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Your Musical Theatre Resource for Southern California!

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    Richie Ferris as Brock, Seth Salsbury as Ash and Kelsey Schulte
    as Pikachu. Photos by Lyssa Samuel

    I know next to nothing about Pokémon and from the photos I’d seen I figured The Pokémusical would simply be a family-friendly musical that might be cute and probably fun, but I never imagined I would love it as much as I did. Creativity is everywhere in this satirical journey of a 10-year old boy named Ash (Seth Salsbury) who strikes out to become the greatest Poké Master of all time.

    Taking his very first pokémon, a Pikachu (Kelsey Schulte), with him, he overcomes various challenges, which include besting the evil Team Rocket trio who are determined to steal his Pikachu for their master Giovanni (Joseph McMahon), giving up his selfishness and insensitivity while learning what it takes to be a friend, and eventually understanding that one cannot truly be powerful unless one is also kind. It’s the way he gets there that ultimately makes this original musical so much fun that you’re ready for the sequel before the first installment is even over.

    I think if you were also familiar with the Pokémon games and anime series this show would have an additional level of punch but, even without the insider knowledge, I never felt like I was being left out of the jokes. Quite the contrary, the writing is fresh, concise, and filled with the kind of surprising detail that keeps you invested all the way through its 90-minute intermission-less staging. 

    Alex Syiek (book & lyrics) and Andrew Cooper (music) are the creative team behind the show which makes its appearance here at the Hollywood Fringe following an initial production in Ohio earlier this year. The reception has been overwhelming and, if anything, this unlikely sleeper hit just may emerge from the Fringe with enough juice to give it a longer life. And it should. 

    The characters are delightfully quirky and director Joanna Syiek (Alex’s sister) pulls out the funniest characteristics of them all making it as much fun to root, however briefly, for the bad guys’ advances as it is to cheer for the good guys’ wins. Her ability to surprise the audience with the unexpected choice is one of the smartest consistencies you’ll find throughout.

    Salsbury is a wholesome ball of energy as Ash and dives into his 10-year old self with unrestrained glee. His discovery that he actually cares about his Pikachu is a heartfelt realization that is a game changer for the good guys, plus he’s also got a terrific tenor voice and an 11 o’clock number that doesn’t disappoint.

    Gary (Tyler Ledon), his rival, is a weird combination of wonderful, with spiky hair and a penchant for showing up exactly when Ash doesn’t want him to that never fails to elicit a hilarious response from Ash. His traveling companions Misty (Heather Ensley) and Brock (Richie Ferris) and ensemble members Nathan Klingenberg and Caleb Mills Stewart also add some very funny moments to the journey.

    Jamie Mills, Josh Hillinger, and Peyton Crim

    Team Rocket is made up of two humans, Jamie Mills as the sexy vamp Jesse and Peyton Crim as James, a John Lithgow look-alike in a purple wig whose droll comments never fail to land, and Meowth (Josh Hillinger), a very odd cat pokémon you need to watch in action to appreciate. They sing an outrageous “Double Trouble” while trying to steal Pikachu that will have you laughing out loud and the ensemble’s “Jigglypuff Canon” comes so far out of left field that it is by far the most well-played joke of the night.

    The underrated Pikachu has her own secret way of communicating with the audience when the rest of the characters are not looking that is another great surprise and Schulte delivers her classically written speeches so dead seriously that you can’t fail to see the absurdity in them. She’s even got her own dramatic lighting effect. In addition to the diabolical Giovanni, McMahan’s other characters are all delightfully twisted and fun.

    Vibrant characters, smart writing, and even smarter direction make this musical much more than it appears at first glance. It pays tribute to its Pokémon source material in the best way possible and takes the audience on a journey it will never forget.

    THE POKEMUSICAL
    Through June 28, 2013
    Color and Light Theatre Ensemble
    Theatre Asylum
    6322 Santa Monica Blvd.,
    Los Angeles, CA 90038
    Tickets: www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1097

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    Ryan O'Connor (Scot), Lani Shipman (Ashley), Leigh Ann Smith (Olivia) &
    Daniel Switzer (Ethan). Photos by Roger Fojas.

    If you grew up in the last half of the twentieth century you’ve seen your fair share of television sitcoms. You welcomed the Bradys, the Cosbys, the Cunninghams, the Munsters, the Bunkers, the Partridges, and even the Ricardos into your living room once a week, and you loved every minute of it. You watched them live during their regularly scheduled time periods, and more than once, fantasized about being part of their families. And the reason you never missed an episode is because they could always make you laugh.

    The Real Housekeepers of Studio City, a new musical at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, is banking on the fact that everything old is new again by playing to that audience; the one who views the world through a less cynical lens and remembers a time when you didn’t get up to leave the room when the commercials came on because you loved them just as much. “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” “Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz,” and “You Deserve a Break Today”; those mini-anthems of the early television era live on in our minds along with our favorite characters. So a 60-minute musical sitcom spoof that brings together some of TVs most famous housekeepers to interview for their next modern day gig is a sure bet to draw a crowd.

    Wholesome Studio City housewife Ashley (Lani Shipman) has a deadbeat ex-husband and needs to get a job. Luckily she lives in the television capital of the world and has just scored an audition for a new reality show called “The Real Housekeepers of Studio City.” Problem is, she doesn’t have a housekeeper. With the help of her teenage son (Daniel Switzer), her daughter (Leigh Ann Smith), and her gay best friend Scot (Ryan O’Connor), she turns to Craigslist to find her gal Friday and suddenly a revolving door of television’s most recognizable candidates arrive to apply for the job. 

    The bulk of the show consists of these revue style interviews and specialty numbers that reveal each housekeeper’s philosophy about the job and their secret methods for dealing with challenging domestic situations.

    Favorites of mine included the Jeffersons’ smart-mouthed housekeeper Florence (Lorie Moore) who spends more time saying what she won’t do than what she will, Gina Torrecilla’s spot-on impersonation of Alice from “The Brady Bunch” and her funny and poignant song, “The Syndication of Your Mind,” and Gabby Sanalitro in two scene-stealing performances as “Family Guy’s” Consuela the maid and Rosey, the Jetsons’ robot. She’s a walking sight gag both times and so funny she doesn’t need to say a word, but when she does, it is with such perfect timing that you will not be able to stop laughing. I couldn’t. Lurch (Matt Musgrove with a great deadpan delivery) accompanies Rosey because the Addams Family’s butler and she are a team, as the blue lyrics to their lusty duet reveals.

    Lani Shipman, Joe Greene as Mrs. Garrett, and Ryan O'Connor

    Joe Greene in drag makes a very funny appearance as Mrs. Garrett from “The Facts of Life,” and I’ve got to say, I was rooting for her to get the job because I just knew she’d be able to handle those teenagers, though you’ll have to see the show to find out if she ends up getting hired. Greene also wrote the music, realized here via pre-recorded tracks, though a live combo would solve some small syncing issues with the cast. 

    Shipman and O’Connor make a lovely pair – she, a likeable single mom with a self-deprecating confidence problem, and he, her fabulous gay best friend who always knows when to come to the rescue (and a great wing man he makes).

    Heidi Powers and Tom Moore’s book & lyrics capture the pure fun of all of their housekeepers personalities, reminding us what made each one so memorable in his or her original series. Still, there’s little in the way of real conflict since we know that at the end of the hour someone will be chosen as the new domesticate help. If anything, that might be something to explore as they continue to develop the show. As it stands, The Real Housekeepers of Studio City is a real crowd-pleaser. I had so much fun I’d definitely see it again. If not this around, then definitely during reruns.

    REAL HOUSEKEEPERS OF STUDIO CITY
    Through June 28, 2013
    Theater Asylum
    6320 Santa Monica Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90038
    Tickets: http://hff13.org/1186

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    Julia Plostnieks, Travis Dixon, Heather Lake & Christopher Maikish

    Only another theatre person knows what any other theatre person really goes through trying to create a life in the theatre; the days of struggle, the nights of doubt, wondering if you’ll be able to pay the rent, and wondering if you’ll ever get that big break.

    [title of show] is the story of two musical theatre guys, Hunter (Travis Dixon) and Jeff (Christopher Maikish), who aren’t anywhere close to making it but decide to write a musical about writing a musical, starring themselves and their two friends, Heidi (Heather Lake) and Susan (Julia Plostnieks). With a three week deadline to finish the work so they can submit it to the festival, they “start with the seed of an idea / then plant it onto paper / with a Dixon Ticonderoga (yeah, a fancy word for a pencil) / and then watch it sprout into a musical….” And the audience has the great fun of watching it sprout into a musical at the same time.

    With book & lyrics by Hunter Bell and music by Jeff Bowen – do the names sound familiar? – [title of show] became the little musical that could when it was first written in 2004. It did, in fact go to the New York Music Theatre Festival, and then Off-Broadway to the Vineyard Theatre, before playing Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre in the ultimate fulfillment of its dream.

    Insiders will love the way it pokes fun at the quirks and obsessions that theatre people are known for with songs like “Two Nobodies in New York,” “Secondary Characters,” “Monkeys and Playbills,” and “Part of it All,” which express a variety of thoughtful and humorous insights. You'll definitely leave this show with more than one favorite song and “Die, Vampire, Die” and “Nine People’s Favorite Thing” never fail to emerge as two that everyone can quote by the musical’s end.

    The cast is an appealing group of actors with an easy chemistry. Dixon and Maikish are believable buddies and their gal pal besties fit each of their radically different personalities. Plostnieks’ insecurities play well off of Dixon’s goofiness and Lake’s grounded zingers are a nice balance to Maikish’s quirky demeanor. It isn’t a surprise that the show has become a popular destination at the Fringe and, with few production needs, a life after the festival could easily be arranged. I guess that depends on how many people's favorite thing it ends up to be.


    [title of show]
    Through June 30, 2013
    Theatre Asylum
    6320 Santa Monica Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90038
    Tickets: http://hff13.org/1180

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    Reprise Comes To An End
    We were saddened to learn that Reprise Theatre Company has come to an end. Founded by Marcia Seligson in 1997, Reprise went on to present 48 main-stage musicals and more than 30 special events through its final productions in 2012. What began as lightly-staged concert versions quickly grew into fully realized productions. Over the past sixteen month hiatus Reprise explored different sources of funding, possible new venues, and the potential of expanding its programming. While they discovered many exciting possibilities, they ultimately concluded that sustained funding was not available and made the difficult decision to cease operations. Thank you for the terrific productions over the years, Reprise. We will miss you!

    Avery Schreiber Theatre Closes
    And, after a 10-year run hosting a variety of shows that helped put the NoHo Arts District on the map, the iconic Avery Schreiber Theater is closing its doors. The renowned theater, which opened on July 1, 2003 and played host to shows like The Columbine Project, Black Angels Over Tuskegee, The Big Voice, Total Improv Kids (all of which eventually went off Broadway) and dozens of others from a number of gypsy theatre companies, will be renovated into a gastro pub called Fat Dog, continuing the trend of chic eateries opening up in the neighborhood. Owner Linda Fulton will move her Total Improv Kids next door to The Sherry Theater and she will still be active in helping to run NoHo’s Whitmore Lindley Theater as well as lending a hand to a sister theatre to be called the Avery Schreiber Playhouse run by Joanne Mosconi. We wish her all the best!

    4 X 4: Fourplay! With 4 Friends
    Fourplay is Clifford Bell, Mary Pat Bowe, Andrea Press and Kelley Yearout. 4 Friends is Bryan Miler, Brenda Silas Moore, Wayne Moore and Gilmore Rizzo. Join them June 29 at MBar in Hollywood, 1253 N. Vine Street (at the southwest corner of Fountain and Vine). Doors open at 7pm and the show begins at 8pm. Valet parking is available and reservations are strongly encouraged: 323-856-0036.

    Tanglin’ Hearts Opens at Theatre 40
    Tanglin’ Hearts, a country-western musical will play July 25 – August 25 at Theatre 40, with opening night set for July 26. It features book and lyrics by Zora Margolis, music by Peter Spelman and story by Margolis and Charlotte Houghton inspired by Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The production is directed by Allison Bibicoff. Gonzalo Palaciosmusical directs and it is produced by David Hunt Stafford for Theatre 40. The cast includes Brielle Anne Batino, Susan Brindley, Madison Cassaday, Nick Denning, Trip Langley, Kevin Michael Moran, Cailan Rose, Bruce Schroffel, Sarah Schulte and Sean Smith. Kyle Nudo is assistant director and Jan Roper is the vocal coach & accompanist.

    In the musical you’ll find Texans who want to preserve the piece of paradise they call home vs. greedy despoilers who will resort to any foul tactic in the interests of power and greed. There’s plenty of toe-tapping country music and cowboys and cowgirls falling in love; even, a couple of the ladies in disguise. Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. This is on the campus of Beverly Hills High School. Theatre 40 is a professional company and there is ample free parking beneath the theatre. For tickets call (310) 364-0535 or go to www.theatre40.org.

    San Diego Fringe Festival
    This is a shout out to the folks down in San Diego as they get ready for their First Annual San Diego Fringe Festival – to be held July 1 - 7, 2013. Breathing new life and inspiration into the performing arts community, producer Kevin Charles Patterson (director of the non-profit arts organization ), has led the efforts to bring local, national, and international artists together for a week of performances including; theatre, dance, music, puppetry, cabaret, cirque, comedy, multi-media presentations and more! Over 50 artists from San Diego, and around the globe will present performances at  10th Avenue Theatre and Arts Centre,  Space 4 Art, Seaport Village and the  NewSchool of Architecture + Design, along with other less traditional venues around town. Click Here for more information.







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    Mary (Marianne Thompson) begins her rise in Becca Wolff's 
    The Last Days of Mary Stuart. Photo Credit: Molly Erin Kahr

    immersive (adj): noting or pertaining to digital technology or images that deeply involve one’s senses and may create an altered mental state.

    To fully appreciate The Last Days of Mary Stuart it is necessary to forget what you normally think of when you think of musical theatre. The allegorical piece jettisons the traditional trappings of the genre and instead surfaces from a lengthy workshop process as a fusion of worlds.

    Developed by Tilted Field Productions through the SOSEhost curated production program at Son of Semele, the work is part theatre, part rock concert, part operatic enigma, meant to push the boundaries of its forms and create a new kind of theatrical experience. What has emerged is an almost entirely sung-through immersive electro-opera that considers the “kill or be killed” tenet of war by examining the death of one historical queen, the ascension of another, and an imagined conversation between the two from beyond the grave.

    As envisioned by creator & director Becca Wolff, Elizabeth (Laila Ayad), the elegant queen and Mary Stuart (Marianne Thompson), the rebel rocker, represent opposing factions of a people divided, with Wolff using the standoff as a departure into a larger political question. In the battle between God and country, is it possible to achieve a balance in which all parties are served, or have we retreated so far into our respective corners that our positions have become immovable. And more importantly, how are we to know if our choices are even right?

    It’s a worthy parallel to draw as we wrestle with opposing views on every political and social topic in our country today. The fact that this piece ends up being greater than the sum of its parts speaks to its ability to move fluidly beyond traditional expectations and effectively present a kind of musical suspension of thought. I found it to be extremely hypnotic.

    The ghost of Elizabeth confronts Queen Mary (L-to-R: Laila Ayad, John Nixon,
    Byron Kahr [on guitar in background], Ryan Adlaf, Marianne Thompson)

    An intensely focused cast connects to the material with unwavering assurance. Thompson is a charismatic presence who can float an ethereal note over the band as easily as she can fill the room with full sound. Ayad pushes back against her rival with an equal measure of ferocity and strength in her vocals that never gives in. They are a well-matched pair of Queens and Wolff draws out the subtle shifts in tone necessary to the piece from each of them.

    Daniel Stewart’s volatile performance as The Kid reflects Marys ability to galvanize her followers to action. Alex Knox is defiant as the Badge Man and remaining cast members Ty Foster and Karen Jean Olds express the increasingly insubordinate temperament of the crowd via back-up vocals and pointedly precise staging.

    Electronic music is a little out of my element but those who are more familiar with it than I will recognize the names Byron Kahr and John Nixon, who wrote the score, as part of the L.A.-based bands TONY and the Whqles. The sound is powerful and full of musical motifs that make it a good fit for what the work wants to communicate.

    Visually, the compact stage’s tight quarters and unique levels fit the concert framework and allow lighting to play an important part in the production designThe band – Kahr on guitar, Nixon on drum machine, and Ryan Adlaf on synthesizers and drum machine – is positioned center stage with the singers working the areas in back of, to the sides, and in front of them. Adlaf is also responsible for the sound design, which could easily have blown the place apart but was mastered in such a way that it was effective without simply being loud. (Ear plugs are available at the bar but I found that they weren’t all that necessary).

    Blown fuses on opening night brought the 8pm show to a standstill twice as circuits became overloaded. It can be a challenge to transform a non-concert space for this style of performance and the speed with which they managed to get the show back on track was admirable. More of a distraction was the dead air that lingered at times when the band needed to reset between some of the songs and everything was silent.

    The theater is intimate so everyone is close to the stage. I recommend foregoing the chairs and buying standing room in the club area to get the full effect of the piece while keeping easy access to the bar. Note the smart touches in Molly Erin Kahrs costumes, especially the progression for Mary.

    THE LAST DAYS OF MARY STUART
    June 21 – July 20, 2013
    A Tilted Field Production made possible by the SOSEhost program at Son of Semele
    3301 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004
    (west of Downtown LA; between Vermont & Alvarado)
    Performances: Thurs. & Fri. at 8:00pm; Sat. at 8:00 & 10:30pm; no performance on Thurs. July 4th
    Tickets: (213) 351-3507 or www.sonofsemele.org
    www.tiltedfield.com

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    What Am I Hearing? The Aural Life of the Theatre 
    Join LA Stage Alliance and the Geffen Playhouse this Monday July 1st for What Am I Hearing? The Aural Life of the Theatre, the latest in the series of industry events. Composers. Music Directors. Arrangers. Sound Designers. Sound Engineers. So many different artists and technicians are intimately involved in what you HEAR when you attend the theatre. But what do they all do and how do they work together? How can you tell who created that particular bit of auditory magic that worked so well to tell the story? In this interactive session, including samples of music and sound from a variety of LA artists and productions, sound-based artists will shine a light into the inner workings of how they collaborate every day. Speakers include Darryl Archibald, John Ballinger and Drew Dalzell. Moderated by Terence McFarland, CEO of LA StageAlliance. Click Here to RSVP for this FREE event.

    Falcon Theatre Announces Troubie Show for the Holidays and More
    The Troubies will go Walkin’ in a One-Hit Winter Warlock Wonderland this holiday season as they return to the Falcon Theatre with a brand new musical. Matt Walker directs the one-hit-wonders cabaret clip-show which will follow the life of one of the Troubies’ most beloved characters, the Winter Warlock. The show runs Dec. 4 – Jan. 19, 2014, with opening night set for Friday, Dec. 13. 

    Garry Marshall has also announced the rest of the season, which celebrates both new and classic comedy. Impro Theatre’s Twilight Zone Unscripted kicks off the season with an homage to Rod Serling’s sci-fi series The Twilight Zone by creating new never-before-seen and never-to-be-seen again episodes with every performance. Next, you’ll enter a haunted estate on a dark and stormy spoof-filled night in the side-splitting satire The Mystery of Irma Vep, complete with werewolves, vampires and damsels in distress. In the New Year, get ready to have your heart stolen during Bunny Bunny – Gilda Radner: A Sort of Romantic Comedy, a hilarious and personal story of the playwright’s friendship with one of America’s most beloved comediennes. And finally, The Last Act of Lilka Kadisoncloses the season with a humorous journey about grace in the face of loss as we spend an afternoon with Lilka Kadison while she wrestles with the ghosts of her past and present seventy years after she fled Poland on the eve of World War II. For a complete schedule of dates and subscription prices go to www.falcontheatre.com.

    Performance Riverside Drowsy Chaperone Auditions
    Please note that the dates originally published by Backstage were incorrect. Auditions will be held on July 28 & 29 not June 28 & 29. For questions and information please contact Joey Smith, 951-222-8793. Roger Castellano will direct and choreograph; Scott Smith is musical director. The Drowsy Chaperone rehearses Aug. 31-Sept. 26, and runs Sept. 27-Oct. 6 at the Landis Performing Arts Center in Riverside, CA. Auditions will take place at Landis Performing Arts Center,  Riverside City College Campus, 4800 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, CA, 92506. For a complete breakdown of roles go to www.performanceriverside.org.

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    PBS presents A Capitol Fourth, Thursday July 4th at 8/7c with performances by Barry Manilow, Candice Glover, Darren Criss, Megan Hilty, Motown the Musical, Neil Diamond, Jackie Evancho, Scotty McReery, and more. Tom Bergeron hosts the concert live from our nation's Capitol.


    Josh Groban at the Hollywood Bowl
    Celebrate the Fourth at the Hollywood Bowl’s annual party July 2, 3, & 4 at 7:30 pm. This year’s spectacular includes Josh Groban, patriotic music and thrilling fireworks. Click Here for tickets.


    Liberty Jamboree at Don’t Tell Mama LARyan Black’s 88’s celebrates America Wednesday, July 3rd with a Liberty Jamboree, featuring musical directorGreg Nabourson the keys. Performers include Rosemary Alexander, Newell Alexander, Alan Abelew, Shane Alexander, Ashley Cuellar, Justin Duvall, Samantha Duvall, Courtney Freed, Natalie Lander, Ethan Le Phong, Alison Lewis, Tom Lowe, Jen Malenke, Micah McCain, Greg Tapscott, Alistair Tober, Michael Shepperd, and J.R. Whittington. No cover and open mic after the show.Click Herefor reservations or call (323) 380-7209.

    Salute to USO At the Madrid Theatre
    Angel City Band’s Big Band Salute to USO features the 18-piece Angel City Big Band with headliner Douglas Swander, professional vocalists and dancers. Dan Davis hosts this exhilarating program of big band and musical theatre favorites performed on the USO tours. July 7 – 14, Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm. Madrid Theatre, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91303. For more information call (818) 347-9938.


    Grand Park 4th of July Block Party
    Projections and pyrotechnics light up Grand Park for its first ever4th of July Block Partyhosted by KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez. You’ll find live music, artists, and a selection of food trucks at this free event Picnicking is encouraged; no alcohol. Entrances at 200 N. Grand Ave., 221 N. Hill St., 221 N. Broadway and 227 N. Spring St., downtown.Click Herefor the complete schedule of entertainment and activities.

    Hear the Declaration of Independence Read Live
    Annual Reading of the Declaration of Independence by Shakespeare Orange County.Join the ensemble of actors and patriots as they read the entire text of the Declaration of Independence to remind us what it is we're celebrating on Independence Day. July 4th at 10:30 am (takes about 35 minutes or so) at the Festival Amphitheatre, 12762 Main Street, Garden Grove. Free.  www.shakespeareoc.org, (714) 590-1575

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    Ionescopade, an episodic vaudeville for 7 actors and 3 musicians is a fast-paced comically driven entertainment based on the writings of Eugene Ionesco that runs through August 11 at the Odyssey Theatre in West LA. It is absurdist theatre at its laser-focused finest; a musical escapade that points up the pointless in life in a highly-stylized come-and-get-it fashion. 

    An excellent ensemble (Andrew Ableson, Joey D’Auria, Christina Gerla, Kelly Lester, Tom Lowe and Jennifer Malenke) performs tightly choreographed sequences connected by a silent clown revealed as the writer (Alan Abelew), who guides the audience with a twinkle in his eye and magic in his fingertips. Think fast, or don’t think at all, as you observe the changing tone of the pieces and begin to experience the madness. You’ll have your favorites among them. Mine included The Cooking Lesson, Madeleine, The Peace Conference, Bobby Watson’s ballerina sequence and wacky tap number, Wipe Out Games, and sections from The Bald Soprano. Bizarre, horrifying, gripping and funny as hell,  you wont find another show like it in L.A. 






      


    IONESCOPADE
    Through August 11, 2013
    Taken from the works of Eugene Ionesco
    Original concept by Robert Allan Ackerman

    Music and lyrics by Mildred Kayden
    Directed and choreographed by Bill Castellino
    Musical direction by Gerald Sternbach
    Produced by Ron Sossi
    Tickets: www.odysseytheatre.com 


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    Valerie Perri and David Burnham star in Musical Theatre West’s 20th Anniversary revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, July 12 – 28 at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach.



    Based on the 1950 Oscar-winning movie about a former star of the silent screen era living in the past in her decaying mansion on the fabled Los Angeles street, it is directed by Larry Raben with musical direction by David Lamoureux and musical staging by John Todd. MTW’s Sunset Boulevard opens exactly 20 years to the day of the show’s world premiere in London at the Adelphi Theatre where it ran for 1529 performances. Tickets are available online at www.musical.org or by calling (562) 856-1999, Ext. 4. The Box Office is located at 4350 East 7th Street, Long Beach, CA 90804 and is open 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm Tues. - Sat. The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center is located at 6200 East Atherton Street, Long Beach, CA 90815.

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    Sister Act opens June 9th at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood for a 3 week engagement and will run through July 28, 2013. 

    The cast of Sister Act. Photos by Joan Marcus

    Ta'Rea Campbell, Florrie Bagel and Lael van Keuren

    E. Clayton Cornelious and Ta'Rea Campbell

    Charles Barksdale, Ernie Pruneda, and Todd A. Horman

    The cast of Sister Act

    This Los Angeles Pantages premiere comes direct from Broadway where the show was met with rousing critical and public acclaim. When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier (Ta’Rea Campbell) witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place cops are sure she won’t be found - a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and an uptight Mother Superior (Hollis Resnik). Using her fabulous disco-ness and killer voice to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church, but in doing so blows her cover. Soon it’s nun-on-the-run time but she finds salvation in the heavenly power of her newly found sisterhood. Based on the mega-hit feature film, Sister Act features an original Alan Menken/Glenn Slater score with a vast inspiration of musical styles from Motown, soul and funk to great big disco anthems and Barry White inspired musical comedy. Tickets: Call 1-800-982-2787 or visit www.HollywoodPantages.com.

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    Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson opens this Friday, July 12 at Chance Theater and will run through August 4, 2013. Part history, part rock concert, and part SNL sketch comedy satire, the show reimagines and reinvents the life of “Old Hickory” from childhood to maverick president.

    Gasper Gray, James McHale and Keaton Williams
    Photos by Thamer Majjali, True Image Studio

    Ashley Arlene Nelson, Janelle Kester, Chelsea Baldree, Dannielle Green and Alex Bueno

    Keaton Williams (and Nick Adorno, background)

    Keaton Williams and Ashley Arlene Nelson

    The cast of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Kyle Cooper, Nick Adorno, Dannielle Green,
    Alex Bueno, Keaton Williams, Robert Wallace, Zachary Storey, Ashley Arlene Nelson,
    Janelle Kester, Chelsea Baldree, Gary Fields and James McHale)

    BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON
    Book by Alex Timbers
    Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman
    Directed by Kari Hayter
    Choreographed by Kelly Todd
    Music Direction by Robyn Wallace
    Tickets: 
    Call (714) 777-3033 or visit www.ChanceTheater.com.

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    The Real Housekeepers of Studio Cityan original one-act musical with music by Joe Greene, book & lyrics by Heidi Powers & Tom Moore, directed by Ryan Bergmann. Winner of Best of Fringe and the FootLights Award at Hollywood Fringe Festival 2013. July 12 – 27, 013: Theatre Asylum. Tickets: $15 www.therealhousekeepersofstudiocity.com

    [title of show] is an original musical chronicling the adventures of Hunter (writer), Jeff (lyricist) and their awesome ladyfriends, Heidi & Susan, as they take their hit show from the NY Musical Theatre Festival, to an off-Broadway run, and finally to (drumroll, please!) Broadway, baby! July 14 & 21 at 7pm. Tickets: $15 www.bestofextensions.com 

    The Pokemusical is a lovingly satirical exploration of the world of pocket monsters! Join Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu, and more as they traipse through two decades worth of nostalgia. Winner of the DOMA Theatre Company Award for Best Musical. July 23 at 8:00 pm & July 26 at 11:45 pm at the Elephant Space. Tickets: $15 www.bestofextensions.com 

    MUSE/IQUE’s Moving Pictures
    MUSE/IQUE, known for its counter-conventional performances that feel more like parties than formal concerts, continues Summer of Sound 2013 with Moving Pictures featuring groundbreaking cellist Matt Haimovitz and Emmy Award-winning actress Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland) in a fresh take on motion picture scores. The performance will take place on Saturday, July 27, 2013, 7:30 pm, outdoors at Caltech’s Beckman Mall in Pasadena. Artistic Director Rachael Worby conducts the MUSE/IQUE Orchestra, for a pure out-of the-box adventure in sound and cinema. Highlights include Malick narrating a humorous new presentation of Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, reimagined by writer Matt Nix, as well as guest appearances by American Idol eighth season finalist Allison Iraheta and MacArthur Genius Fellow John Dabiri, director of Caltech’s Biological Propulsion Laboratory. Gates open at 5:30 pm for dinner (ordered in advance) or bring-your-own picnics, with table and bleacher seating and plentiful free parking.

    Rachael Worby and the MUSE/IQUE Orchestra. Photo by Jamie Pham

    The 90-minute concert program includes:
    Vanglesi:  Chariots of Fire
    Erich Korngold:  Concerto in C (from the film Deception)
    John Williams:  Love Theme from “Heidi”
    Ennio Morricone:  Gabriel’s Oboe (from the film The Mission)
    Peter Golub:  Sleepwalking (World Premiere)
    Claude-Michel  Schönberg: Bring Him Home (from the film Les Miserables)
    Elmer Bernstein:  Summer and Smoke (from the film Summer and Smoke)
    Jerry Goldsmith:  Russia House (from the film Russia House)
    Christopher Young:  Killing Season (from the film Killing Season)
    Benjamin Britten:  Young Person’s Guide (new libretto by Matt Nix)

    Caltech’s Beckman Mall, 332 S. Michigan Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106. Plentiful parking is free. To reserve a catered dinner that can be picked up on site, please contact Perfect Equation Catering at (626) 529-5585. For tickets call (626) 539-7085 or visit www.muse-ique.org.

    Thank You Minerva: Photo Flash
    The world premiere musical Thank You, Minerva opens Friday July 12th at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood and runs through August 18. Written and produced by Alan Stillson, directed by Alissa-Nicole Koblentz, with musical direction by Bonnie JanofskyFor tickets call (818) 884-4284 or go to www.stillsonworks.com or. For more about the show go to www.facebook.com/thankyouminerva.

    Jonathan Byram, Rachel Berman and Jackson Smith

    Rachel Berman, John McCool Bowers

    Rachel Howe, Jonathan Byram and Julia Shear Kushner

    SDMT’s Ain’t Misbehavin’
    San Diego Musical Theatre presents Ain't Misbehavin’! September 27 - October 13 at Birch North Park Theatre. The outrageously prodigious comic and musical soul of 1930’s Harlem lives on in this rollicking, swinging, finger-snapping revue that is still considered one of Broadway's best. The inimitable Thomas “Fats” Waller rose to international fame during the Golden Age of the Cotton Club, honky tonk dives along Lenox Avenue, rent parties, stride piano players and that jumpin’ new beat, Swing. Although not quite a biography, Ain’t Misbehavin’ evokes the delightful humor and infectious energy of this American original as a versatile cast struts, strums and sings the songs he made famous in a career. The cast features Sylvia MacCalla as Nell, Rufus Bonds, Jr. as Ken, Jenell Randall as Charlaine, David LaMarr as Andre, and Amber Mercomes as Armelia. For tickets and information go to www.sdmt.org.  

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    Vicki Lewis and Davis Gaines star in Laguna Playhouse's production of I Do! I Do! music & lyrics by Tom Jones, book by Harvey Schmidt and directed by Alan Souza. Now through August 11, 2013. For tickets and more information, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.




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    BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: The Book of Mormonhas added five additional weeks of performances to the originally announced return engagement at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. The show will begin its run January 2 and play through March 16, 2014. Groups of 15 or more are now available for purchase at www.PantagesGroups.com. Season ticket holders also currently have access to seats at www.HollywoodPantages.com. Single tickets will go on sale at a later date.

    Sacred Fools presents an encore of the Hollywood Fringe hit Exorcistic: A The Rock Musical Parody Experiment. Thursdays at 9:00 pm July 25, August 1, 8 & 15.

    PRAIRIE-OKE! returns for two weekends only August 16 – 25 at the Cavern Club Theater at Casita Del Campo. Conceived, written and directed by Dane Whitlock, it will feature Drew Droege, Libby Baker, Tom Lowe, Joe Donohoe, Amy Procacci, Brad Griffith, Mark Rowe, Jennifer Blake, Sydney Blair, Matthew Herrmann, Rae Dawn Hadinger and Frances Chewning. www.cavernclubtheater.com 

    AUDITIONS: Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks is holding auditions for Kiss Me, Kate on August 5 – 6. Richard Israel will direct, John Todd will choreograph, and Darryl Archibald will musical direct. This is the first time Cabrillo has done the classic musical. Details are available on the AEA website.

    San Diego Musical Theatre is holding auditions on August 14th for Irving Berlin’s White Christmas directed by Todd Nielsen. Lisa Hopkins will choreograph and Don LeMaster provides musical direction. Please email Jill@SDMT.org to schedule an appointment. For questions call 619-977-7100.  

    CABARET/CONCERT UPDATE: On Fri, July 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm, GLEH and Chris Isaacson present Upright Cabaret at GLEH; a monthly charitable cabaret series raising awareness of GLEH through song. The show will star Broadway’s Matt Zarley.

    The Old Globe will present a one-night-only Jeff Buckley Tribute Concerton Monday, August 19 at 7:00 pm that will feature several prominent San Diego artists covering the songs of the legendary musician. The concert coincides with the Globe’s upcoming production of The Last Goodbye, a fusion of Buckley’s music with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

    The 3rd Annual LA Skins Music Fest will takes place on July 20th, 2013 at the Autry National Center. This concert series focuses on contemporary Native American music, featuring R&B, Jazz, Hip Hop and Rock. The event is FREE and parking is provided.

    On Friday July 26 at 8:00 pm, Under The Oaks at Theatricum Botanicum will offer Songs of Hank Williams performed by special guests in a tribute evening filled with heartaches, humor and honesty. Before his untimely death at 29, Williams wrote some of the best, and best known, songs of the 20th Century such as “Cold, Cold Heart”, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)”, and “Hey Good Lookin.’” The concert will take place in the S. Mark Taper Youth Pavilion.

    Bella Donna, a tribute to Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, comes to The Grove Theatre in Upland for one night only on August 10th at 8:00 pm. The critically acclaimed concert re-creates the persona and music of the reigning Queen of Rock, Stevie Nicks in concert.

    And by popular demand, The Perfect Gentlemen return to The Grove Theatre, also for one night only, on August 31st at 8:00 pm. Their blend of harmony and humor harkens back to the days of Vaudeville by recreating the close harmonies of such legendary groups as The Ink Spots and the Pied Pipers, while including the era’s great comic songs made famous by the likes of Louis Jordan and The Hoosier Hotshots.  

    PARTIES!: Caught Darkly Dreaming - Sacred Fools Theater kicks off its 17th season with a launch party unlike any other. Make your darkest dreams a reality with a spell-binding evening of high-tech interactive games, immersive art installations, and seductive food and drink, all inspired by the dark connections and surrealistic twists that bind the shows of Sacred Fools Theater’s upcoming season. Check out the attractions that will be provided HERE.

    The West Coast Cool CD Release Party featuring Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler is September 15 Upstairs at Vitello’s Jazz and Supper Club. Featuring Rich Eames on Piano, Dave Tull on Drums and Tim Emmons on Bass. For reservations call (818) 769-0905.

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    Valerie Perri as Norma Desmond. Photos by Ken Jacques

    Hollywood’s boulevard of broken dreams was immortalized in the 1950 black & white motion picture Sunset Boulevard, a film noir classic starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden considered by many to be one of the greatest films of the American cinema. It was later adapted for the stage featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book & lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton.

    Glenn Close starred in the pre-Broadway tryout here in L.A. (1993-94) at the now defunct Shubert Theater before opening on Broadway and winning a Tony Award for her performance as Norma Desmond. The award was one of seven Tonys the musical took home in 1995, and also included Best Musical, Score, Book, Lighting Design, Scenic Design and Featured Actor (for George Hearn’s performance as Max), and sealed its place in musical theatre history.

    Still, it is not often produced and Musical Theatre West’s revival is the first to be done here in Los Angeles in twenty years. This time it is Valerie Perri who takes on the role of faded silent film star Norma Desmond, a woman forgotten by a fickle public after the transition to talkies made her irrelevant. She lives in near isolation except for her memories and her butler & longtime companion Max (Norman Large), longing for a return (“comeback” is a word she cannot abide) to the pictures that made her famous.

    David Burnham and Valerie Perri. The seduction begins.

    When a down and out screenwriter named Joe Gillis (David Burnham), fleeing from men who would repossess the car he can no longer pay for, takes refuge on the grounds of Norma’s rundown estate, the worlds of stylized crime drama and musical theatre sensationalism begin a collision course to an all too familiar conclusion. In director Larry Raben’s version, B&W filmed sequences are interspersed within the scene structure to enhance the feel of the noir period piece. Clipped car chases, vintage images of young Hollywood, and imposing exteriors of Desmond’s mansion are an ominously surreal part of the production design.

    Perri and Burnham do spectacular work with Lloyd Webber’s music handling the rich, sweeping melodic lines with ferocious determination. Burnham makes “Sunset Boulevard” the show stopping number it was intended to be, spitting out the foreshadowing of his own demise with increasing bitterness and filling the theater with thrilling high notes. Swoonable? Yes.

    Perri’s performance vacillates between devastatingly poignant and over-the-top camp. Her return to DeMille’s studio at Paramount is nothing short of heartbreaking. She looks like a fragile young girl of 17 again sitting in the director’s chair when an electrician (Tom G. McMahon) from the old days recognizes her in delight. “Miss Desmond? It’s me Hog-eye. Let’s get a look at you,” he shouts from on top of the scaffolding and shines a blinding light on her.

    Fearfully she stands and with trepidation begins to sing “As If We Never Said Goodbye.” The sad irony is almost too much to take in without blinking back tears and Perri nails every nuance of the brilliant lyric. In these kinds of moments she is divine, and yet the difficulty with Norma is that the actress must play an eccentric campy mega-star who verges on the edge of madness yet must not cross the line into camp herself. In this she is not always successful. Regardless, when she is, the effects are chilling.


     
    Above left (top): David Burnham, Valerie Perri. Bottom left: Valerie Perri, Norman Large

    Chilling, too, is
    Norman Large’s performance as Max Von Mayerling. With dignified intensity he can walk across the stage – silently – and create more natural tension without words than any special effect can do artificially. When he does speak it is powerful, elegant, and full of authority. The legit singer’s passionate homage to Norma, “The Greatest Star of All,” is sublime, making it clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that, for him, she will never fade.


    Jazzy interludes and dissonant chord progressions effectively add to the gritty drama within an otherwise lyrical score. The overture and second act entracte are absolutely terrific and the almost non-stop underscoring, tricky to pull off, is handled beautifully. Musical director David Lamoureux and his orchestra make the lush music so enticing that you’ll find yourself singing the haunting melodies all the way home, though technically the sound needed balancing at Sunday’s matinee (not his responsibility but the sound engineers).

    Body microphones on the actors were noticeably inconsistent and the contrasting bright sound of the ensemble was a jarring presence. The women’s voices seemed pushed to an especially shrill tone, an effect that may not have been so obvious with a better sound mix. Also having difficulty were the follow spot operator and stage hands, who were unable to get the onstage panels to match up throughout the show.

    Regardless, the musical packs a powerful punch with its devastating story of a Hollywood superstar lost in her silver heaven, and an unrequited love gone wrong. If the emotional state of Sunset Boulevard’s tragic characters doesn’t move you, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music certainly will.

    David Burnham and Valerie Perri, the New Year's Eve party

    SUNSET BOULEVARD
    Musical Theatre West
    July 12 - 28, 2013
    Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center

    6200 East Atherton Street, Long Beach, CA 90815. 
    Tickets: (562) 856-1999 x 4 or www.musical.org.

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    If you’re a singer who has always wanted to create your own solo show, here is a great place to begin. Joshua Finkel has created a successful method of putting together a cabaret act and talks about the growth his students experience once they begin to focus on building their own act.

    According to Joshua, “In my last class, I had a wonderfully talented performer who had been out of the loop for awhile raising a family. She went through a huge journey in class and progressed from feeling like she was not up for the challenge to shining through with fantastic numbers and patter. In the middle of the class it clicked and she decided to allow herself to do the work and acknowledge that she WAS good enough. 

    In watching others experiment and grow via the exercises and my notes, she found her own Truth and what she wanted to say and share. She is a wonderfully gifted artist and the end result was a great success when she finally did her show. Many folks from her current circle had never seen her perform, so it was an incredible and cathartic journey for her.” 

    Two of the artists who have benefitted from Joshua’s expertise include Mona King and Roslyn Cohn. Mona created a one woman version of “December Songs” by Maury Yeston, transforming it from a song cycle to an actual one woman show with Joshua’s help. She has since released a recording of “December Songs,” and also took her cabaret act to New York City and Palm Springs, where she received rave reviews.

    Roslyn developed her act not only as a cathartic piece for herself but also as a way to help other people leave an oppressive situation. For her that was the Church of Scientology. Joshua says, “We’re now extending her set into a full show. Roz’s video of her act went viral with many ex-Scientologists directing people to it as a way to get information, get enlightened and get the courage to get out.”

    One of his technique’s many benefits is that actors have become more comfortable onstage in other projects and during auditions. “They now feel fearless and able to really share themselves and have a great time,” he says. “I think my class gets them used to really talking WITH the room, rather than feeling awkward and more like you’re meeting and auditioning in front of a firing squad! I also had one of my performers interview for a huge promotion at his workplace and he said that the class helped him immensely, not only share his feelings but feel completely comfortable in the room and under the gun of the interview. The result? He sailed through it and got the promotion.”

    It also helps to have a show ready to go when there are slow periods during your career. “You always have something you can use, go to, work on, in times of unemployment, and you will always find a way to create your OWN work, rather than waiting for ‘permission to work’ from an audition panel. You can ‘feed your own artist inside’ and actually make a good living depending upon your vision and act, and how you strategize your marketing and audience demographic. Plus, you’ll have new and original tunes for auditions, open mic material, and you’ll have the skill to keep feeling creative if you are ever feeling stuck.”

    Cabaret Slam!
    Build and Perform your Cabaret Act

    Three 6-hour classes which includes a performance of the work you’ve built.
    --Sunday July 28 (12pm-6pm)
    --Saturday August 3 (12pm-6pm)
    --Sunday August 4 (12pm-4pm) followed by a soiree/salon performance 4:30-6pm
    Location: The Academy for New Musical Theatre, 5628 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91601. Cost:$300.00. In class you will:

    Build and perform fun original and organic patter
    Learn to build and create a CABARET song book for a pianist usable at any open mic with any pianist
    Develop two Specialty Numbers also useable in auditions and as ‘calling card’ numbers 
    Learn great mic technique
    Learn how to update your work and create new material any time anything feels outdated or disconnected from who you are as a person and performer.
    Performance will be recoreded and made available for the performers to watch and/or share via a private link.

    Joshua is also in the process of formulating a 5-Monday Cabaret Slam in the Thousand Oaks area, Mondays July 29-August 26, with the final performance on August 26. For more details about Joshua and his classes, visit www.ccactingstudio.com.

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    OPENINGS: Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group presents Dancing on the Edge, a theatrical dance production that explores beauty, laughter, tears and love within a sexy, turbo-charged mosaic of dance-movement. Directed by Denise Devin, and featuring original choreography by Donna Noelle Ibale, Randall Morris, Carrie Nedrow, Jade Waters-Burch and Cody Whitley. Saturdays at 11pm, Aug. 3 –Sept. 21, and select Sundays at 7pm (8/4, 9/8, 9/15 & 9/22). ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Reservations: (818) 202- 4120.

    Theatre Planners presents Greeks 6 - Trojans 5, a world premiere comedy with music written by Chuck Faerber, directed by Rick Kuhlman, similar in style and spirit to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum but whackier, involving Greek soldiers embedded in the fabled Trojan Horse. Starring George Alvarez, Cheryl Bricker, David Ghilardi, Geoffrey Kennedy, Dave Kirkpatrick, John Marzilli, Corey Rieger, Matt Shea, Christopher T. Wood, and David Zurak. August 10 – Sept 8. Whitefire Theatre 13500 Ventura Blvd Sherman Oaks 91423.www.plays411.com

    The Hollywood Bowl’s summer musical Chicago, directed by Brooke Shields, will play July 26, 27 & 28 featuring a cast that includes Samantha Barks (Velma), Drew Carey (Amos), Lucy Lawless (Mama Morton), Stephen Moyer (Billy), and Ashlee Simpson (Roxie).

    Bernhardt on Broadway: The Musical, a one woman musical written and performed by Carol Dunitzwill be presented at Chromolume Theatre, July 27 and 28. The story is set in the late 1890s when Bernhardt was at the height of her career and features twelve show-stopping songs. Call (323) 205-1617 for tickets. Chromolume Theatre at the Attic, 5429 W. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, 90016.

    MOVIES: Segerstrom Center For the Arts' upcoming Free For All Movie Mondays: July 22 – Mulan, July 29 - The Phantom of the Opera, August 5 – Evita. Guests are encouraged to bring beach chairs or other easily portable seating items. Set-up begins at 5:30 pm, with the movie starting at dusk (approximately 8 pm). In a continuing partnership with the Newport Beach Film Festival, a selection of the best short animated films from this year’s festival will be shown prior to the main feature. Guests may bring their own snacks and picnic suppers.

    TCMduring the month of August will present Summer Under the Stars, 24-hour movie marathons featuring a different star daily. Movie musicals and stars featured include Doris Day (8/ 2 including Calamity Jane, Tea for Two, & Lullaby of Broadway), Mickey Rooney (8/13 including Strike Up the Band& Girl Crazy), Ann Blyth (8/16 – including Rose-Marie& Kismet), Natalie Wood (Sun 8/16 – including West Side Story& Gypsy), Shirley Jones (8/28 – including The Music Man& Carousel), and many more.

    TRIBUTE: Save the Date for Remembering Rick Starr: A Sentimental Journey at the El Portal Theatre on Sunday, October 6th. 

    AUDITIONS: AEA auditions: Pasadena Playhouse on July 22 for its upcoming season, which includes Smokey Joe’s Café. A dedicated date for Smokey Joe’s will also take place on July 29. Colony Theatre holds auditions for Breath and Imagination directed by Saundra McClain on July 23. The Norris Theatre’s auditions for The Producers directed by Matthew J. Vargo will be held on July 31 & Aug 1. Info for these and more at www.actorsequity.org

    Grove Theatre in Upland will hold auditions for Bye Bye Birdie on Aug 19 & 20 at 7pm. Prepare 16-32 bars of a song. All roles open, except Albert, Rosie, Conrad & Mayor. Director Frank Minano, music director Donna Marie Minano, choreographer DawnEllen Ferry. Callbacks are Aug. 21. Rehearsals begin Sept. 11. Performances run weekends Oct. 25 - Nov. 10.

    CABARET/CONCERTS:  88’s at Don’t Tell Mama LA. Wednesday July 24th at 8pm win tickets to see Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl. Open Mic following the show. www.opentable.com/dont-tell-mama

    Kritzerland presents The Music Men– The Songs of Meredith Wilson and Gene de Paul, Sunday, August 4 at 7pm. The show stars Allen Everman, Ashley Fox Linton, Jane Noseworthy, Charlotte Mary Wen, Robert Yacko, Justin Jones, Bruce C. Merkle, and David Zack, with special guest Sue Raney. Kritzerland at Sterlings Upstairs at The Federal. Call (818) 754-8700 for reservations.

    L.A. Miserable, a comedy cabaret directed by Glenn Kelman that does to Los Angeles what Forbidden Broadway did to Broadway runs July 20 – August 10 at Stage Door Repertory in Anaheim. www.stagedoorrep.org

    CD RELEASE: Flamenco Master Roberto Amaral debuts original music CD at Incendio Flamenco August 11th at 2 & 6:30 pm. The third annual showcase presentation by Amaral will be a dynamic and colorful program spotlighting fiery Flamenco, elegant Spanish contemporary dance and cutting-edge modern Flamenco fusion. Scherr Forum Theatre in Thousand Oaks. 


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    OPENINGS: 3-D Theatricals’ SHREK the Musical opened over the weekend and continues performances at Fullerton’s Plummer Auditorium through Aug. 4, followed by an additional weekend at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center Aug. 9 – 11. The show is Directed by David F.M. Vaughn, choreographed by Justin Greer, and musically directed by Julie Lamoureux, and stars T.J. Dawson as Shrek, Melissa Wolfklain as Fiona, David F.M. Vaughn as Lord Farquaad, and
    Brandon Armstrong as Donkey. http://3dtshows.com/ 

    Morris Productions announces the L.A. premiere of the new musical Breakthrough. This new rock/rap musical about overcoming addictions follows the lives of a group of young adults in downtown LA struggling with alcohol, sex and drug addictions, eating disorders and cutting. The show is written and directed by Dana Morris, and choreographed by Steven Nielsen, and features a cast of 14, including Miranda Miller (from the band CHERRI BOMB) and Rapper Jermaine “Jerk” Paul. The show runs Aug. 16 – 25 at ArtShareLA’s theater, downtown in the arts district. 801 E. 4th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Tickets: http://morris-productions.weebly.com/

    Foothill Music Theatre presents Damn Yankees July 26 – August 18 directed by Tom Gough, and starring Jeff Clarke as Applegate, Caitlyn Lawrence-Papp as Gloria, Richard Lewis as Van Buren, Mary Melnick as Meg Boyd, Dan Mitchell as Joe Hardy, and Jen Wheatonfox as Lola. Middle-aged baseball fanatic Joe Boyd trades his soul to the Devil for a chance to lead his favorite team to victory in the pennant race against the New York Yankees. Click Here for more info. Smithwicke Theatre, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte  Rd., (El Monte Rd., exit West off  Hwy 280, Los Altos Hills).

    The jukebox musical Ready For The Storm will have its world premiere at Stages of Gray Theatre August 9 – Sept. 14. Written, directed and produced by Randall Gray, it features Mike Callahan, Debbie Kagy, Lisa La Bella and Gray in the cast. Tickets: (909) 461-7375, www.StagesofGray.com. Stages Of Gray Theatre, 299 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena, CA 91107.

    BENEFIT: Hugh Jackman will bring his critically acclaimed one-man show from Broadway to Los Angeles for a one night only performance benefitting MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund) on October 12 at The Dolby Theatre. This is Jackman’s first time performing in Southern California. For more information visit www.HughJackmanLive.com.

    FESTIVAL: Stages Musical Theatre Festival returns to LA Aug. 23 – 25. Eight new musicals will be presented in concert readings in two locations: the Lonny Chapman Theatre (10900 Burbank Blvd in North Hollywood) and ANMT, 5628 Vineland in North Hollywood. “First Stage” shows at the Lonny Chapman include Mad Bomber, Vlad, Wanting Miss Julie, and Bloodline. The shows featured at the “Very First Stage” at ANMT are LA Carmen, Over the Horizon, The Max Factor Factor, and the New Voices Project. www.anmt.org 

    MOVIES:Saturday Matinee Double Feature: The Singing Cowboy (1936) and Loaded Pistols (1949) starring Gene Autry, the singing cowboy, will be screened Saturday, July 27, Noon – 3pm at the Wells Fargo Theater in Griffith Park. Saturday matinee double features (the screening of two motion pictures for the price of one) were an industry standard in the first half of the 20th century. In 2013, the Autry continues the tradition. All showings are free with museum admission. Also free for Autry members.

    KICKSTARTER: The Los Angeles revival of bare is asking for community support for its upcoming production directed by Calvin Remsberg at the Hayworth Theatre opening September 6th (preview performance on 9/5). Click Here for more information.

    The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival®-Los Angelesre-animates for the fourth year at the exquisite art deco Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro on September 27, 28, and 29. The festival features three days of movies, music, art, literature, and games adapted and inspired by master weird tale author H.P. Lovecraft. Click Here to donate.

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    Palmer Davis as the Suburban Showgirl
    Photo credit: Marge Palmer

    The challenge of balancing a career as a professional dancer with motherhood is the dilemma at the heart of Palmer Davis’ one woman show Suburban Showgirl. Based on many of her own experiences, the likable San Diego native has created an ambitious solo show populated with characters from her life – all presented by Davis as her stage persona, Wendy Walker.

    Accompanied by Ross Källing on the piano, she tells her tale in flashback while trapped in a backstage Las Vegas bathroom, a humorous device that allows her to unexpectedly appear and reappear in various locations in the theater as if by magic. Her stories reveal the optimistic dreams of a woman whose tenacity keeps her on track, even as the fraying edges of her personal life begin to unravel. 

    A story about her awkward youth culminates in a ballet sequence done so effortlessly that it leaves the audience speechless. Her college dance instructor’s advice to “stop being a student and just be an artist,” when her dance partner fails to show up, results in a compelling one-person modern dance, barefoot and accompanied by the beat of a drum (of course), that is strong and full of hilarious nods to the genre. Dancers will especially appreciate the nuances of the humor but you don’t need to be a dancer to get it. Her dead-serious interpretation and proficiency with the style make it a showstopper.

    A national tour of The Will Rogers Follies and productions of 42nd Street and Can-Can also keep her going before she eventually lands a stint with the Rockettes. In between she re-enacts day job gigs teaching dance to kids and teens, though these are drawn out over a few too many scenes. I’m also not convinced that the director’s decision to have Davis act out all the parts in every scene – an exercise that is technically proficient but feels “acted”– is the best way to tell the story. Its effect, for me, was distancing.

    Id rather see her expand the flashes of deeper emotion she revealed only briefly having to do with her alcoholic ex-husband. That layer would add a richer texture to the piece that could be extremely interesting and make her successes even more meaningful.

    Davis is most satisfying in her brilliant dance sequences where she shows off years of dance training in styles that also include tap, tango, some intentionally funny hip hop, and glamorous film recreations that are an homage to her childhood idol, Cyd Charisse. These are sincere moments when she connects with the life of her art and communicates it fully. If her monologues were delivered with the same ease and sincerity she expresses in her dancing…well, that would be the icing on this Ta-Da girl’s cake.

    SUBURBAN SHOWGIRL
    Through August 4, 2013
    Written by Palmer Davis
    Music & Lyrics by Ross Källing
    Directorial/Choreographic Contributions by Keith Young
    NoHo Arts Center
    11136 Magnolia Blvd.
    North Hollywood, CA 91601
    Tickets: (323) 960-7740 
    www.suburbanshowgirl.com

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    MUSICALS: The Pantages Theatre has announced thatJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoatwill replace The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, which has been postponed for a subsequent season. Joseph tells the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers, and the coat of many colors in a musical full of unforgettable songs, including Those Canaan Days, Any Dream Will Do” and Close Every Door.” Joseph will run June 3 – 22, 2014. For tickets and more information go to www.HollywoodPantages.com

    Creating Arts Company presents CinderellaAug. 3 – 25 at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica. The one-hour mini musical is a magical journey full of audience interaction and fun for ages 3 and up. The company also stagesThe Lion, the Witch, and the WardrobeAug 3 – 18. 
    For tickets to both shows call (310) 804-0223 or visit www.creatingarts.org.

    DANCE: Join hosts Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman on July 27th at The Dizzy Feet Foundation’s Celebration of Dance, presented in partnership with The Music Center. Taking place most fittingly on National Dance Day, this gala performance features amazing performances by talent from So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars, the Step Up films, Travis Walls Shaping Sound, Philadanco, and many others. Tickets: http://dizzyfeetfoundation.org/tickets and www.MusicCenter.org/DFF.

    Note – if you are a dance fan, Performing Arts Live has a complete listing of dance events taking place in Southern California over the next couple of months. Check out their website HERE.  

    FESTIVAL: ANMT’s New Musicals Initiative is launching aNew Voices Projectto help young writers 18-25 showcase their original work on August 24 at 8:30 pm as part of the 17th annual Stages New Musical Theatre Festival. Click Here for tickets to the Festival.


    FILMS: Cinespia Cemetary Screenings presentsCabaret, Saturday August 10 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Bob Fosse’s incomparable film about a cabaret singer in the Weimer days of Berlin features sizzling dance sequences, poignant and hilarious satire, and the eternal, effervescent and irrepressible Liza Minelli as Sally Bowles. (124 mins). Tickets: http://cinespia.org/event/cabaret/


    TELEVISION: Live From Lincoln Center will broadcast an expanded edition of its May season finale, Audra McDonald In Concert: Go Back Home, August 30 and September 1st on PBS; check your local listings for times.


    HBO will present the new documentary Six By Sondheim, a retrospective of Stephen Sondheim’s career, on December 9. Directed by Sondheim’s frequent collaborator, James Lapine, the film will feature performances by Audra McDonald, Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan, America Ferrera and others. Sondheim will talk about his experiences writing six of his iconic songs: “Opening Doors,” “Something’s Coming,” “Send in the Clowns,” “Being Alive,” “I’m Still Here” and “Sunday.” It features archival footage and interviews from Sondheim’s personal collection, and will be told primarily by the songwriter himself. 

    PODCASTS: The first episode of TELL ALL With Ryan O’Connor, featuring special guest Shoshana Bean, is up on iTunes and ready to download
    . The weekly podcast is produced by O’Connor and Jason Powell and will feature a different guest each week, along with O’Connor’s reactions to the latest events in pop culture, plus other fun features.

    CABARET/CONCERTS: Laguna Playhouse presents Britishmania, a Beatles Tribute concert, as the first bonus offering of its 2013 season. The show invites you to take a memorable trip back to the experience of seeing the Beatles live at such venues as The Cavern Club in Liverpool, The Star Club in Hamburg, The Hollywood Bowl and Budukon Hall in Tokyo Japan. Re-live what it was like to see them using authentic period correct gear and costumes, August 13 – 25 at Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

    The Music Center will host a Friday Night Sing-Along on August 2nd in the W.M. Keck Amphitheatre  of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The event will take place from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Bring your friends and sing along to all your country music favorites. Enthusiasm and a love of singing are all you need to contribute to this exhilarating group experience. Song sheets provided, with musical backing by a live band. FREE (tickets required). Tickets are distributed starting at 6:00 pm, first come, first served. Click Here for info.

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