Thursday, March 27, 2014

Musical News for Thursday, March 27, 2014

OPENINGS: Since 2007, CRE Outreach has worked to empower military veterans and the visually impaired through the performing arts. Now they are bringing an original musical, Beyond Sight, to the stage starring blind actor Robert Smith and former U.S. Marine Ginger Lawrence. The story follows a soldier who returns to the U.S. after losing his sight during combat in Afghanistan, featuring a book by Nick Sivakumaran and Jeremy Aldridge, music by Emmy-nominated Mark P. Leonard and Colin Simson, and lyrics by Greg Shane, Colin Simson and Mark P. Musical direction is by the composer, Mark P. Leonard, and choreography is by Allison Bibicoff. Also included in the cast are Tristan Bailey, Graig Churchill, Geoffrey Dwyer, Eboni Gentry, Sean P. Gorecki, Christopher Loverro, Cj Merriman, K.J. Middlebrooks, Raufel Muhammad, Shannon Nelson, and Dan Woren.

“Our source material was taken directly from the work CRE Outreach does with vets and the blind in the community and authentically portrays their experience,” says CRE artistic director Greg Shane. “With Beyond Sight we hope to launch a larger discussion about how we treat our veterans – and drive home the point that disabilities do not define who people are.”

“You can’t extinguish the human spirit,” says Aldridge. “That is the core of this show. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the macropolitics of our current wars, the individual stories of what many of our soldiers experience and overcome are inspiring.” Beyond Sight runs April 25 – May 25 at The Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., 2nd Floor, Hollywood, 90028. Parking at the Jefferson Building (garage entrance on McCadden, 1 block East of Highland) is $5 with theater validation. Tickets: (310) 902-8220 or

GYPSY is coming to Inland Valley Repertory Theatre (IVRT) Tuesdays and Wednesdays April 9 – 23 at Candlelight Pavilion starring Shaelynn Parker as Mama Rose. Loosely based on the Memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, it features music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Arthur Laurents. The classic Broadway musical is filled with memorable favorites like “Let Me Entertain You” and “Everything's Coming Up Roses.”

BENEFIT: Celebration Theatre’s annual Vibrant Voice Awards benefit event is full of gold this year.  Original Golden Girl Betty White and her Hot in Cleveland co-stars Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, and Wendie Malick will read a classic episode of The Golden Girls as part of the evening’s entertainment and Sean Hayes will be on hand as the 2014 Vibrant Voice Awards are presented to rcipients Wendie Malick and Robert Forster. Directing duties will be shared by Celebration co-artistic director Michael Matthews and Ryan Bergmann. The evening will also feature a raffle for a walk-on role in a future Hot in Cleveland episode. Tickets are available at three price levels and can be purchased now at or by calling (323) 957-1884. The benefit takes place Saturday, April 26, at 7:30 pm at Sound Stage 19, CBS Studio Center in Studio City.

CABARET/CONCERTS: Barbara Morrison will reprise her role as Dinah Washington in the one-year anniversary performance of I Wanna Be Loved on Sunday, March 30 (4pm) at the famed jazz-and-blues singer’s Performing Arts Center in Leimert Park. Co-written by Morrison and Michael Cormier, the musical play tells the story of Washington’s life and loves during a legendary career that ended in her accidental death at age 39 in 1963.

“I wanted to tell a story about her entire life and named it I Wanna Be Loved because it best explained her life,” Morrison said. “She had seven husbands (including Detroit Lions star Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane at the time of her death) and her mother never supported her secular career and never came to see her. Her mother wanted her to stay in gospel, where she began.” The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center is located at 4305 Degnan Blvd, Suite 101, in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park. Tickets are $40. Call 310-462-1439 or go to for reservations.

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