Sunday, July 19, 2015

MUSICAL NEWS for Sunday, July 19, 2015

Final casting for the Hollywood Bowl’s upcoming production of Monty Python’s Spamalot - to run July 31, Aug. 1 & 2 - has been announced. Kevin Chamberlin (Sir Bedevere), Tom Deckman (Not Dead Fred), and Rick Holmes (Sir Lancelot) will join previously announced Merle Dandridge as The Lady of the Lake, Warwick Davis as Patsy, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Sir Robin, Eric Idle as the Historian, Craig Robinson as King Arthur and Christian Slater as Sir Galahad. BT McNicholl will direct. Spamalot will be conducted by Todd Ellison and have choreography adapted and re-staged by Scott Taylor and Billy Sprague Jr., from the original by Casey Nicholaw. www.hollywoodbowl.com

Two-time Grammy Award winner and Songwriter of the Year Paul Overstreet has chosen the Ruskin Group Theatre in Los Angeles to launch his new musical Sneaky Ole Time, opening on  August 1st. Overstreet has charted 16 singles on Billboard, including two #1 hits. Tanya Tucker, Kenny Chesney, Alison Krauss, The Judds, and Randy Travis have all covered Overstreet’s songs. Day drinking strangers in a Tennessee honky-tonk discover that they have a lot more in common than they ever could have imagined in this cosmic and comic exploration of love and/or marriage. The show is built around twenty-two of Overstreet’s greatest songs, including Forever and Ever, Amen, and When You Say Nothing at All. Book is by Steve Mazur. Tickets: www.ruskingrouptheatre.com or (310) 397-3244. There is free parking at the theater. Pictured: Amy Motta, Ken Korpia, Nina Brissey, and Nicole Olney.

The Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in downtown Los Angeles, known as Grand Arts High School, has produced an original music video – Dream It! Do It!– directed and choreographed by Emmy, Golden Globe, NAACP Image, Drama Desk, Astaire and Olivier Award winner Debbie Allen. Dream It! Do It! had its world premiere on July 15, 2015 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. The event featured remarks from arts education leaders, including Mark Slavkin, Director of Arts Education at The Wallis. Artistic Director Kim Bruno, former Principal of the famous Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (the renowned “Fame” School) in New York City, conceived the project as a way to celebrate the lives of young artists pursuing their dreams. Bruno says,“Dream it! Do it! inspires us to work together to ensure the arts thrive for future generations. It was exciting to collaborate with Ms. Allen on this project, which gave our students a way to share with the world the joy we create every day at Grand Arts High School.”


The video was filmed on location at the school’s state-of-art $232 million campus and stars students from the Los Angeles school system. Debbie Allen enlisted the help of some of the top professionals in the film and television industry, including cinematographer Oliver Bokelberg, currently Director of Photography of ABC’s Scandal. Dream It! Do It! is written by Norm (Thump) Nixon with musical direction by Grammy Nominated composer Stormy Sacks; vocal arrangements by Angel Hart, vocal coach to music celebrities including Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.

Stages Musical Theatre Festival returns to Los Angeles in August. This prestigious festival, now in its 18th year, features concert readings of new musicals presented in two venues over two weekends: August 21-23 at New Musicals Inc., 5628 Vineland in North Hollywood and August 28-30 at 3D Theatricals, 1255 N. Knollwood Circle in Anaheim, CA 92801. The shows featured this year include Invisible by David Hollingsworth and David Orris; Off the Wall by Danny Abosch and Sarah Rebell; Anarchist Girl by J. Linn Allen and Cris Wo; Bagels! by Chana Wise and Carl Johnson; Darby O’Gill and the Leprechaun Queen, by Scott Guy and Ron Barnett; and an electric evening of selections from musical theatre writers under the age of 26, the final presentation of the 2015 New Voices Project. Featured will be the work of the New Voices Project winners: Jacob Combs & Madeline Myers, Bill Nelson and Joseph Trefler, and Michael Finke. Tickets are free, but a donation of $10 or more guarantees reserved seating. Tickets and info: www.nmi.org.

Laguna Playhouse will present the west coast premiere of I’m Still Getting My Act Together, music by Nancy Ford, lyrics by Gretchen Cryer and performed and directed by Gretchen Cryer opening Saturday, October 10. The production will run through Sunday, November 1st and is based on Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford’s 1978 groundbreaking Off-Broadway musical. Act One, the original musical, introduces Heather, a 39 year-old divorced song-writer attempting a comeback by ditching the romantic songs of her past for a more personal collection. Act Two visits Heather and her band 30 years later. Ms. Cryer will be reprising the role of Heather in Act Two for this west coast premiere production. Tickets: www.lagunaplayhouse.com or (949) 497-ARTS (2787).

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts presents Troubador Theater Company’s The Funky Punks, a high energy, interactive, circus arts, clown extravaganza, for two performances only Sunday, August 9 at 1pm and 3:30pm. The Funky Punks is part of La Mirada Theatre’s Programs for Young Audiences Series. Tickets: Children $10 – Adults $15. (562) 944-9801 or www.lamiradatheatre.com.

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