Monday, November 17, 2014

HOLIDAY MUSICAL NEWS for Monday, November 17, 2014

HOLIDAY SHOWS: Ring in the Holiday Season with the new musical Striking 12 by Brendan Milburn, Rachel Sheinkin and Valerie Vigoda at Laguna Playhouse. Directed by Janet Roston, this holiday musical twist on a wonderful Hans Christian Andersen classic combines pop-rock, musical comedy and an old-fashioned uplift with a 21st century sensibility for a modern-day New Year’s Eve twist that is suitable for audiences of all ages. The cast includes Brent Schindele, Marisa Duchowny, Matt Wolpe and Amberly Rosen. Performances are Dec 3 – 28, with opening night set for Saturday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 pm. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. Tickets: (949) 497-ARTS (2787) or

Tis the season to get your fever on at Theatre Banshee Nov. 28 -Dec. 20 when they open their Holiday Fever Christmas Variety Show. This 10th Anniversary seasonal holiday favorite draws its inspiration from “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Donny and Marie,” with a generous helping of sequin-fueled “Solid Gold” thrown in to account for its outrageous spirit and never-ending stream of dazzling wigs. The 90-minute show has all that you would expect from the genre: singing, dancing, sketches, variety acts... What sets it apart is an intangible comedic sensibility that infuses every number with a touch of irony and irreverence. It’s not your Norman Rockwell version of the season, but it’s a whole lot more fun. Directed and choreographed by Dagney Kerr. Theatre Banshee, 3435 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505. Tickets:

A Little House Christmas, a play with songs, opens Nov. 28 and will run through Dec. 23 at Sierra Madre Playhouse. Adapted for the stage by James DeVita, the show is based on the Little House on the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Sierra Madre Playhouse presentation of A Little House Christmas is directed by Emily Chase and will star Jolie Adamson, Pamela Daly, Jeff Doba, Jim Harnagel, Eric Charles Jorgensen, Fletcher Kamal, Valerie Rose Lohman, Andrew Stock, Hannah Victoria Stock and Amy Tolsky. UCLA musicologist Lyndsey Strand-Polyak is the production’s consultant on music of the ear, which will include vibrant fiddle and guitar playing as well as lively dance. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Ample free parking behind theatre. Tickets: (626) 355-4318 or

Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group proudly presents their all-new fun and wildly turbo-charged version of the famous Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol celebrating holiday spirit and redemption. The show stars Sebastian Muñoz as Scrooge, and ZJU’s fabulous Steam Punk Chorus. Directed by Denise Devin and produced by Zombie Joe. For Ages 12 & up. Saturdays at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 7:00 pm Nov. 29 – Dec. 28. ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Tickets: $15. Reserve by calling (818) 202 – 4120 or go to For more information visit

San Diego Musical Theatre announces the final production of their 2014 season, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Dec. 11 - 21 at the North Park Theatre. Based on the beloved, timeless film, this heartwarming musical adaption features seventeen Irving Berlin songs, played by a live 22 piece orchestra. Todd Nielsen directs a cast that stars Todd Dubail (Bob Wallace), Allison Spratt Pearce (Betty Haynes), Jeffrey Scott Parsons, (Phil Davis), and Tro Shaw (Judy Haynes), with Joy Allen, Jeni Baker, Amy Beth Batchelor, Philip Cobb, William Cobb, Crystal Davidson, Janie D’Avignon, Karla Franko, John Gamboa, Max Gidaley, Siri Hafso, Danny Hansen, Kyle Hawk, April Henry, Ed Hollingsworth, Allison Knight, Andrew Koslow, Danielle Levas, Paul Morgavo, Joy Newbegin, Jeremy Shull, Claire Scheper, Doug Schmitt, Debra Wanger and John Westcott. Choreography is by Lisa Hopkins and Don LeMaster is musical director. Tickets: (858) 560-5740 or

At the Grove Theatre in Upland, get ready for The Snow Queen - A Frosty, Fractured Fable (A British-style Holiday Panto), written By Dale Sandlin with music & lyrics by Steve Apostolina, Nov. 28 & 29 at 7:29 pm and Nov. 30 at 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm. Snow Queen is a musical excursion of the Snow Queen who meets the Widow Twanky, played by Christofer Sands. The battle begins when Twanky’s son is taken to fix a magic mirror for the evil Queen. This interactive Christmas Show is sure to please both parents and kids, from “boos” and snowballs to the fun lyrics and live music. The Grove Theatre is located at 276 E. Ninth Street, Upland, CA 91786. Tickets: (909) 920-4343 or

TELEVISION: Want to star in a music video alongside the cast of NBC’s Peter Pan Live!, singer/songwriter Alex G., and other surprise guests? Dance your heart out to a brand new rendition of the Peter Pan classic, “I Won’t Grow Up” created by DJ Tay James. Watch Alex G.’s message to fans about the opportunity above and submit your video at Submission ends on November 18, 2014 at 11:59 pm PST. Remember to tune in to the live broadcast of Peter Pan Live! on Thursday, December 4 at 8/7c.

HOLIDAY CABARET/CONCERTS: (mostly) Musicals presents (mostly) HOLIDAY!, an evening of surprisingly seasonal songs, Monday, Dec. 8. The show features (mostly) contemporary holiday songs from established writers including Jason Robert Brown, Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens, and Jerry Herman; as well as up and coming writers like LA’s own Joe Greene & Heidi Powers, Bryan Blaskie, and Gregory Nabours, and NYC writers Rachel Peters, Joel Waggoner and Dan Marshall, and more performed by Julie Tolivar, Walter Winston O’Neil, Shelley Regner, Michael A. Shepperd, Amanda Kruger, Derrian Tolden, David Crane, Molly Gilman and more, with music direction by Gregory Nabours. Plus, hear the west coast premiere of Sam Carner and Derek Gregor’s mini musical Flash-Priest directed by NMI’s Scott Guy. Then stick around for our open mic after party hosted by Nathan Ondracek with Gregory Nabours on piano.

Kritzerland at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal presents Happy Holidays! The Annual Kritzerland Holiday Show, Sunday, Dec. 7 at 7:00 pm. Performers include Paige Befeler, Roger Befeler, Brennley Brown, Kim Huber, Madison Claire Parks, Sami Staitman, and Robert Yacko with special guest Jason Graae and music director James Lent. Reservations: 818 754-8700. Doors open at 5:30pm. Show starts at 7:00 pm. Sterling’s at The Federal, 5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601.

Fraser Entertainment presents A Classic Broadway Holiday Dec. 29 with Brad Ellis returning as musical director and host. Upstairs at Vitello’s, 4349 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604. Click Here for reservations (encouraged).

The Los Angeles Master Chorale adds a generous dash of yuletide cheer with a matinee performance of its popular Festival of Carols, on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2:00 pm at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The concert features new arrangements of cherished Christmas carols sung to savory perfection by 100 members of the Chorale under artistic director Grant Gershon’s baton. Pianist Lisa Edwards and organist John West, who performs on Disney Hall’s iconic pipe organ, add delightful sonic flourish to the concert.  The program also features the live performance premiere of Eric Whitacre’s Glow, part of the Grammy Award-winning composer’s innovative “Virtual Choir” series, a global phenomenon in which singers from around the world record themselves singing one of his choral works and upload their videos online, which are synchronized and combined into a single performance. Tickets: (213) 972-7282, or

Los Angeles Children’s Chorus presents its popular annual Winter Concert celebrating American song on Dec. 7 (7:30 pm) & 14 (7:00 pm) at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. The program features works by a number of eminent American composers, including Let every breath, a round in the shape note tradition by William Billings, considered the country’s first choral composer; Aaron Copland’s popular Ching-a-ring Chaw; A Christmas Carol by Charles Ives, one of the nation’s first composers to gain international acclaim; and Knee Play 5 from legendary minimalist composer Philip Glass’s groundbreaking 1967 opera “Einstein on the Beach,” universally hailed as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century. LACC also spotlights works by several Los Angeles-based composers, Nick Strimple’s A Christmas Lullaby, Wayne Bisbee’s A Cuckoo Flew Out of the Wood, David Montoya’s I Heard a Bird Sing, and L’Dor vador by former cantor Meir Finkelstein, among them. Tickets: (626) 793-4231 or visit Pasadena Presbyterian Church is located at 585 East Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101.

BOOKS: Mitchell Maxwell’s novel Little Did I Know is available for purchase. Told with wit, compassion, and the kind of insider’s access to the theater that only an insider like Maxwell can provide, the novel is about coming of age in the spotlight and embracing one’s entire future in a single season. This is the story of an unforgettable summer set in Plymouth, MA in the late seventies, about a young man with an outsized dream – to refurbish a dilapidated but historic theater and produce a season's worth of vibrant musicals. A recent college graduate, he fills his cast and crew with people he has come to love and trust in his university life, and with others whose talents and personalities prove undeniable. Yet, while the productions drive his ambitions, a local woman drives his passions, and their romance is fateful, star-crossed, and ultimately more than either of them expected. Maxwell is a 35-year veteran of the entertainment industry. He has produced seven Broadway shows, more than thirty off-Broadway and regional productions, four national tours, three West End productions and six major motion pictures. He has directed in New York, London, and regionally. Click Here for more information.

David Lewis’s new Hollywood memoir Hopelessly Hollywood, My Dreamland Diary, from Small Town Extra to Musical Theatre King For a Day is due out in December. On dozens of small stages in the shadows of Tinseltown, where eager young actors fresh off the bus may share the spotlights with forgotten idols and new stars rising, author-playwright David Lewis evokes an amusing memoir of his years in that dream-drenched world, set in the 1980s. He follows a friend and collaborator to Los Angeles, convinced they are the next Rodgers and Hammerstein, but the City of Angels soon sends them on separate paths, one down an ultimately tragic road. It’s the story of the town’s seductive spell over Lewis -- from Bette Davis making a movie in his home town, to the night in Hollywood when he learned that his musical about the Ringling brothers was Broadway bound. That’s what he was told. That’s what he read. And you can read all about it in this factually fascinating tale. From Big Dipper Press.

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