Wednesday, August 17, 2016

MUSICAL NEWS for Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Valley Performing Arts Center launches its 2016-2017 season with a one night only performance of Jerry Herman’s Dear World starring Tyne Daly as Countess Aurelia, Friday, Sept 30 at 8pm. This concert version of the show was created specifically for VPAC by veteran producer Suzi Dietz and will be directed by Emmy Award winner David Lee. Darryl Archibald will make his VPAC debut as musical director. Daly leads a cast of 13 performers, accompanied by a live 25-piece orchestra and a student chorus. The Broadway Series at Valley Performing Arts Center continues with Kelli O’Hara in concert, October 14, West Side Story, March 10 – 12, 2017 and Man of La Mancha May 5 – 7, 2017.

Latino Theatre Company celebrates its 30th anniversary by presenting Evelina Fernández’s award-winning trilogy, Faith, Hope and Charity, in its entirety as one unforgettable tour de force - A Mexican Trilogy: An American Tale. You can choose to experience the epic adventure over the course of two evenings or as one all-day immersive experience (box dinners available for purchase). Directed by Latino Theater Company’s artistic director José Luis Valenzuela, it features musical direction by Rosino Serrano and choreography by Urbanie Lucero. A Mexican Trilogy runs Sept 8 – Oct 9 (opening night 9/15).

A Mexican Triilogy: Faith. Photo by Pablo Santiago

The story follows the Morales family through decades of the Mexican-American experience, from a remote mining town in Arizona during World War II, to the Phoenix family home during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, finally to Los Angeles following the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005. Compelling, funny, with songs and a splash of magical realism, it touches on aspects of tradition, religion, labor issues, war and the clash between immigrants and their first and second generation American offspring. In just five hours, the twelve-actor ensemble portrays members of the Morales family over the course of 90 years and four generations. As the years fly by, we recognize the music of each era in classic songs ranging from the Andrews Sisters and Glenn Miller, to the Isley Brothers and Elvis, to Jimi Hendrix, all sung live. Cast stars Lucy Rodriguez, Olivia Cristina Delgado, Esperanza America, Ella Saldaña North, Sal Lopez, Kenneth Miles Ellington Lopez, Julio Macias, Sam Golzari, Evelina Fernández, Robert Beltran, Xavi Moreno, and Geoffrey Rivas. For a complete schedule of dates and times visit

Panic! Productions kicks off its 2016-2017 season with Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s Parade, Sept 9 – 24 at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks. David Daniels directs, with music direction by Ben Ginsberg, vocal direction by Marilyn Anderson, and choreography by Brance Souza. Broadway veteran Joshua Finkel stars as Leo Frank, with Dana Shaw playing his wife, Lucille. The musical dramatizes the trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory owner accused of murdering a young girl in Atlanta, Georgia in 1913. It was sensationalized by the media and aroused anti-Semitic tensions in Atlanta and beyond.

Overtone Industries, known for its development of contemporary music theatre and experimental opera, presents the next phase of its epic new multidisciplinary production, Iceland, in concert form, at the Ford Theatres’ newly renovated amphitheatre on Friday, October 7, 8:30pm. The new work is written and composed by O-Lan Jones, in collaboration with acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Emmett Tinley. It is a modern love story, set in a mythical and timeless world, where ancient creatures challenge the hero and heroine on an archetypal journey. The work begins in an Icelandic airport before journeying off the map of the known world, into the realm of “The Hiddenfolk” and the vast mythic inner landscapes of Iceland.

Cesili Williams and the Hiddenfolk. Photo by Martha Benedict

I saw the first half hour of the piece during REDCAT’s New Works Festival in 2014 and was quite taken with it. I’m excited to see this next phase of its development. This performance at The Ford will be the first time it will be heard with full orchestration and complete score. The performance is directed and choreographed by Ken Roht, with musical direction by David O. Cast includes Emmett Tinley as Mundi and Cesili Williams as Vala, with Patty Cornell, Matthew McCray, MJ Silva, and Silvie Zamora.

The Old Globe’s 2016–2017 Season begins with October Sky, a tale of boys, rockets, and big dreams inspired by the beloved 1999 Universal Pictures film and Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam, Jr. Book is by Drama Desk nominee Brian Hill (The Story of My Life) and Aaron Thielen (Hero) and music is by Michael Mahler (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). It is directed by Rachel Rockwell and produced in association with Universal Stage Productions. Kyle Selig stars as Homer Hickam, Ron Bohmer as John Hickam, and Kerry O’Malley as Elsie Hickam. Cast also includes Rebecca Bellingham, Joel Blum, Will Branner, James Royce Edwards, Steve Gouveia, Kevyn Morrow, Austyn Myers, Destan Owens, Liam Quealy, Patrick Rooney, Connor Russell, Lance Arthur Smith, Betsy Stewart, Nick Sullivan, and more. Show runs Sept 10 - Oct 23.

El Molino Viejo celebrates its 200th year with a new adaptation of Zane Grey’s western romance The Light of Western Stars. The two hour world premiere play with music is adapted by Bob Colleary and directed by Billy Gill, produced by Allison Darby Gorjian and Betsy Roth, and developed and presented by Little Candle Productions. Can East Coast socialite Madeline Hammond tame the last corners of the Wild West when she follows in the footsteps of her runaway brother? Set in 1912 Arizona, see what happens when an independent, high-society woman and one of America’s last cowboys tussle. Performances are August 19, 20 & 21 at 7:30 pm at El Molino Viejo, 1120 Old Mill Road in San Marino.

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