Saturday, November 2, 2013

Musical News for Saturday November 2, 2013

MUSICALS: San Diego’s favorite holiday tradition is back for its 16th incredible year when Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! returns to The Old Globe Nov. 16 – De. 28 (opening night is Nov. 21 at 70m). The Grinch is directed by James Vásquez with book and lyrics by Timothy Mason and music by Mel Marvin.  The original production was conceived and directed by Jack O’Brien with additional lyrics by Theodor S. Geisel, additional music by Albert Hague and original choreography by John DeLuca. The cast will include Steve Blanchard as The Grinch, Jeffrey Schecter as Young Max, Steve Gunderson as Old Max, and Taylor Coleman and Gabriella Dimmick alternating as Cindy-Lou Who. Also featured in the cast are Geno Carr (Papa Who), Bets Malone (Mama Who), Victor Morris (Grandpa Who), Eileen Bowman (Grandma Who), Isabelle Simone Pizzurro and Kaitlyn O’Leary (Annie Who), Caitlin McAuliffe and Remy Margaret Corbin (Betty-Lou Who), Brandon Saldivar and Imahni King-Murillo (Boo Who) and Luke Babbitt and Dylan Nalbandian (Danny Who).

A Noise Within continues its family holiday tradition by presenting its production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the ultimate tale of forgiveness, opening Saturday, Dec. 7 and closing Sunday, Dec. 22. This is the second year that ANW has presented the timeless holiday classic, once again accompanied by a special fundraiser event, “Fezziwig’s Festive Holiday Tea” on December 8, which directly supports Classics Live! - ANW’s education programs. The event will feature a live auction hosted by NBC4’s Fritz Coleman. Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott co-direct Dickens’ masterpiece about the redemptive and transformative power of love with an adaptation by Geoff Elliott that uses Dickens’ remarkable words exclusively, as well as evocative original music by composer Ego Plum. The cast includes Geoff Elliott as Scrooge), Robertson Dean as the Narrator, along with Stephen Rockwell, Rafael Goldstein, Jill Hill, Mitchell Edmonds, Deborah Strang, Alan Blumenfeld, Alison Elliott, Diana Gonzalez-Morett, Brendan Haley, Georgia Miller, Jack Elliott Boy, and Marie Sullivan.

Pasadena Playhouse has announced that Bruce Vilanch will play Widow Twankey in Aladdin and His Winter Wish, starring previously announced Ben Vereen as The Genie, Jordan Fisher as Aladdin, Ashley Argota as The Princess and Richard Karn as The Sultan. Commenting on the announcement, lead producers at Lythgoe Family Productions, Kris and Becky Lythgoe said, “We are so thrilled to have Bruce Vilanch join the cast. Widow Twankey (Aladdin's Mother in British Panto) is a role that demands expert comedic timing and improv skill, a role played by the top comedians and actors in the UK – including Sir Ian McKellen. Bruce Vilanch with his musical theatre prowess and comedic finesse was born to play the role of Widow Twankey. Aladdin runs December 11 – 29, with a gala press opening on Wed., December 11 at 7pm.

CABARET: Theatre West present The Face, Behind The Face, Behind The Face, opening Nov. 29. Created and performed by Anthony Gruppuso, it is directed by Calvin Remsberg and features musical direction by John Dickson. This cabaret-style entertainment was first performed at Theatre West last March as part of its Sunday Night Solo Series. Response was so favorable and strong that the show is returning for an additional three performances. In The Face, Behind The Face, Behind The Face, a performing artist confronts the ups and downs and struggles of his life and career and is led to the conclusion that his voice and his music are the keys to his success. Gruppuso will perform 19 musical numbers including favorites from the Broadway canon, pop standards, lesser-known gems, and some brand-new material. Tickets: $20. For reservations call (323) 851-7977 or visit

Angel City Chorale kicks off the holiday season with Joyful, Joyful, its 20th annual holiday concert and sing-along, taking place over two nights the first weekend of December on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8 at Wilshire United Methodist Church. The 160-member choir will perform its unique mix of Christmas and Chanukah favorites, as well as original compositions, in the group’s eclectic combination of styles ranging from classical to pop, incorporating contemporary, world, and gospel beats. Both performances start at 7pm. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, with discounts for students and seniors. Wilshire United Methodist Church is located at 4350 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010. For more info visit or call 310-943-9231.

BENEFITS: Co-Producers Juliana Hansen and Jonathan White will present a one night only benefit performance, One Starry Night: Hollywood and Broadway Come Together to Fight ALS, on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at 8 pm, hosted by The Pasadena Playhouse. The evening will also include a silent auction and VIP post-show meet-and-greet. Proceeds will provide critical funding for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter’s mission priorities in care services, public policy, and cutting-edge global research toward treatments and cure. Directed by Bruce Kimmel, with musical direction and orchestrations by Richard Allen, the evening will feature performances by Obba Babatunde, James Barbour, Kay Cole, Daisy Eagan, Crow Garrett, Jason Graae, Ilene Graff, Juliana Hansen, Melora Hardin, Jean Louisa Kelly, Jason and Nolan Livesay, Gary Morgan and The Flying Morgans, Karen Morrow, James Mulligan, Reagan Pasternak, Jonathan Pendragon, Christy Carlson Romano, Joan Ryan, Rex Smith, Charlene Tilton, and Terri White, with more to be announced. Tickets range from $25 - $100, with premium seating available at $250. The VIP post-show meet and greet is available for an additional $75. To purchase online go to or call (626) 356-7529.

Not a musical but here’s another one that benefits a very good cause: Zombie Joes Underground Theatre Group proudly presents the world premiere of Jeri Batzdorff's sweet and zany “pre-holiday” dramedy Bob Hopes Birthday, about a grandmother with Alzheimer’s whose caregiver leaves suddenly, bringing reluctant family members together to care for her. Written and directed by Jeri Batzdorff.  A benefit for Alzheimer's research. Sundays at 7pm, Nov. 3 – 24 at ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Tickets are $15, For reservations call (818) 202- 4120 or go to

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Comedy Faceposted by Ellen Dostal, MusicalsInLA @
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