Sunday, May 10, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS for Sunday, May 10, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS: The remount of Deaf West Theatre’s innovative production of Spring Awakening is set to open at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on May 21 and will continue through May 28. The sold-out engagement originally played L.A.’s Rosenthal Theatre in the Fall of 2014. [read my review here] It is performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English by a cast of 27. The cast features performers signing ASL and speaking roles including Joey Antonio, Hillary Baack, Miles Barbee, Sean Barna, Katie Boeck, Joshua Castille, Julian Comeau, Daniel N. Durant, Treshelle Edmond, Sandra Mae Frank, Kathryn Gallagher, Gabrielle Garza, Sean Grandillo, Karla Gutierrez, Amelia Hensley, Lauren M. Luiz, Daniel Marmion, Austin McKenzie, Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez, Howie Seago, Daniel David Stewart, Ali Stroker, Alexandra Winter and Alex Wyse. I highly recommend you don’t miss this show!

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment present Mary Poppins May 29 – June 21. The show features original music & lyrics By Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, book by Julian Fellowes, new songs and additional music by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and musical direction by Dennis Castellano. Original choreography created by Dan Mojica will be re-created by Dana Solimando and Kim Arnett and the production is directed by Glenn Casale. The cast includes Brandi Burkhardt as Mary Poppins and Leigh Brian Wakeford as Bert, with Martin Kildare (Mr. Banks), Shannon Warne (Mrs. Banks), Time Winters (Admiral Boom/Bank Chairman), Mary Gutzi (Miss Andrews/Mrs. Smythe/Queen Victoria), and Helen Geller (The Bird Woman) along with Nick Adorno, Kim Arnett, Kat Borrelli, Brandon Burks, Kevin Patrick Doherty, Michael Dotson, Jake DuPree, Rachel Pfeifer Green, Devon Hadsell, Natalie McDonald, Dino Nicandros, Joël René, Brian Steven Shaw, Noa Soloria, Momoko Sugai, Christine Tucker, Logan J. Watts and John B. Williford.

Tony Award-winner and Broadway superstar Idina Menzel (Wicked, Rent, Frozen, Glee) will launch the National Tour of If/Then, reprising her critically-acclaimed, Tony-nominated performance in seven select cities, including the Hollywood Pantages, Dec. 8 – Jan. 3). The original Broadway musical reunites composer Tom Kitt, book writer/lyricist Brian Yorkey, and director Michael Greif, the creative team behind the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical, Next to Normal. The show follows two distinct storylines in the life of Elizabeth, a city planner who moves back to New York to restart her life in this city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories simultaneously as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.

Ebony Repertory Theatre will present The Gospel at Colonus starring Tony Award-winner Roger Robinson (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone) as Oedpius, June 18 – July 19 (press opening June 20) at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. Conceived and adapted by Lee Breuer, with music by Bob Telson, it takes place during a Pentecostal church service set against the tragic Greek story of Oedipus, in which the exiled king seeks a place where he may be properly buried. The production, directed by Andi Chapman, will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles premiere.

Fancy Nancy, the musical opens at Chance Theater on May 29, running through June 7. Based on the book Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor, it features book & lyrics by Susan DiLallo, music & lyrics by Danny Abosch, and is directed by Kelly Todd. Fancy Nancy and her friends Bree, Rhonda, Wanda, and Lionel are going to be performing in their very first show, Deep Sea Dances. Nancy is positive - that’s fancy for 100 percent sure - that she and Bree will be picked to be mermaids. When another girl wins the coveted role of the mermaid, Nancy is stuck playing a dreary, dull tree. Can Nancy bring fancy flair to her role, even though it isn’t the one she wanted? The 50-minute show stars Jillian Batt, Felicia Fairly, Erika C. Miller, Megan Walker, Shaina Knox, Wesley Barnes.

EXTENSIONS: The Los Angeles premiere of Words By Ira Gershwin, a musical play by Joseph Vass, directed by David Ellenstein, has been extended through Sunday, May 24 at the Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third Street in Burbank.

A Noise Within has also extended The Threepenny Opera through Sunday, May 24. There will also be a Pay What You Can performances of the show on Friday May 22 at 8pm. Pay What You Can tickets go on sale at the box office window the day of the performance, starting at 2pm, and are sold on a cash-only basis based on availability; limit of two tickets per person. For regular tickets, call 626-356-3100, or go to

SEASON ANNOUNCEMENTS: 2015 – 2016 Laguna Playhouse

July 8 - August 9, 2015 (Press Opening July 11)
Footloose, by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, music by Tom Snow, lyrics By Dean Pitchford, additional Music by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar. Kenny Loggins & Jim Steinman

Oct. 7 – Nov. 11, 2015 (Press Opening October 10)
Artistic Director’s Choice

Jan. 6 –31, 2016 (Press Opening January 9)
Act 3 starring Rita Rudner, written by David Ambrose and Claudia Nellens. directed by Martin Bergmann

Feb. 24 – March 27, 2016 (Press Opening Feb. 27 
Louis & Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford, written by Vanessa Stewart, Taylor Hackford & Jake Broder, starring Tony Award-Winner Anthony Crivello and Vanessa Stewart.

April 27 – May 22, 2016 (Press Opening March 8)
Sex and Education written by Lissa Levin, directed by Andrew Barnicle

June 1 - 26, 2016 (Press Opening June 4)
Buyer & Cellar written by Jonathan Tolins, directed by Larry Raben

Optional productions: August 12 – 30, 2015
The Official Blues Brothers Revue presented by Dan Aykroyd, Judy Belushi and musical director Paul Shaffer

Dec. 2 – 27, 2015
A Snow White Christmas from Lythgoe Family Productions

And more. For a complete schedule go to

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2015 – 2016 La Mirada Theatre

Sept. 18 – Oct. 11, 2015 (Press Opening Sept. 19)
First Date by Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, directed by Nick DeGruccio, with choreography by Lee Martino.

Oct. 23 – Nov. 15, 2015 (Press Opening Oct. 24)
Rent, book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, directed by Brian Kite, with choreography by Dana Solimando.

Jan. 22 – Feb. 14, 2016 (Press Opening Jan. 23)
Empire The Musical, book, music & lyrics by Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull, directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge. Pre-Broadway engagement.

March 25 – April 17, 2016 (Press Opening March 26)
Dreamgirls, book and lyrics by Tom Eyen, music by Henry Krieger, directed and choreographed by Bobby Longbottom

June 3 – 26, 2016 (Press Opening June 4)
The Little Mermaid, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, book by Doug Wright, directed by Glenn Casale, with choreography by John McGinnis.

April 29 – May 15, 2016
American Idiot, music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, directed by Brian Kite, with choreography by Dana Solimando.

May 21, 2016, 2pm and 8pm
Leann Rimes in concert

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2015 – 2016 Lewis Family Playhouse

Oct. 10 – 25, 2015
Elephant and Piggie’s We Are in a Play, based on the Elephant & Piggie Books by Mo Willems, script & lyrics by Mo Willems, music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, directed by Art Manke with musical direction by Deborah Wicks La Puma.

Jan. 30 – Feb. 14, 2016   
Fairytales, Unscripted, completely improvised plays in the style of Classic Fairy Tales by the amazing artists of Impro Theatre, directed by Dan O’Conner and Jo McGinley.

April 23 – May 8, 2016
Mirette, based on the Caldecott winning book by Emily Arnold McCully, book by Elizabeth Diggs, music by Harvey Schmidt, and lyrics by Tom Jones

PODCAST: Clifford Bell recently sat down with special guest Kate Pazakis during his show Cabarabia. Hear them talk about upcoming events happening at Rockwell Table & Stage: Romeo & Juliet: Love is a Battlefield and Cruel Intentions: The Unauthorized Parody Musical, and more. Click Here to listen to the show. For more about the shows at Rockwell, go to

DANCE: Highways Performance Space presents GUSH, five new contemporary dance works by independent choreographers Jennifer Kayle and Charlotte Adams May 29 - 30. Kayle probes the realm of mortal passion, and the new era of human impact on the earth. Adams uncovers the body’s anatomy and its undoing, and the ludicrous toiling for success. The five works will immerse viewers in the distinctly visceral performance of eleven dancers and two musicians which include original music by composer Jason Palamara, and original video by Alex Bush and Tori Lawrence. The two-hour event starts at 8:30 pm at Highways Performance Space, 18th Street Arts Center, 1651 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404.

MULTI-MEDIA: REDCAT presents the world premiere of The Institute of Memory (TIMe) a multimedia performance by director and media artist Lars Jan and his company Early Morning Opera May 28 – 31. Produced by the CalArts Center for New Performance, TIMe is a multi-dimensional performance about how the future of remembering is changing right now. TIMe features two performers (Ryan Masson and Annie Saunders), advanced projected imagery, original musical compositions by world-renowned vocalist and composer Mariana Sadowska, a minimalist LED-lined set structure, and a collage of found and original text tracing the evolution of national and personal remembering and privacy through the story of director Lars Jan’s father. Jan’s father, known in later life as Henryk S. Ryniewicz, was a Polish resistance fighter in WWII, a McCarthy-era anti-communist speaker, a Cold War intelligence operative, and privacy-obsessed misanthrope. He is on record in various historical archives, including with the ‘Institute of National Memory’ in Warsaw, the archives of Harvard University, and the National Archives of both the US and the UK. Click Here for tickets and more information.

CABARET/CONCERTS: Party Worth Crashing, featuring the music of songwriting duo Kerrigan-Lowdermilk will be presented one night only, May 17, at 8pm, at the Attic Theatre. Cast includes Michael Barnum, Lauren Byrd, Jessica Louise Garcia, Nasi Nassiri, Nicholas Pilapil, and Alexander Pimentel, with musical direction by Gabby Maldonado. Tickets are $20 and available online Here or at the door. Following the performance, there will be an intimate acoustic concert called The After Party featuring original music by the cast. Tickets for The After Party are an additional $5.

The next evening of MISCAST: Right Singer Wrong Song will take place on Sunday, March 17. featuring a cast of 11 singers performing inappropriate songs from Sweet Charity, Sound of Music, Grease and more. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Proceeds benefit Project Angel Food. Click Here for tickets.

Valley Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce its final event of the 2014/15 season will be a FREE concert with the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West Concert Band with a special guest performance by Hailey Reinhart on May 14 at 7:30pm. Tickets can be obtained at the box office or by calling (818) 677-3000.

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) presents LACO @ The Movies Celebrates Walt Disney Animation Studios, an extraordinary evening of musical world premieres and eye-popping animation spanning more than 80 years with orchestral scores performed live by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, led by six-time Emmy® Award-winning composer Mark Watters. The event takes place on Saturday, June 13 at 7 pm at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown LA.

The magical event, for adults and children six and older, includes re-premieres of newly restored versions of two long lost 1920’s-era “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” shorts, Poor Papa (1927) and Africa Before Dark (1928), shown for first time in more than 50 years along with world premieres of music by Watters for both films, neither of which previously had musical scores. Also featured is a screening of a newly restored print of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia (1940) including the world premiere of a compelling new adaptation of the score by Watters.

Other highlights include: the 2014 Academy® Award-nominated Get A Horse! (2013), a contemporary homage to early Mickey Mouse cartoons, shown with live music for the first time ever; the 80th anniversary of theSilly Symphony” short Music Land (1935) highlighted by the first live musical performance to the film in its 80-year history featuring the brilliant and virtuosic score that pits the Land of Symphony against the Isle of Jazz for a unique Disney “take” on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; the iconic Plane Crazy (1929), the first Mickey Mouse cartoon created by Walt Disney and inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s first solo-flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927; the 80th anniversary of The Band Concert (1935), the first color Mickey Mouse cartoon to use the Technicolor process; and the delightful “Have a Laugh” versions of Lonesome Ghosts (1937), in which Mickey, Donald and Goofy run a ghost exterminating agency, and Mickey’s Trailer (1938), a “road picture” with Mickey, Donald and Goofy involving a car separated from its trailer traveling down a mountain incline. [Pictured: Mickey Mouse in The Band Concert (1935) Photo courtesy of ©Disney Enterprises]

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