm at all Laemmle locations in Los Angeles, with a repeat of the program Tuesdays at 1:00 pm. Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter tells the inspiring and largely unknown story of Martha Hill, a visionary whose life was defined by her love for dance, and who successfully fought against great odds to establish modern dance as a legitimate art form in America. The 80-minute film is directed by Greg Vander Veer who conducts lively interviews with Hill’s friends and intimates such as Robert Battle (Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), Charles Reinhart (former Director of American Dance Festival), premiere ballerina Heather Watts, Ohad Naharin (Batsheva Dance Company), dance critic Deborah Jowitt and acclaimed choreographers Paul Taylor and Martha Clarke. For more information visit www.Laemmle.com.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS for Thursday, April 2, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS: Pasadena Playhouse has announced its 2015-2016 season, which includes the world premiere of the new musical Breaking Through (Oct 27 – Nov 22, 2015) with book by Kirsten Guenther and music & lyrics by Cliff Downs and Katie Kahanovitz; and the return of Panto at The Playhouse with Lythgoe Family Productions’ Peter Pan and Tinkerbell A Pirate Christmas (Dec 9, 2015 – Jan 3, 2016). Breaking Through is told through the eyes of a young, talented singer/songwriter, as she tries to navigate the treacherous shark-filled waters of the music business. She embarks on a compelling journey to find her way back to her authentic self and in the process rediscovers the music that truly makes her alive. For a complete list of shows on The Playhouse’s upcoming season, go to www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

Palos Verdes Performing Arts presents Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legendary Tony-winning musical, Cats, April 24 - May 11 at the Norris Theatre (27570 Norris Center Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula). Based on T.S. Eliot’s poetry, Cats tell the story of the annual gathering of Jellicle cats where one special cat will be selected to be reborn into a new life. The 23-member cast includes Gina D’Acciaro (Grizabella), Jake DuPree (Mr. Mistoffelees), Robert Hoyt (Deuteronomy), Bill Ledesma (Munkustrap) and Joel Abelson (Rum Tum Tugger), with Jason Hammond, Jon Wailin, Rachel Davis, Amber Sky Skipps, Melissa Glasgow, Kirklyn Robinson, Steven Rada, Alison Boresi, Bailey Sonner, Gabriel Navarro, Juliana Saenz, Kimberly Sklow, Andrew Soto, Eric Taylor, Erin Umpehnour, Brandon Halvorsen, Arielle Meads, and  Paige Sealey. Tickets: (310) 544-0403 or www.PalosVerdesPerformingArts.com.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center has announced its 2015-2016 season featuring leading productions and artists from around the globe and free concerts and performances in neighborhoods across Los Angeles. Now in its 8th season, the season includes the return of the wildly popular musical theatre group Isango Ensemble who will transform Bizet’s Carmen into a supernatural story of township lovers with an African-inspired theatrical extravaganza of music, dance, performance, and song; recital performances by opera virtuosos Angela Gheorghiu and Piotr Beczała; the launch of a three-year Beethoven concert cycle by Calder Quartet; and expanded offerings in classical music, and National Geographic Live; and pop-up artists that will be streamed live through social media so audience members near and far can be part of the experience.

Family programming will include Carnegie Hall’s Musical Explorers, an interactive program that celebrates the music of Los Angeles and the diversity of cultures that exist right in our own backyard; The Box Brothers from Netherlands-based ensemble Percossa in which four brothers who live in a box set out on a boisterous musical journey to find happiness using found objects to turn Japanese percussion, African rhythms, jazz, and funk music into a hand-clapping, toe-tapping comic adventure; and Carnival of the Animals, a whimsical tale of creatures that tumble, fly, leap, and spin their way through the animal kingdom. This production is an acrobatic wonder of bodies, light, and sound by Australia’s award-winning Circa. For a complete schedule of upcoming season events go to www.thebroadstage.com.

Plus, don’t miss Broadway @ The Broad on Sunday, June 14, 2015 with Two time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster and XM Radio’s Seth Rudetsky. Two shows: 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm. These two irrepressible friends will shoot the breeze, dish the dirt, and raise the roof with performances of a host of classic and contemporary Broadway songs. It’s Broadway the Broad way. Tickets: www.thebroadstage.com.

Fraser Entertainment Group’s An Evening of Classic Broadway returns to Rockwell Table & Stage on Wednesday, April 22. Celebrate Earth Day with songs from classic musicals performed by Will Collyer, Louise Marie CornillezSavannagh Leigh, Kelly Lester, Joanne O'Brien, Jeffrey Polk, and Alex Newell from GLEE, with Brad Ellis as musical director. Rockwell Table & Stage is located at 1714 N. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles 90027. Doors open at 6:30 pm; show begins at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $10, $15 or $20 plus a 2-item food minimum. Valet and street parking available. Click Here for tickets.

DANCE: Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge, presents the Martha Graham Dance Company in its only Los Angeles appearance in the 2014-15 season on Saturday, April 18 at 8:00 pm. The program includes a rare staging of Appalachian Spring (considered Graham’s great enduring masterwork) set to Aaron Copland’s Pulitzer Prize-winning score. The program also features Lamentation Variations, newly choreographed by three celebrated dance makers: Sonya Tayeh, Kyle Abraham and Larry Keigwin. The works by Tayeh and Abraham are west coast premiers following their debut at the Joyce Theater in New York. Tayeh is best known to television audiences for her choreography for So You Think You Can Dance. VPAC is also offering additional related events including educational programs and a photography exhibit in the VPAC Gallery, featuring iconic imagery of the Martha Graham Dance Company taken by photographer Barbara Morgan. Click Here for tickets.

OPEN HOUSE: Save the date for Greenway Arts Alliance’s Open House Sunday, May 3 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Featuring live music on two stages, free outdoor Shakespeare-inspired performances by students enrolled in Greenway’s Institute for the Arts, and more. For more information visit www.greenwayartsalliance.org.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS for Sunday, March 29, 2015

3D Theatricals beckons all patrons of the arts to buckle up and hold on for a rip-roaring journey back into time by way of Henry Krieger and Bill Russell’s Side Show based on the true story of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton. Chronicling their rise from freak circus attractions to famous vaudeville entertainers during the Great Depression, this refreshingly unsentimental journey dares you to bear witness to the Hilton sisters’ heartwarming search for love and normality amidst the spectacle of fame and scrutiny of the spotlight. The production will play exclusively at Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton, April 25 – May 10. 3DT’s Executive producer and artistic director T.J. Dawson will direct the production. Ryan Ruge has been set as assistant director. Allen Everman is musical director and conductor. Choreography is by Leslie Stevens

Jeanette Dawson (as Violet Hilton) and Afton Quast (as Daisy Hilton) lead a 27 member cast including Matthew Ballestero (Bearded Lady), Kathleen Borrelli (Harem Girl), Gary Brintz (Buddy Foster), Dustin Ceithamer (Geek), Adam Dingeman (Strong Man), Jay Donnell (Jake), Chelsea Emma Franko (U/S Violet and Daisy Hilton) Gregg Hammer (Terry Connor), April Jo Henry (Harem Girl), Jonah Ho’okano (Fakir), Nathan Holland (The Boss), Chris Holly (Sheik/Dance Captain), Natalie Iscovich (Harem Girl), Bren Thor Johnson (Roustabout), Emily King Brown (Tatooed Human Pin Cushion), Tracy Lore (1/2 Man-1/2 Woman,) Tracy Rowe Mutz (6TH Exhibit), Dino Nicandros (Reptile Man), Brandon Pohl (Roustabout), Robert Ramirez (Three-legged Man), Christanna Rowader (Fortune Teller), Justin Matthew Segura (Roustabout) and Deonne Sones (Dolly). Tickets: www.3dtshows.com.


You’re invited to see a developmental workshop production of The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, April 9 – 26 at New Musical Inc (Academy for New Musical Theatre. High School baseball phenom Jack Cusack’s world is turned upside down when a biographical play he wrote is discovered, revealing his sexual orientation. Guided by the spirit of Anthony Comstock, the notorious turn-of-nineteenth-century rightwing social reformer, forces of evil conspire against Jack resulting in social ostracism, bullying, and a final outcome far more sinister. The musical was inspired by recent events in high schools across the country and is written by Joel Bailey (book), Jake Anthony (music) and Patricia Zehentmayr (lyrics). Performances are free and you can make reservations at http://nmi.org/tickets/. NMI, 5628 Vineland Ave (just north of Burbank Blvd), North Hollywood, CA 91601.


Free tickets, anyone? Hop aboard the Comp Train, Goldstar’s popular two-day promotion that features complimentary tickets to tons of fun events throughout the country. For just 48 hours, Goldstar will be offering literally thousands of free tickets to live theater, concerts, dance, comedy and more. And since all you pay is a tiny service fee (the amount varies depending on the event, but it’s usually just a couple bucks), the Comp Train’s a great way to discover new events in your area and treat your plus one, your family or even just yourself to something totally great -- and totally unexpected. Click Here to find your comp tickets.

Hal Willner presents A Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” with Music, Words and Funny People at the Ace Hotel Tuesday, April 7. Featuring performances and appearances by Nick Cave, Chris Parnell, Eric Mingus, Terry Adams, The Americans, Sam Amidon, Devendra Banhart, Kevin Drew, Will Forte, Petra Haden, Macy Gray, Andy Kim, Courtney Love, Mocean Worker, John Mulaney, Ken Nordine, Beth Orton, Van Dyke Parks, Amy Poehler, Tim Robbins, the Section Quartet, Lori Singer, Chloe Webb, Steve Weisberg, Lucinda Williams and special guests, directed by Matt Piedmont. All proceeds benefit the David Lynch Foundation to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations suffering with PTSD. 7:30pm at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015. (Plus, this historic United Artists Theatre built by the founders of United Artists Pictures - Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks to show their films is just plain cool. If you haven’t been inside you should put it on your list). Click here for tickets. 

Of Note Productions presents a Master Class with Broadway and TV star Rogelio Douglas, Jr. (In the Heights, The Little Mermaid, Orange Is the New Black, Whiplash) on May 23 from 10:00 – 2:00 pm. The class is open to all students ages 13 and up and will take place at the Thousand Oaks Library in Thousand Oaks. There are two ticket options available. You may enter a lottery to work on your song or monologue with Mr. Douglas ($40.00), or simply observe ($20.00). Both ticket options include lunch with Mr. Douglas from 12:00 -1:00 pm. For tickets and more information, visit www.ofnoteproductions.com.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

BEHIND THE SCENES: From Oliver Twist to LA

How One Midwestern Girl Followed Her Dream Out West
--by Tanna Frederick

Heartland USA
I grew up in Mason City, Iowa, or, as the rest of the city knows it, River City with, “A capital T that rhymes with P that stands for Pool.” Oh, yeah. We had one of THE BEST MUSIC programs in the nation, let alone the state. We sang at Carnegie Hall, for example, my sophomore year. None of us had been to New York, and we were selected for our excellence under the guidance of award-winning choir director, Joel Everist. We competed all over, winning event after event. And boy, we were expected to represent. We were serious, we were competitive, and we were expected to work with each other. “An invisible thread connected us,” Mr. Everist used to say. “Work like adults; work like professionals.”

When I was in Girl Scouts in the fifth grade, growing up in this beautiful, progressive, serious artistic hub (that was a great big city for Iowa – population 35,000) in the middle of green oceans of cornfields, we did what people did as entertainment for our field trip. We went to see the musical Oliver.

I had heard about this children’s theater from my classmates; the ones who could afford to be in it. They were obsessed with it. Gary Ewing was the teacher, the master, the MAN. Five shows a year, classes every Saturday, auditions. They were always eagerly waiting to hear what the next season’s line up would be. The classes were a mix of 4th graders to seniors in high school, all in the same class; all treated the same, worked the same, and rehearsed the same amount of hours with the same intensity, the same expectations; all required to paint the scenery, scrims, run light boards, and sound cues.

When we auditioned, it was a brutal process. Imagine a 9-year old, sitting with 8-18 year olds in the audience and watching them compete with utter focus, trying to act cool as a cucumber while reading cold and brilliantly (the older ones had it down WAY better than the young’uns), while by process of elimination those that didn’t fit were asked to leave.  

I learned to cry young. I learned to take a complete day and cry at 9. I learned to realize ‘no’ was a positive answer. That ‘no’ meant working harder, learning more, taking the smaller part and making the performance big and bold, even if your heart was breaking on stage through two months of rehearsals and performances. I learned ‘no’ was the best answer I could be given at nine years old because I went through my crying and disappointment days early, took them for what they were worth, felt the hurt deep down to my belly and all the way out to my fingers. I learned what rejection was and I learned I could handle it because right around the corner was a lead role that would knock my socks off and outshine any hurt and pain I had endured.

I was just a kid but I knew I had a knack for acting. As I sat there with my girl scout troop, not enough seats for an overflowing house, I knew my best friend was playing Oliver Twist, at nine, and I couldn’t really conceptualize, now having been moved to the hard-on-the-tush aisle steps because of the sold-out house, what it would be like seeing him on stage. Already a young prodigy in his own right, he was winning dance competitions at the Iowa State Fair. That may sound like small potatoes but put any professional in one of our state fairs and we’ll give them a serious run for their money. Remember there are three films titled State Fair which were all based on the Iowa State Fair, a mighty important event. Tait Moline, talented beyond belief, my hero, my best friend, by then we had watched all the Broadway plays we could on Iowa Public Television, and worshipped Bernadette Peters.

When the house lights went down and the stage lights came up, everything around me stopped. I remember every single second, detail, note, and position of that musical. I remember the adults’ faces, the kids’ hutzpah, the box steps, the smell of the lights burning dust and gel, the happiness and sadness of every character’s face, the tears, the smiles, and the suspension of disbelief. The commitment from the characters to play, to pretend, to pain, to joy. I must have been eight at the time, taking hardcore (for a first grader) classical piano lessons that my parents had scraped together for and I was thrown ahead into a timeless floating ether of ecstasy.

It was a rivalry of power and life and I wanted it. I wanted it forever.  

I joined The First Act (now Stebens Childrens’ Theatre) the next year. It changed my life.  It WAS my life. It IS my life. It taught me to follow my dreams and that dreams can turn into a reality through hard work, dedication, sweat, breakthroughs, teamwork, and tears.

Way Out West
I moved to Los Angeles in 1999 after graduating from Iowa University with a continued dream of living on the stage and in film. My trials and tribulations were very similar to most actors in LA. I was a waitress when I wasn’t on the stage or auditioning. During rehearsal, a fellow actor told me that the famous director, Henry Jaglom, would sometimes cast fans of his work. With that knowledge and zero fear of “no” I wrote him a letter of praise for his film Déjà Vu.

My letter prompted a meeting and, pleasantly, a budding friendship. Henry had given me his play, A Safe Place to work on in my acting class but I thought I would do him one better and find a theater to produce it. Finally, that “no” was a “yes.” I got to get up on stage and transform the room. It was so exciting to feel the heat of the lights. It continued to fuel my desire for a life in show business.

After that, I continued to collaborate with Henry and I’m currently playing Katia Wampuskic in his play, Train to Zakopane, one of my most challenging roles to date. She is an anti-Semitic nurse who falls in love with a Jewish man. Every night I have to channel hatred from a place that isn’t present in my own life. It is a true story about Henry’s father, by far one of his most personal pieces yet.

Prior to performing Train to Zakopane, I got to perform Amiri Baraka’s The Dutchman directed by Levy Lee. It was a theatre marathon; an emotional ride that could and maybe will never be matched in my performing career.

Before each new project, I take a moment to remember the Girl Scout sitting in the aisle of the children’s theater watching my future peers perform. I remember the magic that comes with transforming the mood of an audience, the magic of baring your heart on stage. It is a rush that cannot be matched with anything else in the world.

When I lose myself, I think of Oliver Twist...what I knew then and what I know now: that I love what I do, that I want to keep learning, that I never turned back, never gave myself a safety net, and never will. Times are hard, times will be hard, the sweat doesn’t stop, the hard work doesn’t stop, but I learned how to cry at nine and get on with it.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Train to Zakopane: A True Story of Love and Hate has been extended and is currently playing at Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405 through June 28, 2015. For tickets go to www.edgemarcenter.org.

Photo credit: Leslie Bohm


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