Thursday, December 8, 2016

MUSICAL NEWS for December 8, 2016

Pasadena Playhouse opens its annual Panto at the Playhouse tonight. The interactive holiday treat this year is A Cinderella Christmas by Kris Lythgoe and stars Lauren Taylor, Alex Newell, Morgan Fairchild, Kenton Duty, and Davi Santos, directed by Bonnie Lythgoe. The beloved fairytale is set to modern music including Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway”, Michael Buble’s “Just Haven’t Met You Yet”, and Jennifer Lopez “Let’s Get Loud” and includes comedy, magic, and dancers from So You Think You Can Dance. Come early to enjoy activities for kids of all ages in the courtyard an hour before the performance. Now through Jan 8.

The Lythgoe team also brings a very special Panto to Laguna Playhouse this year. Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight starring Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Joely Fisher, Barry Pearl, Benjamin Schrader, Jeff Sumner, Vonzell Solomon and Conor Guzman is written by Kris Lythgoe and directed by Linda Goodrich. The show is based on the European fairytale where a Princess called Aurora has a curse put on her by the evil fairy Carabosse. By her 18th birthday, Aurora will prick her finger on a spindle and fall asleep for 100 years. The Royal family live under the protection of Silly Billy and Nanny Tickle but Aurora does prick her finger and falls asleep for 100 years. A handsome Prince saves the day by defeating the wicked fairy and giving Aurora a true love kiss. Now through Dec 30.

The MeshugaNutcracker! The Chanukah Musical by Scott Evan Guggenheim, Shannon Guggenheim, and Stephen Guggenheim will play a limited holiday engagement in Gindi Auditorium at American Jewish University. The full-length musical comedy features the wonderfully silly sensibilities of the folklore of Chelm (a fictional town of fools) underscored by an invigorating Klezmer-ized orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” including original lyrics that celebrate Chanukah. Judah Maccabee’s triumphant saga and accounts of perseverance during the Holocaust as well as the celebration of the first Chanukah in the new state of Israel emerge with a genuine sense of wonder as the Chelmniks tell eight stories that pay tribute to the holiday. Add in dancing dreidels, singing sufganiot, and surprise guest stars and you have the perfect recipe for Jews and non-Jews alike. Dec 17 – Jan 1.

Cheyenne Jackson rings in the holiday season as special guest performer with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles at the choir’s Cool Yule Holiday Spectacular. The musical extravaganza will feature larger-than-life sets and bright, flamboyant costumes in a choral celebration of traditional holiday classics, favorite childhood songs, and even a few fabulous surprises. Dr. Joe Nadeau, GMCLA artistic director and conductor says, “This year we have a wide assortment of holiday hits and seasonal surprises including sleigh rides, lumberjacks, fruitcakes, hipster reindeer, and even Father Christmas. The concert features the stunning voices of GMCLA and a big band that is unlike any other holiday choral concert you’ll attend.” Dec 15, 17 & 18.

The Wallis has transformed its Lovelace Studio Theater into a 150-seat intimate performance space for Dec/Jan and will offer a series of cabaret, comedy, contemporary music, dance and other live events. The Sorting Room, which was actually the mail sorting room of the historic Beverly Hills Post Office will create “a new cool late night experience, bringing audiences together with an extraordinary mix of artists – most hailing from right here in Los Angeles – in an extremely intimate setting,” says Paul Crewes, The Wallis’ artistic director. Among those scheduled to perform are musical theatre writers Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk (Dec 17) & friends in an evening of songs hailed as the new American standards of today, Megan Hilty and her 4-piece band (Dec 20 & 21) performing traditional and brand new arrangements of holiday tunes from her new Christmas album, and a tribute to the Jerry Herman Songbook (Jan 11) featuring Jason Graae and special guest Karen Morrow. For a complete list of artists on the series, visit

(mostly)musicals moves downtown Dec 12 to the intimate Bar Fedora at Au Lac for (mostly) Holiday a holiday celebration that takes the road less traveled, through Broadway and Nashville, and features songs by new writers like Carner & Gregor, Andy Roninson, Joel Waggoner, and more. With Gregory Nabours at the keyboard and an open mic after party, it’s a great way to sing in the holidays. Doors open at 7pm for dinner and drinks, or have dinner in the restaurant before the show. There is convenient garage and limited metered street parking available. More Info


Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and CAP UCLA will present the first LA performance since the 1950s of Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars. Weill’s powerful social indictment of apartheid-era South Africa receives an all-new staging directed by SITI Company’s co-artistic director Anne Bogart, and is conducted by LACO music director Jeffrey Kahane. The cast features soprano Lauren Michelle, tenor Issachah Savage and bass-baritone Justin Hopkins, the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, and members of SITI Company.

With musical influences ranging from Broadway and gospel to African American spirituals and blues, Lost in the Stars follows the troubled son of a black minister in apartheid-era South Africa, who accidentally kills the son of a white neighbor, and the reverend who fights to keep his family together, lead his alarmed congregation, and reconcile his own shaken notions of mercy and hope. Few have had the opportunity to see and hear a live performance of the work because the first national tour was cancelled in protest when the producers learned that black cast members would be denied the right to stay in the same hotels as white cast members.Two performances only, Saturday, Jan 28 at 8pm, and Sunday, Jan 29 at 7pm.

Las Vegas’ sexy tent show, Absinthe, makes its way to Los Angeles March 22 for a limited run at LA Live. American Express card holders are currently able to purchase tickets and limited pre-sale tickets will be offered beginning December 12th. More information, including show dates, casting, and special pre-opening events will be announced in January.

Thrones! The Musical Parody is extending its run and will continue performances at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre through January 1. As six friends gather for the season finale of Game of Thrones, they soon find out the ultimate travesty – Leslie does not watch the show. Over the next 90 minutes, the group bands together to act out all six seasons including dashing men battling White Walkers, ravishing women riding fire-breathing dragons, the infamous Walk of Shame, and more. The show is written by Chris Grace, Zach Reino, Al Samuels, Nick Semar and Dan Wessels, with choreography by Kimberly McVicar and direction by John Flynn.

Coeurage Theatre Company has announced that its production of Urinetown: The Musical by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis will reopen January 6th at the Lankershim Arts Center. The irreverent satire of love, greed, and revolution is directed by Kari Hayter with musical direction by Gregory Nabours. Admission is Pay What You Want.

Over at 24th Street Theatre, Hansel & Gretel Bluegrass, narrated by Bradley Whitford has extended its run through March 26. The world premiere musical is a new version of the classic story set in depression-era Kentucky featuring the rollicking bluegrass sounds of The Get Down Boys. The company pushes its artful storytelling to new heights with this fresh interpretation that was one of the best productions I saw in 2016. Read the review HERE.

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