Thursday, September 4, 2014

Musical News for Thursday, September 4, 2014

MUSICAL NEWS: La Jolla Playhouse has announced the cast for its upcoming U.S. premiere musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, featuring a score by Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz, book by Peter Parnell, and direction by Scott Schwartz. Produced in association with Paper Mill Playhouse, by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, The Hunchback of Notre Dame will run Oct. 26 – Dec.7, 2014 in the Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Theatre. Michael Arden will star as Quasimodo, with Patrick Page as Frollo, Ciara Renée as Esmeralda, Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus and Erik Liberman as Clopin. The cast will also include Lucas Coleman, Mary Joe Duggan, Anise Ritchie, Brian Smolin, William Thomas Hodgson, Julian Decker, Ian Patrick Gibb, Beth Kirkpatrick, Samantha Massell, Neal Mayer, Nora Menken, William Michals, Vincent Rodriguez and Richard Ruiz. The acclaimed local choir SACRA/PROFANA will serve as the show’s on-stage chorus. Tickets: (858) 550-1010 or

Broadway is step closer to LA when Matthew James Thomas, who originated the role of Pippin in the current 2013 Tony Award winning revival, performs the title role during the Hollywood Pantages run of PIPPIN Oct. 21 – Nov. 9, 2014. This all-new production of Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz’s PIPPIN is directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus and features choreography by Tony Award nominee Chet Walker in the style of Bob Fosse and circus creation by Gypsy Snider of the Montreal-based circus company Les 7 doigts de la main (also known as 7 Fingers). Tickets for PIPPIN are now on sale at or by calling (800) 982-2787.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s exciting production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites comes to Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Saturday, October 18, at 11:00 am. The one-hour performance is recommended for children ages 3-8 and their families. Three beloved stories are retold on stage through the magic of black light, evocative music, stunning visual effects, and fanciful, innovative puppets. The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows the adventures of a very tiny and very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through an amazing variety of foods on his path to becoming a beautiful butterfly. In Little Cloud, high up in the sky, a cloud playfully transforms himself into various creatures, including a sheep, and an airplane, a shark and more. In The Mixed-Up Chameleon, a chameleon is bored with his life, sitting about predictably changing color all day. Following an adventurous trip to the zoo, he attempts to emulate the beautiful animals he sees before coming to the conclusion that there is value in his own unique self. Adapted, designed and directed by Jim Morrow, with music by Steven Naylor and narration by Gordon Pinsent. Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Ticket: (310) 506-4522 or

The Pepperdine event will also include a free, open to the public Family Art Day from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm before and after the performance, featuring hands-on art projects and Weisman Museum tours. For this Family Art Day, the Center for the Arts is teaming up with The Big Draw LA, during which children and their families will participate in a large collaborative drawing based on Eric Carle's stories and characters. For more information on The Big Draw LA visit

FESTIVALS: Pasadena Arts Council, in partnership with numerous Pasadena arts and science institutions, will present AxS Festival 2014, a citywide festival Sept. 19 – Oct. 5, 2014 that explores the nexus of artistic and scientific inquiry. Programming will include innovative visual art, theatre, dance, music, photography, history, science, literature, film, and architecture. The theme, Curiosity, was inspired by the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)-built Mars Rover, “Curiosity,” which is currently exploring the Martian surface. The goal for the festival is to create audience experiences that bridge the boundary between art and science. A complete schedule of events (many of which are FREE) is available at of the musical performances featured:

Taking Flight: Music Inspired by Flight, a free choral program performed by the Pasadena Master Chorale, inspired by actual flight and soaring beyond one’s confines featuring Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine by Eric Whitacre and Curiosity composed by Reena Esmail at Altadena Community Church (9/20 at 7:30 pm and 9/21 at 4:00 pm)

An Evening of Pasadena-Inspired Astronomy and Music at Carnegie Observatories is a free talk by Juna Kollmeir and Andrew Benson on curiosity and science in Pasadena and discovery in astronomy held outside on the grass, concluding with a Pasadena Conservatory of Music chamber ensemble performance of Hand in Hand at the Edge of the Sky. The work was commissioned from composer Matthew Brown and inspired by a recent visit to Mt. Wilson. It is composed for a chamber ensemble of 8-10 musicians. The new piece is a vibrant example of the unique artistic and scientific creativity/synergy that is a hallmark of Pasadena. (9/29 at 7:00 pm).

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