Wednesday, June 1, 2016

MUSICAL NEWS for Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hollywood Pantages has announced the addition of four new productions to its 2016-2017 season. They are: Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Nov 29 - Dec 4) which returns over a decade after its 2005 L.A. premiere; the 20th anniversary tour of Rent (Jan 24 - 29, 2017) winner of the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical and Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Motown the Musical (Jan 31- Feb 12, 2017) back for a limited two-week run; and the L.A. premiere of Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus (Feb 14 - 19, 2017) a circus spectacle brought to life by the producers of The Illusionists and the award-winning puppetry team behind War Horse. Tickets:

The Second City is currently presenting In Trump We Trust, a satirical musical parody about Donald Trump’s rise from humble reality star to presidential hopeful. The show plays Saturday nights through August 13 at 9pm and stars Jose Acain, Allison Bills, Dave Colan, Brendan McKay, Christa Nannos, Mirage Thrams, and Cat Ventura. Written and directed by the creator of viral sensation @nexttokimdavis, Dave Colan. Assistant director is John Ryan Benavides. Music and lyrics by Dan Wessels. Also continuing at Second City is Afros & Ass Whoopins, an original musical comedy about African Americans and the racism they still deal with today. The show has been running for over a year due to popular demand. Catch it Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm. Tickets for both can be found at

LACO @ The Movies 2015

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra mixes music and film for its upcoming concert at the Orpheum Theatre, LACO @ the Movies: An Evening of Disney Silly Symphonies. The June 4th program features Academy Award®-winning animation created by Walt Disney Studios between 1929 and 1939, with orchestral scores performed live by LACO led by six-time Emmy® award-winning composer Mark Watters. Featured shorts include The Skeleton Dance (1929), Flowers and Trees (1932), Three Little Pigs (1933), The Old Mill (1937), The Country Cousin (1936), The Ugly Duckling (1939), and Music Land (1935). Dustin Hoffman serves as Honorary Chair of the event. Film tickets and exclusive sponsorship packages, including a post-film cocktail party, are available.

Chance Theater will present a new intimate production of A Chorus Line directed by Oanh Nguyen, July 1 - 31. The show is choreographed by Hazel Clarke, and features music direction by Ryan O’Connell. A Chorus Line is the musical for anyone who’s ever had a dream and put it all on the line. After its smash success in 1975, it went on to a then record-breaking 15-year 6,137 performance run, making it the longest running show on Broadway at the time. The cast includes returning artists Ben Green, Ashley Arlene Nelson, Tasha Tormey, Victoria Rafael, Camryn Zelinger, Dannielle Green, Angeline Mirenda, Tina Nguyen, Joseph Ott, John Wells III, Monika Pena, and John Wells. Making their Chance debuts with this production are Tatiana Alvarez, Emily Abeles, Ben Heustess, Christopher Mosley, Xavier Castaneda, Brandon Carter, Robbie Lundegard, Garrett Engle, Calvin Brady, Carolyn Lupin, Liz Williams-Borud, Damon Williams and Dustin Nguyen.

Executive Producer/Co-Writer Kate Pazakis is currently producing her sixth Unauthorized Musical Parody production at Rockwell Table & Stage: The Unauthorized Musical Parody of The Big Lebowski. This time, she re-joins forces with director Tye Blue, co-writer Ray Wetmore, and musical director Gregory Nabours for a completely out-of-control musical rendition of the Coen Brothers’ 1996 crime-noir comedy, The Big Lebowski. Cast includes David Haverty and Eric Peterson alternating as The Dude with John Flynn (Lebowski) Chris Chatman, E.K. Dangerfield, Trevin Goin, Damon Gravina, Emma Hunton and Teya Patt. Thurs and Fri nights at 8pm now through the end of summer.

The Grove Theatre in Upland opens Legally Blonde: The Musical on June 4. Based on the movie of the same name, it follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery, and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. The cast features Emmy Award-winner David Lago (who recently appeared as Superman in The Grove’s production of Superman) as Warner, and Jessie Wise as Elle Woods.

MB Stage Productions opens its newest musical farce, Winter is Coming: A Musical Parody this Friday. Follow the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens through Season One/Book One of Game of Thrones and hear songs like “I’m in Love with my Twin Sister,” “Wine and Whores” and the title song “Winter is Coming.” The show is written by Laura Wiley (who also acts as musical director) and is a former accompanist for Don’t Tell Mama. Joining her are Jared Tyrel Pixler (writer/additional lyrics) and David Evan Stolworthy (director/producer) who also created the touring show The Video Games from last year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. June 3 – 26 at Actors Company, 916 N Formosa Ave, West Hollywood.

Rhythm and the Method (from San Diego) will expose their range of talent with a rousing evening of ‘60s music, paying homage to the artists of Woodstock for three performances beginning June 24 in Rhythm and the Method - Woodstock 1969 Revisited. See, hear and feel the intensity and magic of Woodstock as the band performs the music of Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane. The show will also include actual scenes, quotes and commentary from the historic festival, much of which still applies today. The show runs 60 minutes and will be presented June 24, 25 & 26 at Asylum @ The Dragonfly (Main Stage), 6510 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood. Tickets are $15. (Seating is limited)

The 1985 Porn Rock Senate Hearing comes to life at Sacred Fools Theatre in Porn Rock: An Unintentional Comedy, June 5 – 25. This is the first play from veteran TV writer-producer Lawrence Meyers, and is directed by veteran theatre and TV producer/director Fred Keller. The cast includes Rick Steier, guitarist from ‘80s heavy metal band Warrant (“Cherry Pie”).

In 1985, Tipper Gore and three women with strong ties to Washington politicians formed the Parents’ Music Resource Center. Their goal was to slap warning stickers on heavy metal albums that contained content that was “inappropriate for children” and to raise the political profile of Senator Al Gore. The PMRC leveraged their political power and secured a Senate Committee hearing…and the Congressional record was never the same. On C-SPAN, and in front of international media, the PMRC provided examples of the very language and imagery they objected to. Consequently, the most outrageous and ridiculously over-the-top rock lyrics were read aloud to the entire world.

Opposing the PMRC were three of America’s most famous musicians – the late Frank Zappa, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, and the late John Denver. From Denver’s respectful, soft-spoken, yet vehement comparisons to Nazi Germany, to Snider’s forcefully sarcastic jabs at his attackers, to Zappa’s scathing rancor, the artists delivered an unforgettable blow against government over-reach. Porn Rock is produced by The Ichabod’s Cranium Players and runs 60 minutes.

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