Sunday, October 30, 2011

Experience NoHo: Arts Festival & Celebration



Come join the fun at Experience NoHo a Free, multi-arts festival and celebration featuring live theater, dance, music, art, and food, taking place November 12th, from 12pm - 8pm, in the heart of the booming NoHo Arts District.

Experience NoHo is part festival and part arts walk. A main stage area for music will be located at the intersection of Lankershim Blvd. and Weddington St., while a dance stage at Lankershim Blvd. and Otsego Ave. will anchor the festival. Art will be everywhere - from public art stations inviting patrons to create their own art, to gallery installations. NoHo theatres will offer performances and classes during festival hours. To top it off, there will be incredible discounts and offerings from local restaurants and retailers.

15 NoHo Theatres take center stage with free performances of comedy, drama, musicals, and improv; and free classes. Theatre programming runs 12:30pm to a final showtime of 5:00pm. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.

Participating theatre and theatre companies: Actors Forum Theatre, Actors Workout Studio, Antaeus Classical Theatre Company, Avery Schreiber Theatre, Crown City Theatre, The Group Rep, J.E.T. Studios, The NoHo Actors Studio, The NoHo Arts Center, NoHo Stages, The Raven Playhouse, The Road Theatre Company, Secret Rose Theatre, Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center, and Zombie Joe’s Underground.

Date: Saturday, November 12th
Time: 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: NoHo Arts District, spanning Lankershim Blvd. from Chandler Blvd. to Camarillo Blvd.; Bakman Ave. to Vineland Ave.
Cost: All events are Free
For more info: www.experiencenoho.com/

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page
Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
10:23 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Zombie Joe's Presents CHRISTMAS 4 BUKOWSKI

Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group's presents its all-new holiday show Christmas 4 Bukowski highlighting Bukowski’s finest poems and stories and featuring a live musical score of new and classic yule-tide tunes by Jessica Lynn Verdi.

Christmas 4 Bukowski is directed by Josh T. Ryan, and features Andy Babinski, Michael Blomgren, Julie Fergus, Brian Robert Harris, Ken Mottard and Wasim Nomani.


Performances run Fridays at 8:30 pm November 11 – December 16, 2011 at ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. For reservations please call 818-202- 4120. Tickets are $15. Click Here for more information.

For more Musicals in LA news
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
12:57 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Shining Love Letter: I LOVE LUCY Live on Stage


It was TV magic when CBS began airing black & white episodes of the I Love Lucy® show in the early 1950s. The lovable redhead known as Lucy Ricardo instantly won the hearts of millions of viewers who tuned in weekly to see her latest antics. Who can forget images of Lucy filming the Vitameatavegamin commercial, stomping grapes, working in the chocolate factory with Ethel, or doing her mirror routine with Harpo Marx?

Now a new adaptation of the show, I Love Lucy® Live on Stage, has come to the Greenway Court Theatre by co-adapters Rick Sparks, who also directs the production, and comedy writer Kim Flagg. It recreates the television taping of two episodes of the iconic series, The Benefit, and Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined, by a quartet of actors who seek not to mimic the original performances but instead honor the essence of The Ricardos and their next door neighbors, Fred and Ethel Mertz.

Sirena Irwin plays Lucy Ricardo and her resemblance to the famous redhead will certainly make you do a double take, styled to perfection as she is with Lucy’s signature red poodle hairstyle and knockout 50’s wardrobe. Credit for the outstanding vintage look of the show goes to Shon LeBlanc and Byron J. Batista for the costume and wig/makeup design, respectively. Irwin pouts and schemes her way through the scenes in typical “Lucy” fashion playing to her charming, and ever-tolerant husband Ricky (Bill Mendieta), who has his own comedic moments and time for plenty of the Cuban bandleader’s signature vocals – “Babalu” included.


Lucy’s sidekick Ethel (a terrific Lisa Joffrey), may have played second fiddle throughout the run of the show, but here she and husband Fred (Bill Chott) get to show off some of their own vaudevillian song and dance skills in “The Varsity Drag” sequence. Both capture the fine points of their characters beautifully.

As with any television show there are some hilarious commercial inserts by notable products of the day; Brylcream, Chevrolet and a dancing Alka Seltzer tablet among them, and musical numbers by The Crystal Tones – think “Glow Worm” in gorgeous six-part harmony. Those beautiful musical arrangements are brought to you courtesy of musical director Wayne Moore, who also leads the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra “live” at the Tropicana and highlighted by Cricket S. Myers' sound design.

Thanks to a top-notch ensemble the show actually begins outside the theatre as costumed cast members interact with the audience while waiting for the doors to open. One excited woman (Amy Tolsky) is just so gosh darned happy to be here that her infectious energy transfers to everyone around her.

Once inside, Aaron Henderson’s set design lit by Jeremy Pivnick welcomes you into the studio and Mark Christopher Tracy takes charge as the host of the show. Audience warm-up is an art and he’s got it down to a T. A few of the other character highlights include Ed Martin’s wildly entertaining turn as Lucy’s eye doctor, Greg Franklin as Broadway producer William Parker, and Tom Christensen as Lucy’s swingin’ jitterbug instructor King Katt Walsh, though it truly is a team effort and everyone in the cast has his or her chance to shine.

I Love Lucy® Live on Stage pays the highest compliment to its namesake sitcom by remaining true to the innocence of the original. In doing so, we the audience have the opportunity to experience a bit of what it was like in those early days when landing a joke was the loftiest of goals and wholesome entertainment was what the country craved. Fresh, lovely, and full of life, Sparks and company have truly created a shining love letter to the one and only first lady of comedy.

I Love Lucy® Live on Stage runs through December 30 at the Greenway Court Theatre. Click Here for tickets and more information.

* * * * *
The original episodes of The Benefit and Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined were written by Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll Jr. I Love Lucy® Live on Stage is brought to you by S. Kahn Presents and the Millrock Company. Executive producers are David George and Steve Kahn. Hyra George and Kim Flagg are producers.


For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
7:07 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Old Globe Announces Cast & Crew for SOME LOVERS

The Old Globe has announced the cast and creative team for the world premiere of Some Lovers, a new musical with book and lyrics by Tony and Grammy Award winner Steven Sater and music by Academy and Grammy Award-winning legend Burt Bacharach. Directed by Will Frears with music supervision by Lon Hoyt and choreography by Denis Jones, Some Lovers will run Nov. 26 – Dec. 31.

To create his first original stage musical since Promises, Promises (recently revived on Broadway), Bacharach has joined forces with Spring Awakening‘s Steven Sater to re-imagine the classic O. Henry Christmas tale The Gift of the Magi for today’s audiences. On Christmas Eve, estranged lovers Molly and Ben are haunted by the memory of happier times, and like the unforgettable melody of a favorite song, their memories conspire to bring them together again.

From left: Jason Danieley, Michelle Duffy, Burt Bacharach,
Steven Sater, Jenni Barber, and Andrew Mueller.
Photo by Henry DiRocco

The cast of Some Lovers features Jenni Barber (Young Molly), who has appeared on New York stages in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Sam Mendes’ Bridge Project, From Up Here and Cactus Flower; Jason Danieley (Ben), whose Broadway credits include Next to Normal, Curtains, Candide and The Full Monty; Michelle Duffy (Molly), who has originated roles in the world premieres of Leap of Faith, Continental Divide, An Italian Straw Hat and Mask; and Andrew Mueller (Young Ben), who recently appeared in the world premiere of For the Boys and received a Jeff Award for his work in Big River in Chicago.

The creative team includes Takeshi Kata (Scenic Design), Jenny Mannis (Costume Design), Ben Stanton (Lighting Design), Leon Rothenberg (Sound Design), Jonathan Tunick (Orchestrator), AnnMarie Milazzo (Vocal Designer), Jim Carnahan, CSA (Casting) and Matthew Silver (Stage Manager).

The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. Free parking is available throughout the park. Valet parking is also available ($10). Click Here for tickets and information or call (619) 23-GLOBE.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
7:48 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pantages opens season with a Sensational COME FLY AWAY

Photos by Joan Marcus

The Fall Broadway/LA season opened at the Pantages with a flourish last night as Twyla Tharp’s dazzling dance musical Come Fly Away played to a packed house. It is a fiercely passionate, sexually charged 80-minute show that combines classic and newly discovered vocal performances from the Sinatra archives and Twyla Tharp’s electrifying choreography. The result is an exquisite cocktail of sound, movement, color and light.

Over the course of one night we watch four couples as they play tug of war with each other on the dance floor while serenaded by Ol' Blue Eyes himself and a killer 14-piece orchestra. It is an arc that stretches from the most innocent of young love to the cat and mouse games of a much more suggestive and dangerous attraction, all played out in gravity-defying perfection by dancers who are absolutely spectacular.

During a nonstop opening that moves quickly from Sinatra’s classic “Stardust” to the irresistible “Luck Be a Lady,” we meet them. There’s Betsy and Marty, the naïve waiter and young girl smitten with love at first sight; Kate, the vixen and her volatile lover Hank; and Babe, the lean and leggy femme fatale in a red dress, her charismatic lover Sid, and errant admirer Chanos, who partners up with the fun-loving Slim once he is rejected by Babe. Throughout the night they take turns in the spotlight as their stories weave in and out of each other with a multitude of breathtaking sequences.

In “Let’s Fall in Love” and “You Make Me Feel So Young” comedy abounds for Betsy and Marty as they bumble through their awkwardness with unbridled enthusiasm and beautiful partnering and lifts that disintegrate into hilarious positions. Each time they return it gets funnier and funnier.

Quite the opposite in tone are Kate and Hank, in whom we glimpse a much more tempestuous relationship. “Fly Me To The Moon” sets up her personality as the ensemble men literally throw her among them in a progressive series of lifts that parallels her flirtations as Hank looks on. By the time the pair collides in “That’s Life” we see the erotic rough and tumble side of their passion in a body-wrapping showstopper of a duet.


Classic elegance and style befit the luscious blonde Babe and heartthrob Sid in “I’ve Got a Crush On You” and “Witchcraft,” and when Chanos approaches her in “Body and Soul,” her rejection propels him into a stunning dance counterpoint around them and a detour to the bottle. And while we’re talking stunning, the men break out in an explosive testosterone-laden version of “I’m Gonna Live ‘Til I Die” that turns up the heat and steams up the house.

To a one, the dancers in Come Fly Away are a testament to what dedication to one’s art can achieve, their collective training including some of the finest ballet companies around the world, however they are not the only ones featured in this intoxicating evening. Brian Miller and his onstage band are about as terrific a partner as you can get for a Sinatra tribute, with a brass section to die for and a swingin' style that never stops. And when the ballroom peels away and we’re left with the band suspended in a starlit sky, the effect is sensational. Credit for that finale, as well as the sleek look of the club and its variations, goes to James Youmans and Donald Holder (scenic design and lighting respectively). Peter McBoyle also receives high marks for the seamless integration of the musical elements in his sound design.

Opening night cast: Mallauri Esquibel (Betsy), Ron Todorowski (Marty), Cody Green (Sid), Meredith Miles (Babe), Marceea Moreno (Kate), Martin Harvey (Hank), Matthew Stockwell Dibble (Chanos), and Marielys Molina (Slim). Ensemble: Marina Lazzaretto, Candy Olsen, Julius Anthony Rubio, Justin Urso, Tanairi Sade Vazquez, and Michael Williams.

Come Fly Away runs through November 6th at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Click Here for tickets and more information.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
8:13 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Musical Theatre Guild Presents FANNY


Join LA’s Musical Theatre Guild for a one night only performance of FANNY Monday, November 14th at 7:30pm at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. Based on Marcel Pagnol's trilogy of plays (Marius, Fanny and César), FANNY is the bittersweet story of love, secrets and star-crossed young lovers on the Marseilles waterfront and features a captivating Harold Rome score and book by S. N. Behrman & Joshua Logan.

The performance will feature MTG members Chuck Bergman, Dan Callaway, Christopher Carothers, Robin DeLano, Jennifer Gordon, Michael G. Hawkins, David Holmes, Damon Kirsche, Marsha Kramer, Roy Leake, Jr., Jen Malenke, William Martinez, Brandon Michael Perkins, Mark C. Reis and Jennifer Shelton, along with guest artists Cami Gonzales and Carter Thomas.

FANNY is directed by Larry Raben, with musical direction by Daniel Thomas and choreography by Cheryl Baxter. Teri Bibb is the MTG Production Coordinator.

The Alex Theatre is located at 216 N. Brand Blvd in Glendale. Click Here for tickets and more information or call 818-243-ALEX.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
10:51 AM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Monday, October 24, 2011

SALLY SPECTRE The Musical, She's Ba-ack

Welcome to Purgatory. Sally Spectre the Musical by David P. Johnson has returned two years after its original production with a streamlined book, new music, and an intimate staging by director Janet Miller at NoHo Stages. The story about a little girl with an axe embedded in her head feels much cleaner this time around, though it is still not without its challenges.

The 50th anniversary of young Sally’s (Justine Huxley) demise is approaching, and before it arrives, she must remember how she died or be trapped in her bedroom limbo forever. Demons in the form of soul-collecting wraiths haunt her dreams and her loyal protectors (toys from her earthly days) spring to life to keep her from harm and help her recall the events of the night she was killed.

Their attempts to fulfill both of these actions make up the majority of the musical, along with Sally’s budding friendship with Timothy the Wraith (Paul Walling), who isn’t really that scary at all. While these storylines provide some nice moments of interaction - Matthew Hoffman’s toy soldier is stalwart and true, and Timothy the Wraith is reinvented in a much more handsome, likeable form - they do take the urgency off of the real conflict.

Sally ends up having little to do that relates to solving her own dilemma. Other than one unsuccessful attempt to leave her room at the top of the show, she spends most of the rest of the time playing and somewhat casually avoiding the task at hand. It's a lesson worth the exploration though; face your fears and it will set you free. Less time talking or singing about what she needs to do and letting us actually see her struggle with doing it could really transform this piece, which feels like it still hasn’t quite reached its potential.

Costumes for the wraiths (by Barbara Weisel, Gillian and Rebecca Lane, Kathy Schoeppner, and David Johnson) are outstanding and create quite a macabre effect, especially when combined with Yancey Dunham’s lighting in the opening prologue. Timothy’s robe detail is the best of the bunch, however all the costumes are thoughtfully designed.

Also featured in the cast are Hudsen Cy Schuchart, Robert W. Laur and Sarah Schulte, set design is by Dan Keough and Kathy Schoeppner, and sound design by Ellen Juhlin. Sally Spectre runs through November 20th at NoHo Stages, 4934 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood. Click Here for tickets or call 323-810-9476.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page
Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
4:03 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Boston Court Presents Gigi Bermingham in CABARET NOEL


Boston Court presents Cabaret Noel, a musical evening of holiday warmth and hilarity with award-winning actor, playwright and chanteuse Gigi Bermingham. Join Gigi as she celebrates the holidays in song – in French and English – featuring immortal Gallic carols and scintillating new tunes by Matthew Goldsby. Backed by artful musicians and the trilling of luscious damsels, Amanda Pajer and Michelle Allsopp, Gigi weaves a whimsical tale and brings a taste of France to the holiday season.

Five performances only, November 30 - December 04, 2011. Boston Court is located at 70 North Mentor Avenue Pasadena, CA. Click Here for tickets and more information.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
9:39 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Jazz Detour: Pearl and Winkler, My Current Favorites

Deborah Pearl
Souvenir of You - New Lyrics to Benny Carter Classics
Appearing at Vitello’s
November 3, 2011

Earlier this year Pearl released the CD as a tribute to her friend, the late, great jazz legend Benny Carter. A longtime friend of Carter and his wife Hilma, she has written lyrics to some of his classic instrumentals and created a tribute that is rich, tuneful, and full of his everlasting joie de vivre. I love it because it’s a CD that makes me happy when I listen to it. Two of the songs are digitally mastered so that Pearl is actually able to sing with Carter and his Big Band. Ah, the wonders of technology!

The first is Happy Feet (At The Savoy), an infectious big band swing tune that was originally recorded live for Carter’s Harlem Renaissance album. Now with the addition of Pearl’s clear, bright vocals it is transformed into a vibrant new classic dance tune that finds her trading off sections with Carter and his orchestra. The other is Anniversary Dance, a waltz that plays out like a scene from an old time movie with Pearl conveying the sweetness of the lyric with her mellow rubato musical phrasing. These two cuts alone hit it out of the park, but happily there’s more.

Additional highlights include Wonderland, a lighthearted melody Carter wrote about the breathlessness of love at first sight; Doozy Blues, an up-tempo tune that has Pearl spitting out lyrics with sparkling precision and scatting with sass; and Sail Away With Me, an easy breezy favorite that will take you away to a Caribbean beach at sunset. In her closing track, Souvenir of You, Pearl sums up her feelings about her mentor and friend with the words, “Time takes our verses away/But melodies live on/Forever playing your song/At heaven’s door, and here/A souvenir - of you.” The entire collection is perfection.

You can catch Deborah Pearl live in her Tribute to Benny Carter Show on Thursday, November 3rd at Vitello's Jazz and Supper Club, 4349 Tujunga Ave, Studio City. She will be appearing with The Lou Forestieri Trio and guest artist Don Shelton on saxophone and flute. The show begins at 8:00 pm. For reservations call 818-769-0905. Deborah Pearl Souvenir of You is available on cdBaby, iTunes, Amazon and at http://www.deborahpearl.com/.

* * * * *

Mark Winkler

Sweet Spot
Appearing at Vitello's
Saturday, November 19, 2011


This is one hot CD and my latest guilty pleasure. Winkler’s newest collection Sweet Spot is a sleek, sexy musical departure into the land of cool that begins with an ultra-hip version of Like Young featuring not only his own unique vocals, but Bob Sheppard on sax and Eli Brueggemann on piano as well.

His original tune, Catch Me If You Can, though not related to the Broadway musical or film, has an easygoing samba groove that captures the flavor of the 60’s – think James Bond with a Vesper Martini shaken, not stirred, aboard a yacht and you’ve got the idea. Two more of my favorite tracks are his up-tempo riff on the Gershwin brothers’ But Not For Me that they originally wrote for the 1930 musical Girl Crazy, and a groovin' version of On Broadway.

In fact, you may know Winkler as a jazz composer and musician, but in the musical theatre world we know him as a longtime Broadway baby, with musicals like Naked Boys Singing!, Too Old for the Chorus, and Bark! to his credit – plus his jazz noir musical Play it Cool, which recently played the Acorn Theatre in New York and starred Sally Mayes. Included on this CD is a song from that musical, Jazz Is a Special Taste; a seductive melody that lingers like a whisper in an underground club and a lyric that ponders the dangerous reputation of jazz. The heat ramps up by the time he and guest vocalist Barbara Morrison rip into the title track Sweet Spot, a steamy little number that oozes sexy.

There's also a comedic specialty number, Somewhere in Brazil, that gets both a west coast and east coast treatment. In it a mediocre jazz singer sings of the perils of playing small-time clubs in Encino while dreaming of being in Rio. Little does he know that the keyboard player has his own daydream happening as well.

From top to bottom, Sweet Spot is an irresistibly sexy CD that satisfies with each track. I predict it will become your new guilty pleasure too.    

Mark Winkler will be appearing on Saturday, November 19th at Vitello's Jazz and Supper Club, 4349 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, along with Stu Elster on piano, Tim Emmons on bass, Peter Buck on drums, and Ann Patterson on saxophone. The show begins at 8:00 pm. For reservations call 818-769-0905. Mark Winkler’s Sweet Spot is available on cdBaby, iTunes, Amazon and at http://www.markwinklermusic.com/.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
6:18 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Friday, October 21, 2011

News Around Town

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and Chris Isaacson will kick off Upright Cabaret’s American Icon Series’ 3rd season with Heart and Soul, starring American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado, Broadway’s Shoshana Bean, and Sylvia Maccalla, celebrating the music of Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick & Whitney Houston. Todd Schroeder directs this one night only multi-media concert event which takes place on Sunday, November 6th at 7:30 pm in the theatre’s new Cabaret Lounge

* * * * *
The Coterie at The Renaissance Hollywood Hotel will present Les Misérables: Unplugged on November 3, 4, 12, and 13. Produced by Jordan Beck with original direction by J. Scott Lapp and musical direction/arrangements by Brian P. Kennedy, the cast will feature Broadway performers David Burnham, Kathy Deitch, Julie Garnyé, Adam Hunter, Richard Kinsey, James Snyder and Jessica-Snow Wilson.

* * * * *
Take it from the Top Productions and Broadway Dreams will present a Broadway Master Class workshop on Saturday, November 5, at Los Angeles Theatre Center to be taught by Broadway veterans Paul Canaan and Tyler Hanes. Participants will learn a dance combination focusing on style and storytelling, and may also perform an ‘audition’ song for feedback from Canaan and Hanes. There will also be a talkback session with cast members from the new musical Bring It On, which opens at the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center on November 11.


The instructors are Broadway veterans Paul Canaan (Kinky Boots, Catch Me If You Can, Legally Blonde, Miss Saigon, Thoroughly Modern Millie, La Cage Aux Folles and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and Tyler Hanes (Oklahoma!, Urban Cowboy, The Boy From Oz, The Frogs, Sweet Charity, Hairspray, and A Chorus Line). Canaan’s passion for education in the arts inspired his company ‘Take It From The Top’ with partner Laura Bell Bundy. The workshop is $65 per person. Click here for more information.

* * * * *
West Coast Ensemble has announced that after 30 years as a membership company, it is discontinuing its membership component effective November 1. Comments Co-Artistic Directors Les Hanson and Richard Israel,  “Over the past few years, it has become increasingly challenging for West Coast Ensemble Theatre to provide an artistic home for its membership. While WCE has continued to present award-winning theatre in a variety of spaces over the last several years, the membership component of the company has suffered due to the lack of a dedicated space.  Without the ability to provide a true artistic base, it no longer makes sense to maintain a corps of dues-paying actors without providing them with the creative outlet that brought them to WCE in the first place.  Therefore, after careful consideration and soul-searching, a decision has been made to discontinue the membership of West Coast Ensemble Theatre.


We are tremendously proud of the journey West Coast Ensemble has taken in its 30 years in Hollywood and we applaud the courageous actors and artists who have comprised our membership, served our patrons and graced our various stages over the years.  We hope that this decision will not be seen as an end, but as the beginning of new opportunities for all of us.  West Coast Ensemble Theatre will continue to operate as a non-membership theatre producing entity, and is actively pursuing opportunities for co-productions, as well as options for partnerships with other companies.”

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels: , ,

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
11:38 AM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kritzerland at the Gardenia Presents KIMMELSONGS


Kritzerland at the Gardenia has announced that its November show will feature Kimmelsongs on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm. The show will star Guy Haines, Melody Hollis, Kevin Symons, Alet Taylor, and Shannon Warne with special guest Jason Graae. Musical direction is by Richard Berent.

You may know that Kritzerland host Bruce Kimmel is the producer of a boatload of musical theatre and soundtrack albums (his label, Kritzerland, just issued its 100th CD release), but he’s also a writer, director, and composer/lyricist. This show is a celebration of the Blu-ray release of his cult film classic, The First Nudie Musical. In addition, the evening will also feature songs from many of his other shows and films, including The Brain From Planet X, The Creature Wasn’t Nice, Stages, Together Again, and more. It's a fast-paced, fun evening of song and chatter (and there’s even a special gift for all attendees)!

Dinner begins at 7:00 pm and will guarantee you a table. Cover charge is $15 with a two-drink minimum. No drink minimum with dinner. Please make your reservations as soon as possible as the show will sell out. For reservations call 323-467-7444. The Gardenia is located at 7066 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
7:35 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Troubies bring you A CHRISTMAS WESTSIDE STORY for the Holidays


Celebrate the Season with the Troubadour Theater Company and A Christmas Westside Story, directed by Matt Walker, at the Falcon Theatre this holiday season. Previews begin November 30, with opening taking place on December 9. The show will continue through January 15, 2012.

The Troubies will bring together two classic tales, A Christmas Story and West Side Story as only they can. Somewhere in America, Ralphie wants to be Cool and get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Will his parents ever believe A Boy Like That can handle a Red Ryder? Or will Santa use One Hand, One Heart to ignore Ralphie and give a BB gun to Maria instead? Tell yourself I Feel Pretty, hop on a Jet and dance your way to the show Tonight!

Tickets go on sale November 8 and will be available by calling the box office at 818-955-8101 or online at this link.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
10:24 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

DON'T HUG ME, I'M PREGNANT and Baby's On the Way

Patrick Foley, Rebekah Dunn and Bert Emmett
Photo Credit: Doug Engalla

Don’t Hug Me, I’m Pregnant, now playing at the Secret Rose in North Hollywood, is the fourth musical in the Don’t Hug Me franchise written by brothers Phil and Paul Olson and directed by Doug Engalla. It doesn’t claim to be Sondheim or Webber & Rice, or even Rodgers & Hammerstein (and you’ll be sorely disappointed if you go hoping to find anything close to them), but if your taste runs more along the lines of Da Yoopers, you’re in the right place.

The characters are familiar. Gunner (Patrick Foley), Clara (Rebekah Dunn), Bernice (Natalie Lander), Kanute (Bert Emmett) and Aarvid (Gregory D. Barnett) have all been here before and the plot – slim as it is – finds Gunner’s wife Clara 8½ months pregnant when a snowstorm hits and the baby is born in the bar.

The writing is mostly a series of jokes, one-liners and puns that wear thin by the second act, though each of the actors has his or her laugh-out-loud moments. Dunn’s hormonal mood swings never fail, especially when directed at her hubby (Foley makes a great straight man for her barbs), and Lander lands a few well-timed zingers at Barnett’s expense. Even Barnett is so stupid at times that he’s actually funny, though there’s only so much you can take before it becomes tiresome.

You can hear a song cue coming a mile away but it works for the presentational style of the music. Stan Mazin choreographs the numbers with a showman’s vaudevillian flair that is one of the most delightful elements of the show. There’s even a slow-motion scene that involves the men trying to get Gunner in the kitchen when the baby is delivered that is hilarious. By the time we get to Gunner’s final song “Words Can’t Express,” Engalla wisely drops the schtick and lets us have a much-needed moment of sweetness.

Chris Winfield has done a bang-up job on the set. With 99+ bottles of beer on the wall, and lake trout and small mouth bass mounted next to Leinenkugel beer signs, it looks exactly like all the bars I remember from summer vacations fishing at the lake.

Don’t Hug Me, I’m Pregnant runs through November 20 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood. Click Here for tickets and more information.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page
Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
7:46 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Monday, October 17, 2011

International City Theatre's THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM

We were sitting in the audience waiting for The Robber Bridegroom to begin at International City Theatre and the faint aroma of hickory smoke filled the air. I don’t know why it made me so happy but it did. Maybe it was because I’m used to theatres creating pre-show atmosphere in the usual ways with music, sound effects, or visuals…but using the sense of smell and doing it in such a subtle way was…brilliant!

It completely made sense, given that most of the story takes place in 1795 in the Appalachian back country of Mississippi and the Natchez Trace. Director/choreographer Todd Nielsen uses a barn dance setting to bring the audience into the story and that means the energy is high, the barbeque is on and, you guessed it, hickory smoke is in the air. I was hooked. The show is filled with that kind of attention to detail and the result is a rollicking, character-driven tale with down-home country charm and a sweet bluegrass score.

It’s based on a 1942 novella by Eudora Welty adapted from an American folk tale, with music written by Robert Waldman and book & lyrics by Alfred Uhry, who would later win a Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award for Driving Miss Daisy as well as two Tony Awards for Parade and The Last Night of Ballyhoo.

Bandit of the Wood Jamie Lockhart (Chad Doreck) pretends to be a gentleman of upstanding character who conveniently saves wealthy plantation owner Clemment Musgrove (Michael Stone Forrest) from being killed by the dreaded Harp brothers. Big Harp (Tyler Ledon) does the plottin’ and Little Harp (Michael Uribes) does the swattin’ but the two are inseparable on account of the fact that Big Harp is a severed head, which he’d gotten cut off for stealing. It’s a completely ridiculous and hilarious relationship that’s ripe for comedy, and some pretty great twisted choreography, especially during the pair’s big duet “Two Heads.”

Clemment decides to marry his daughter Rosamund (Jamison Lingle) off to Jamie unaware that the pair have met by chance in the woods and already begun a romance. Neither Rosamund nor Jamie know who the other really is because each is in disguise – he as the robber; she as a simpleton. Further complications occur when Clemment’s second wife Salome (Sue Goodman), uglier and meaner than the first, plots to have Rosamund killed by a dimwitted boy named Goat (Adam Wylie). Luckily Goat really is dumb as dirt and never accomplishes his task, but the lengths he goes to are downright hysterical and Wylie nails the broad comedy at every turn.

Performances are uniformly strong throughout the cast. Doreck makes a dashing “robber bridegroom” and Lingle gets the single most beautiful song in the show, “Sleepy Man,” singing it with a delicacy and heartfelt sincerity that is one example why The Robber Bridegroom is much more that just a yee-haw country romp. Forrest is solid as her rich, though somewhat clueless father, who only has eyes for his beautiful daughter, and Goodman is terrific as the tiara-clad greedy Salome, who surprisingly (and happily) pulls out a gorgeous pop belt when she sings, defying the stereotype of the evil stepmother.

Much of The Robber Bridegroom’s fun comes from the ensemble using objects like boards, crates, and each other to become the visuals and sound effects for the characters’ storytelling. Horses, ferry boats, doors and chase scenes through the woods leap from the audience’s imagination with merely a hint of a suggestion from the cast. Because of the improvisatory nature of the action, the unexpected often happens. When it does, as on opening night when Teya Patt’s hair fell off in the middle of a number, you just smile, pick it up, and put it back on like she did without trying to hide it. They are, after all, actors playing characters, playing characters, and an audience loves to cheer for an actor who let’s them be part of an accidental moment. Go Teya!

Nielsen’s animated staging fits everything together like a puzzle; each piece relates to every other piece it touches and it takes all of them to propel the story forward. He's got a lot of moving parts, and between all the running and dancing and jumping and hollering, he delivers quite a show.

You can’t have bluegrass without a good fiddle player either and musical director/pianist Gerald Sternbach has Roman Selezinka, along with Gary Lee on banjo and guitar, and Brad Babinski on bass. The band is sensational and since they’re on stage with the rest of the actors the entire time, you get to really see them in action.

Stephen Gifford’s set facilitates the action by providing an open two-story rustic design that serves as all the interiors and exteriors, from the barn to the inn to the woods, with stripped logs that disguise the platform supports. It’s playful, fun, and a perfect canvas for this style of musical, along with Patty and Gordon Briles’ props and Kim DeShazo’s costumes.

You'll have a foot-stompin' good time at International City Theatre's The Robber Bridegroom and since the musical isn't often done in Southern California, don't delay. It only runs through November 6, 2011 at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd in Long Beach. Click Here for tickets and more information.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
11:31 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show Camps Out at The Old Globe

Matt McGrath and Sydney James
Harcourt. Photos by Henry DiRocco

No one could have guessed that when Richard O’Brien combined his love of late night sci-fi movies (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Flash Gordon) with the look and sound of 1970s glam rockers like David Bowie (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars) a cultural phenomenon was about to be born. What started as a way to have a few laughs became the granddaddy cult classic of them all, The Rocky Horror Show.

Watching sweet transvestite Frank ‘N’ Furter and his minions from the alien planet of transsexual Transylvania may not be as shocking as it once was, but the show still continues to fulfill its original purpose, push a few buttons, and offer up one helluva good time. If you haven’t seen a production in awhile, do yourself a favor and make the drive down to The Old Globe in San Diego. Director James Vazquez and JT Horenstein, responsible for the musical staging and choreography, have put together a stylish Rocky that keeps the laughs coming…and coming.

Audience engagement is alive and well. You can purchase an audience participation kit with props to throw and instructions about what to shout, and when, before the show begins. And I have to say, there’s something really funny about looking over and seeing otherwise serious theatre patrons (many over the age of 60) raising newspapers over their head, waving lights, and shouting “Say It!” when Frank takes a long pause during the word “antici….pation.”


The story set-up finds innocent lovebirds Brad and Janet stranded during a rainstorm in the middle of nowhere, giving the phrase, “it was a dark and stormy night,” a whole new meaning…especially when they land on the doorstep of sweet transvestite Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter. Inside the Frankenstein place they find a kind of over-stimulated time warp where their own sexual boundaries are about to be crossed, cross-dressing is the rage, and nothing is really what it seems. It’s all quite silly, and intended to be such, so be prepared to give yourself over to the campy humor for maximum enjoyment.

A kickass onstage band led by musical director Mike Wilkins and full throttle performances by the cast keep the energy in high gear, played out on Donyale Werle’s kitschy neon/techno-themed set. Grainy black and white projections by Aaron Rhyne enhance the 1950s movie house feel along with Rui Rita’s textural lighting and Emily Rebholz’s bawdy, colorful costumes.

The role of Frank ‘N’ Furter comes with a long legacy attached, including the original performance of Tim Curry immortalized on film, but a seductive Matt McGrath puts his own spin on it with his playful yet menacing presence. The way he tosses a smart aleck aside to the audience over his shoulder is absolutely hysterical, while posing with his hip thrust to the right pouting like a Goth Tinkerbell in black bustier, fish nets stockings and heels. His nemisis, David Andrew Macdonald, is the handsome, tall drink of water who narrates the show before turning into his alter ego, Dr. Scott.

Cast of The Rocky Horror Show

Laura Shoop and Jason Wooten double as the Ushers who invite you into the show and brother and sister/lovers Magenta and Riff Raff. Wooten is a straight up hard rocker with a wicked high tenor who previously played the role on Broadway and Shoop’s throaty European accent plays well in tandem.

As the sweet and virginal Janet and her obtuse boyfriend Brad, Jeanna de Waal and Kelsey Kurz have a few tricks up their sleeves, none the least of which are their own surprisingly powerful singing voices, and Nadine Isenegger’s Columbia is a spitfire of angst who taps up a storm. And then there’s Rocky (Sydney James Harcourt), created by Frank ‘N’ Furter as the perfect companion - muscular, athletic and sexy…and yes boys and girls, he can sing, dance and move in ways that will amaze you.

The Old Globe’s splashy and enticing "science fiction double feature" is a winner from beginning to end so rock out with the show before it closes on November 6th!

An additional upcoming event for you die-hard Rocky fans out there is the Rocky Horror Costume Bash on October 28th. See the performance and join the cast at the after-party in the Prado Ballroom, complete with a DJ, dancing and costume contest. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided by the Cohn Restaurant Group. Plus, director James Vasquez will be on hand to teach the “Time Warp.” Click Here for ticket information for the costume bash.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
9:30 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0

Actors Co-op's THE 1940'S RADIO HOUR

Nathan Bell, Kimi Walker, Michael Downing, and
Jeffrey Scott Parsons. Photos by Lindsay Schnebly

Actors Co-op has opened its 20th season with a tried and true musical that previously had the distinction of being its longest-running show ever, The 1940’s Radio Hour. It’s not hard to see why either, for it contains some of the best songs written during the Big Band era, and its message of hope, patriotism and sacrifice is one that still rings true today. Filled with standards like “Our Love is Here to Stay,” “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Blues in the Night,” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” it easily takes you back to the time when radio was king, rationing was the norm, and people rallied together to help each other get by.

It’s December 21, 1942 and radio station WOV and the Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade are getting ready for their holiday broadcast live from the Hotel Astor’s Algonquin Room. Everything is a flurry of activity as the station personnel begin to arrive welcomed by Pops (Gary Ballard), the old timer who works the door and serves up laughs as a bookie on the side. General Manager Clifton Feddington (Steve Gustafson), with his perennial ulcer, is crazed as usual, and stage manager Lou Cohn (Gus Corrado) is whipping everyone into place.

Gary Ballard, Gus Corrado and Ben Ryan

The “everyone” includes Cavalcade family members like Ann Collier (Catherine Gray), the show’s hometown heart & soul, a down to earth gal with a velvety smooth voice, and Johnny Cantone (Jeff Guilfoyle at this performance), her handsome leading man who tends to drink too much to cover his frustrations. There’s also ditzy Ginger Brooks (Gina D’Acciaro), boy-next-door B.J. Gibson (Michael Dye at this performance) and his very peppy sweetheart Connie Miller (Tawny Mertes), comedian Neal Tilden (Brian Habicht), gutsy torch singer Geneva Lee Browne (Kimi Walker), Stanley the sound booth operator (Thomas Chavira), trumpet player Biff Baker (Nathan Bell) who is about to go into the Armed Forces, and young delivery boy Wally Ferguson (Ben Ryan), who would love to get his very first break in the biz.

There is great affection among the bunch and the details we learn about the characters, both from the action onstage as well as in the Variety Cavalcade “program,” make it an even more personal experience. It starts from the moment you walk into the theatre with Mark Svastics’ terrific set design, Paula Higgins’ costumes, and Krys Fehervari’s hair and make-up, all a visual delight. Pops is already in place and the action slowly winds its way from background atmosphere to show time as you watch. The effect is friendly and inviting, and director Nan McNamara keeps the energetic pace up throughout the show without making it chaotic or overwhelming.

Gray and Walker score big in the vocal department; Gray with “Old Black Magic” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and Walker in “Rose of the Rio Grande” and “I Got It Bad,” and the company also captures the distinct sound of the 40’s with its choral blend on numbers like “Kalamazoo” and “Ain’t She Sweet.” Veteran actors Ballard, Gustafson and Corrado give self-assured performances that provide humor (Corrado is also the foley artist) and heart as only good character men can, and Ballard has one of the most poignant moments at the end of the show that gets me every time.

Linda Kerns (Zootie) musical directs and also leads the onstage big band orchestra. The fun choreography, complete with tap dancing, sparklers and the American flag, is by Julie Hall.

The 1940’s Radio Hour runs through November 13, 2011 in the Actors Co-op’s Crossley Theatre in Hollywood. Click Here for tickets and information.

For more Musicals in LA news:
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
Click Here to return to home page

Labels:

Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
1:06 PM
| CLICK HERE to comment 0