Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS for Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS: Kelrik Productions presents Violet, directed by Joshua Finkel, May 15 – 31 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. Starring Kristin Towers Rowles as Violet, Jahmaul Abiodun Bakare as Flick, Michael Spaziani as Monty, and Jaidyn Young as Young Vi, along with Jason Chacon, Richard Lewis Warren, Gail Matthius, Erika Bowman, Benai Alicia Boyd, Jeremy Saje, and Justin Anthony Long. The creative team also includes Joe Lawrence (musical director), Samantha Marie (choreographer, Kathleen Yost Forster (costume & lighting designer), Erik Austin (set designer). On a cross-country bus trip in search of a minister to heal her scarred face, one woman discovers the true meaning of beauty, courage and love. Due to the show’s adult subject matter, audience members under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tickets:

The Pasadena Playhouse announces the return engagement of A Night With Janis Joplin starring Mary Bridget Davies, July 21 – August 16, following her Tony Award® nominated Broadway run. Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The unmistakable voice filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. A Night With Janis Joplin is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences – trailblazers like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest legends. Written and directed by Randy Johnson, the show is produced by Michael Cohl, Todd Gershwin and Daniel Chilewich, in association with The Estate of Janis Joplin and Jeffrey Jampol for JAM, Inc. Tickets are now on sale at

DOMA Theatre Company will rock the MET Theatre when they open Green Day’s American Idiot on June 5. Director Marco Gomez, musical director Chris Raymond and choreographer Angela Todaro bring this story of three lifelong friends who are forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia in the smash Broadway hit. Tony Award-nominated for best musical and a Grammy Award winner for best musical show album, American Idiot features the music of Green Day with lyrics by lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong and a book by Armstrong and Michael Mayer. The 25-member ensemble stars Jess Ford stars as Johnny, with Chris Kerrigan (Tunny), Wesley Moran (Will), Andrew Diego (St. Jimmy), Jackee Bianchi (Heather), Renee Cohen (Whatsername), Cassandra Nuss (Extraordinary Girl), Alex Allen, Sandra Diana Cantu, Tony Cellucci, Kevin Corsini, EverJohn Feliciano, Blair Grotbeck, Lillian Mansala, Angeline Mirenda, Johnny Ortiz, Nohely Quiroz, Michael Restaino, Brittany Rodin, Dekontee Tucrkile, Lauren Tyni, Ty West and Anthony D. Willis.

CASTING CALL: The Confidential Musical Theatre Project is coming to L.A. Billed as a one-night performance of a musical that the audience doesn’t know the identity of until the show starts, the unusual performance  also includes cast members who rehearse on their own and meet the rest of the cast right before going on stage. The concept of this show began in Toronto and has been very successful in both Toronto and Vancouver. Casting is done by submissions only - there are no auditions. Actors who would like to submit may do so at

BOOKS: Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life by William V. Madison (University Press of Mississippi) was released on May 1, 2015. This is the first biography of the great comedic actress best known for her Oscar-nominated roles in Paper Moon and Blazing Saddles. She was one of the most popular comedians of her time—and one of the least understood. The book draws on new interviews with family, friends, and colleagues like Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, Gene Wilder, Harold Prince, and Eileen Brennan, as well as archival press and private writings. It examines Kahn’s film career and focuses on her Oscar-nominated triumphs with Mel Brooks and Peter Bogdanovich, including her first audition for Blazing Saddles, which almost ended before it began. There are also new revelations about her disastrous run in On the Twentieth Century on Broadway that culminated in her firing by the legendary Hal Prince shortly after it opened.

Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me... by legendary agent to the stars, Stevie Phillips, is set for release in June. No star burned more ferociously than Judy Garland. And nobody witnessed Garland’s fierce talent at closer range than Stevie Phillips. Philips worked for Freddie Fields and David Begelman at MCA under the glare of legendary über-agent Lew Wasserman. When MCA blew apart, Fields and Begelman created Creative Management Associates, and Stevie went along. Fields convinced Garland to come on board, and Stevie became, as she puts it, “Garland’s shadow,” putting out fires-figurative and literal-in order to get her to the next concert in the next down-and-out town. Philips paints a portrait of Garland at the bitter end and although it was at times a nightmare, Philips says, “She became my teacher,” showing her “how to” and “how not to” live. Stevie also represented Liza Minnelli, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, George Roy Hill, Bob Fosse, Cat Stevens, and David Bowie. She produced both films and Broadway shows and counted her colleague, the legendary agent Sue Mengers, among her closest confidantes. Now Phillips reveals all in this tough-talking memoir.

FILM: Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 27 for a Gene Autry double feature at the Autry National Center from noon – 2:30 pm. Oh, Susanna! (1936) and Rootin’ Tootin’ Rhythm (1937) both have plots that deal with mistaken identity and that’s the theme of this fun afternoon. In Oh, Susanna! an escaped convict knocks out radio star Gene Autry and swaps clothes with him, making the authorities believe that Gene is the criminal. Then in Rootin Tootin Rhythm, Gene and his pal Frog Millhouse are after cattle rustlers and become mixed up in a comedy of errors when they don the clothes of two dead outlaws, only to learn that the outlaws are really dead sheriffs, dressed in outlaws’ clothes. Admission is included with Museum Admission and is free for Autry Members. Click Here for more information.

Cinespia’s outdoor movie series will present The Wizard of Oz (1939, 102 minutes) on Saturday, June 20 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Starring the effervescent Judy Garland in her greatest role, this is a night of classic Hollywood movie musical magic under the stars. You can also join Cinespia for a rare screening of the original 1940s masterpiece, Fantasia, followed by a screening of its millennial cousin, Fantasia 2000, on June 7 at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The event is a benefit for the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation and includes a private cocktail party in the decadently decorated lobby and forecourt where so many stars have left their handprints. With a Disney themed Cinespia Photobooth, DJs spinning before the screening and full bars with valid ID. This double feature is open to all ages. For tickets and a complete schedule of events, go to

WEB SERIES: Season one of webTV show Ruby and Martin, featuring Taylor Coffman and Clayton Farris, is now available online. In this offbeat comedy, Ruby, a rolling stone, and Martin, a buttoned up TV writer, awkwardly navigate the trials and tribulations of love. Influenced by a co-dependent twin-brother and an under-sexed overprotective best friend, Ruby and Martin try to make a connection…and end up falling in love, awkwardly. It isn’t a musical per se but it made me laugh and I think you’ll enjoy it. Episodes are available Here.

CABARET/CONCERTS: Rubicon Theatre’s Broadway Musical Concert Series continues with three concerts celebrating the genius of two of the most prolific and most important writing teams in musical theatre history in a show entitled Rodgers & Hart & Hammerstein. Directed by Larry Raben, the concert features Joan Almedilla, Teri Bibb, Susanne Blakeslee, David Engel, Jason Graae, and Andrew Samonsky. Musical direction is by Steven Freeman. Performances will take place May 16 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm and Sunday, May 17 at 2:00 pm and will feature some of the greatest songs produced by these extraordinary collaborators, including “Where or When,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “My Romance,” “Ten Cents a Dance,” “I Have Dreamed,” “My Funny Valentine,” “So Long, Farewell,” “If I Loved You” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.”

A Little New Music returns to Rockwell: Table & Stage in Los Feliz June 3 at 8pm. Daisy Eagan and Jordan Kai Burnett co-host and Bryan Blaskie returns as musical director. The evening will showcase songs by Michael Heitzman and Ilene Reid, Sam Carner and Derek Gregor, Bill Nelson and Will Aronson, Brian Woodbury, and more top writers to be announced, with performances by Sharon McKnight, Ryan O’Connor, Kelley Dorney, Amanda Kruger, Matthew Sims, and Kate Ponzio. Tickets:

Angel City Chorale, led by Artistic Director Sue Fink, will present EPIC: Blockbuster Music from Video Games & Film, on Saturday, June 6, and Sunday, June 7, 2015. ACC’s 150+ member choir and its instrumental ensemble will perform a diverse selection of music from the exciting worlds of video games and film in the choir’s eclectic blend of styles, including classical, pop, world, folk, jazz, gospel, and R&B. The concerts will also feature a 26-piece live ensemble performing with the choir. Performances are family-friendly and will take place at the historic Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010. The evening includes a 15-minute intermission and the audience will also be invited to join the performers for a reception with light refreshments after each performance. For tickets and a look at the program, visit

Arcadia Performing Arts Foundation has announced that Brian Hyland will be joining Dick Fox’s Doo Wop Extravaganza on Sunday, June 6 at 7pm. Hyland is known for a slew of iconic hit songs including “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and “Sealed With a Kiss” and replaces the previously announced David Sommerville, who is unable to appear, due to a scheduling conflict. Dick Fox’s Doo Wop Extravaganza is a celebration of Doo-wop, the iconic sound that caused a sensation in the 1950s and early 1960s.

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