Friday, January 29, 2016

MUSICAL NEWS for Friday January 29, 2016

Want to see inside the historic movie palaces in downtown LA for free? Head over to Broadway on Saturday, Jan. 30 for Bringing Back Broadway, a free event (5 – 11pm) led by Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar. It’s part of a revitalization plan for the Historic Broadway corridor meant to encourage historic preservation, provide economic development, and bring new life to historic theaters like the Million Dollar Theatre, Los Angeles Theatre, the Palace, the Orpheum, the Tower, the Globe, and the Theatre at Ace Hotel. Performances of all kinds will take place inside and outside on the street, with Broadway closed to traffic. Many area restaurants will also be offering discounts. For more information, go to

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and
Lin-Manuel Miranda in the original Broadway Cast of Hamilton.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

There has been a lot of exciting news from the Hollywood Pantages Theatre this week as they announce their 2016-17 season – mainly because the current darling of Broadway, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is coming (Aug. 11 – Dec. 20, 2017). The season opens with Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Nov. 1 – 27, 2016), followed by the Lincoln Center production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I (Dec.13, 2016 – Jan. 21, 2017), Finding Neverland (Feb. 21 – March 12, 2017), An American in Paris (March 22 – April 9, 2017), The Bodyguard starring Deborah Cox (May 2 – 21, 2017), and the return of The Book of Mormon (May 30 – July 9, 2017).

Up next for the Hollywood Pantages is Dirty Dancing, based on the classic movie starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, which runs Feb. 2 – 21.

Celebrate Black History Month at Chromolume Theatre with the world premiere of Prez, a play with music about jazz legend Lester Young, written by Willard Manus, directed by Daniel Edward Keough and starring Leslie A. Jones (Feb. 5 – 28). Lester Young was a unique jazzman whose deceptively simple style – laid back, low key, relaxed yet earthy and swinging – brought him fame, first with the Count Basie Orchestra, then with the likes of Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Teddy Wilson, and his best friend and alter ego, Billie Holiday. Born in the Jim Crow south to a showbiz family, Young was a non-conformist who fought against racism and intolerance all his life, climaxed by his battle against the segregated army in WW II, an experience that affected his attitude toward life but not his playing, which never lost its creative spirit. Tickets are available at For 30% off enter the code PZ30.

Musical Theatre Guild presents on a one-night-only concert reading of A Class Act at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale on Sunday, Feb. 21(7pm). Loosely based on the life of A Chorus Line composer/lyricist Edward Kleban, it stars Joshua Finkel as Kleban along with Melissa Fahn, Zachary Ford, Julie Garnye, John Massey, Jeffrey Christopher Todd, Melody Butiu and Monica Quinn directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera with musical direction by Brent Crayon. Choreography is by original A Chorus Line cast member Kay Cole.

Four exciting new original musical works have been chosen for the 2016 ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Workshop, a co-partnership with DreamWorks and The Wallis that will be presented at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Feb 16 – 18. During the three-day event, selected composers and lyricists will present their original works-in-progress for professional critique with accompanying expert panel discussions composed of prominent musical theatre producers, directors, performers and composers. A special Musical Theater Songwriting Master Class with ASCAP Workshop Artistic Director Stephen Schwartz will conclude the workshop on Thurs., Feb. 18. Tickets for the workshop are FREE and open to the public. For reservations call 310-746-4000 or go to The musicals to be presented are:

Joe Schmoe Saves The World: Book, Music & Lyrics by Brett Rybeck
Set amidst the 2011 Arab Spring, the musical tells the parallel stories of an indie rock duo in America and a pair of Iranian students in Tehran. Raging against conformity, fear and the status quo, the two young women at the center risk everything in an attempt to change the world through their art (25 min). Tuesday, February 16 at 7:30pm.

Gold Mountain: Book, Music & Lyrics by Jason Ma
Set against the backdrop of a key moment in California and America’s history, the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, Gold Mountain celebrates the striving immigrant spirit, the redemptive power of love and the ultimate nobility of self-sacrifice (25 min). Tuesday, February 16 at 7:30pm.

Comic-Con the Musical: Book by Nicholas David Brandt, Music & Lyrics by Laura Watkins
The lives of three Comic-Con attendees change forever when a film icon pulls a ‘Willy Wonka’ and offers to make one special person’s dream come true. Of course, they also have to contend with an egotistical idea thief, a run on nachos, and oh yeah, actual aliens. What did you expect from Comic-Con the Musical? (25 min). Wednesday, February 17 at 7:30pm.

Legendale: Book & Lyrics by Jeff Bienstock, Music by Andrea Daly
Legendale is an original, contemporary comedy about the power of fantasy. Andy’s favorite way to escape his humdrum life is the online game “Legendale.” He dreams of victory in the game’s tournament, but is stuck competing as a lowly milkmaid. When the fantasy becomes real, Andy and his avatar must both discover their inner warrior. Legendale blends romance, adventure and virtual reality with a pop-infused score (25 min). Wednesday, February 17 at 7:30pm.

A Jewish-American reporter in Japan uncovers a conspiracy to cover up the government-sanctioned sale of HIV-contaminated blood products in a new political thriller with music inspired by true events. Written and directed by Robert Allan Ackerman, the world premiere of BLOOD, based on the real-life “Japanese Tainted Blood Scandal,” will play The Complex in Hollywood (Feb. 26 – April 3). Original music and songs are by “The Virgins” bassist Nick Ackerman and “Jet” drummer/vocalist Chris Cester, BLOOD marks the debut production of L.A.’s newest theater company, The Garage. The cast includes Gena Shaw, Sohee Park, Takuma Anzai, and Kazumi Aihara, Toshi Toda, Miho Ando, Saki Miata and others.

Ciarán McCarthy will star as Billy Bigelow in the Barn Stage Company and Temecula Presents’ Carousel in Concert March 3, 5 & 6, directed by J. Scott Lapp. Accompanied by the Temecula Valley Symphony’s 32 piece orchestra, the concert will take place at Old Town Temecula Community Theater in Old Town Temecula. Musical direction is by John Mario Di Costanzo and choreography is by Gary Iversen. Also featured in the cast are Heather Lundstedt O’Neill (Julie Jordan), Emily Lopez (Carrie Pipperidge), Jason Webb (Enoch Snow), and Vonetta Mixson (Nettie Fowler), with Tracy Ray Reynolds, John Campbell, James C. Mulligan, Grandison M. Phelps III, Randy Ingram, Miranda Rose, Jonathan Sharp, Nicholas Alexander, Jerry Alexander III, Courtney Daniels, Johnny Fletcher, Ally Lawton, Luke Monday, Maureen Russell, Emily Chelsea, Leif Corbeil, Karin Gittins, Jack Taylor French, Lori Eve Marinacci and Ethan Park. or

San Diego Musical Theatre is holding AEA and non-AEA auditions for 42nd Street directed by James Vasquez on March 6 & 7. All roles are open. For information and how to schedule an audition, go to Show runs May 27 – June 12, 2016.

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