Thursday, March 20, 2014

Musical News for Thursday, March 20, 2014

OPENINGS: Pasadena Playhouse has announced its 2014-15 season, which includes the critically acclaimed Stop Kiss (Nov. 4-30), by Diana Son, directed by Seema Sueko; Sleeping Beauty, Panto at the Playhouse (Dec. 10 – Jan 4), by Kris Lythgoe, directed by Bonnie Lythgoe. This is an updated version of the classic story in the style of the traditional British family Panto which features family-friendly magic, a comedic twist and contemporary music.; Two for the Seesaw (Jan. 27 – Feb. 22), by William Gibson, directed by Sheldon Epps; Pygmalion (Mar. 17 – Apr. 12), by George Bernard Shaw. In addition, the Playhouse hopes to present Where We Belong by BeBe Winans & Charles Randolph-Wright, directed by Sheldon Epps, dates TBD. This world premiere musical tells the story of BeBe Winans and his sister CeCe Winans’ early involvement with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s religious television show ‘The PTL Club,’ which launched their careers. This pulsating production also explores what took place after they moved on from Tammy Faye before the downfall of the evangelical husband-wife duo’s Christian empire.” www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

Pasadena Playhouse also brings back by popular demand Gene Kelly: The Legacy, An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly for three performances – Friday, April 18 at 8pm and Saturday, April 19 at 2pm and 8pm. During a unique evening, Patricia Ward Kelly - his widow, biographer and the person who knew him best - presents an intimate portrait of this dynamic and innovative artist who created some of the most memorable and iconic scenes in film history. Her compelling presentation combines rare and familiar film clips, previously unreleased audio recordings, personal memorabilia, and insights culled from her hours of interviews and conversations with her husband. Tickets ($15 - $70 plus premium) 626-356-7529 or www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

Out of the Box Theatre Company will present an intimate black box production of Bonnie & Clyde the Musical at Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara April 3 – 13, bringing it to Southern California for the first time since its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse prior to its Broadway run. The musical features a Tony Award-nominated score by Frank Wildhorn and Don Block, and a book by Ivan Menchell. The cast features recent PCPA alum Lafras le Roux as Clyde Barrow and Santa Barbara actress Katherine Bottoms as Bonnie Parker, with William Schneiderman (Buck Barrow), Samantha Eve (Blanche Barrow), Deborah Bertling, Don Margolin, Marc Nicolas, Olivia O’Brien, Shannon Saleh, Craig Scott, Christopher Lee Short, Dillon Stave, Leslie Story, and Dillon Yuhasz. The creative team includes music direction by John Douglas, scenic and lighting design by Theodore Dolas, and technical direction by Brad Spaulding. Tickets: (805) 963-0408 or www.outoftheboxtheatre.org. [Photo of Lafras le Roux and Katherine Bottoms by Sophia Winnikof]

Phillip Hayes Dean’s Paul Robeson will resume performances at Ebony Repertory Theatre on Friday, March 21. Two-time Emmy Award-winner Keith David stars in this one-man play with music, returning to the stage after recovering from a knee injury. Accompaniment is by pianist/musical director Byron J. Smith and choreography is by Keith Young. The production will continue through Sunday, March 30, which was part of the previously announced schedule. Three additional performances are set for Friday and Saturday, April 18 & 19 at 8:00 pm; and Sunday, April 20 at 7:00 pm. Paul Robeson plays at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (4718 West Washington Boulevard) in Los Angeles. A powerful chronicle of the life of Paul Robeson, Phillip Hayes Dean’s play takes us from his childhood in New Jersey to his adult life around the world. An All-American athlete and a lawyer with Columbia Law School credentials, Robeson faces the racism prevalent in society in the early part of the twentieth century. He strives to rise above, and it is his triumph in that struggle that turns Robeson into a modern day hero. Tickets: (323-964-9766) or www.ebonyrep.org.

The Grove Theatre announces The Kingdom, A Rock Musical, for 6 performances only running on weekends April 25 – May 4. Starring Richard Bermudez as Jesus, The Kingdom is a high energy, Rock, Hip-Hop, Gospel & Pop version of the Passion of Jesus Christ (think Jesus Christ Superstar), that focuses on the life, trial, execution & resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Through dramatic storytelling, dynamic modern music, authentic costumes and realistic sets, this gritty retelling of the greatest story ever told brings to musical life the last week of Jesus of Nazareth. Although The Kingdom chronicles the story of Christ’s trial and crucifixion, it’s an ultimately uplifting tale that focuses on love, hope and human compassion. Tickets: (909) 920-4343  or www.grovetheatre.com. The Grove Theatre is located at 276 E. Ninth Street, Upland, CA 91786.

CABARET/CONCERTS: glory|struck Productions is launching The Album Project, a new concert-theatre series inspired by the music of today’s popular singer songwriters beginning Sunday, March 30 at 7:00 pm. Performances will take place at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. The Album Project is a love letter to the artistic impact of records in a changing music landscape. Each volume produced will showcase a contemporary album, featuring live performances by some of LA’s brightest stars of stage and screen, as we re-imagine the music of the piece and journey through the tracks, front to back, illuminating the inherent stories and themes in a unique theatrical experience. 

Volume One of the series will launch on March 30th as The Album Project:+, showcasing songs from Ed Sheeran’s debut studio album, which was certified quintuple platinum in the United Kingdom and was the highest-grossing US debut of a British artist since 2009. The concert will feature performances of Sheeran’s hits such as “The A Team,” “Lego House,” “Give Me Love,” “Drunk,” “Small Bump,” “You Need Me, I Don’t Nee­­­d You,” and “Grade 8” by Lindsay Pearce, Anthony Starble, Nicci Claspell, Ben Caron, Topher Rhys and Jamie Lee Barnard. The Album Project: + is developed and helmed by director Kate Sullivan Gibbens (Spring Awakening in Concert) with musical direction by Elmo Zapp (bare) and feature  new orchestrations and vocal arrangements by Elmo Zapp, Alex Seller, Patrick Burns, and Anthony Starble. Reservations: 818-754-8700 or www.inticketing.com/events/403715. Additional performances, venues, and volumes will be announced at a later date. http://facebook.com/TheAlbumProject

Kritzerland presents These April Foolish Things Sunday April 6 at 7:00 pm at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal in North Hollywood. Performers include Sandy Bainum, Zachary Ford, Madison Claire Parks, Jenna Lee Rosen, Sami Staitman, Shannon Warne and Robert Yacko, with special guests Andrea Marcovicci and Richard Sherman. Music direction is by Lloyd Cooper. For reservations call (818) 754-8700.
Fraser Entertainment Group presents An Evening of Classic Broadway on Monday, March 24, 8:00 pm.


The show is aglow with dynamic renditions of your favorite Broadway musical numbers featuring Julie Garnyé, Damon Kirsche, Dennis Kyle, Kelly Lester, Matt Musgrove, Kate Pazakis, and Patty Reid, with musical director John Boswell. Songs across Broadway history, by such iconic composers as Berlin, Kander & Ebb, Lloyd Webber, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Schwartz and Styne, make this an unforgettable evening of entertainment. Upstairs at Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City $15 cover + 2-item minimum. Valet and street parking available. Click Here for tickets and information or call (818) 769-0905.  

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