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Your Musical Theatre Resource for Southern California!

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    3-D Theatricals presents David Yazbek and Terrence McNally’s The Full Monty April 15 – 17 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center and April 22 – May 8 at Fullerton’s Plummer Auditorium. The production is directed by T.J. Dawson, with choreography by Leslie Stevens; and musical direction by conductor Corey Hirsch. In need of quick cash and low on prospects, six unemployed Buffalo steelworkers come up with the outrageous idea of putting on a strip act after seeing the local women’s wild enthusiasm for a company of touring Chippendales dancers. Short on time and with little talent or physical appeal, the gang promises their show will be better because they’ll go “the full monty” and bare it all.

    Allen Everman stars as Jerry and Matthew Downs as Dave, along with David Engel (Harold), Rovin Jay (Horse), Tyler Miclean (Malcolm), Nick Waaland (Ethan), Candi Milo (Jeanette), Dante Marenco (Nathan), Jeanette Dawson as (Georgie), Janna Cardia (Vickie), and Lauren Decierdo(Pam). www.3dtshows.com

    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts has mounted a terrific revival of Dreamgirls directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom (Broadway: Side Show, Flower Drum Song) and starring Moya Angela as Effie. After completing its initial run at La Mirada, which plays through April 17, it will move to Valley Performing Arts Center for four performances May 6 – 8 and then go on to a 3-week stint in Tokyo, Japan in June. The musical follows the rise of a 1960’s girl-group in Chicago and, while it is not officially based on Diana Ross and The Supremes, it contains numerous similarities to their story. This powerhouse of a musical reveals all the highs, lows, and backstage drama of following a dream and is packed with showstopping numbers. www.lamiradatheatre.com

    This weekend, comedy lovers will want to head on over to Three Clubs in Hollywood and catch Madlib, the Musical. For this fun show, the audience chooses which tunes they want to hear and in what order from a menu of famous Broadway and movie songs. Then the cast has 5 minutes to prepare an improvised musical using the selected songs as the score.  It’s free so why not check them out. More info at Facebook.com/madlibmusical.

    The world premiere musical RAIN opens this Friday, April 1 at The Old Globe in San Diego. Somerset Maugham’s classic story Rain was adapted as a movie three times, his iconic character Sadie Thompson played successively by Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, and Rita Hayworth. Now a brand-new musical comes to the Globe from Tony Award nominees Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson. The year is 1924, the setting a boarding hotel on the island of Western Samoa, where a missionary, a doctor, and their wives are scandalized by Sadie’s arrival, particularly when they learn what she does for a living. But the missionary has secrets of his own, and when he tries to shut down Sadie’s business and save her soul, more heats up than the South Pacific sun. Artistic director Barry Edelstein makes his musical theatre debut with this gorgeous and powerful new work that reveals the explosive nature of repressed desire.

    Cast includes  Eden Espinosa as Sadie Thompson, Marie-France Arcilla (Noi Noi), Elizabeth A. Davis (Anna Davidson), Jeremy Davis (Jo), Betsy Morgan (Louisa MacPhail), Rusty Ross (Kiwi), Mike Sears (Quartermaster, Hopper), Tally Sessions (Alec MacPhail), and Jared Zirilli (Alfred Davidson). www.theoldglobe.org

    Rubicon Theatre Company’s Janet and Mark L. Goldenson Broadway Musical Concert Series will present Who Could Ask For Anything More? featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin, April 2 & 3. Richard Israel directs a cast that includes Lindsey Alley, Matthew Bohrer, Kim Huber, Rebecca Ann Johnson, Damon Kirsche [right], and Mark Edgar Stephens. The cast will sing timeless Gershwin classics such as “It Had to Be You,” “S’Wonderful,” and “Our Love is Here to Stay” Musical direction is by Jake Anthony, Resident Music Director at New Musicals, Inc. Created by Richard Israel, this concert gives audiences the opportunity to experience the sophisticated genius of this dynamic brotherly duo, whose music remains just as popular and relevant today as it was when it was first written. www.rubicontheatre.org

    Also at the Rubicon in May, singer/songwriter Noel Paul Stookey (Paul of Peter, Paul and Mary), returns with an intimate evening of story and melody spanning his 50 year career on Sunday, May 15. He will perform Stookey standards such as “The Wedding Song,” “In These Times,” and “Jean Claude,” and previously unreleased solo songs from the Peter, Paul and Mary albums. The program will also feature original folk songs written by Stookey about current issues such as “Familia del Corazon,” which addresses immigration concerns, and “Nukes R Nuts,” which was written in response to a letter from a nuclear age peace foundation in Santa Barbara. Tickets: www.rubicontheatre.org.

    Conundrum Theatre Company and Friends of the Rialto present Jerry Herman’s Showtune, Saturday, April 2 at 8pm at the Rialto Theatre in Pasadena. The 90-minute musical revue conceived by Paul Gilger features songs from Mame, Hello Dolly!, La Cage Aux Folles and other great Jerry Herman musicals. It is directed by Bryan Snodgrass, with music direction by Ryan Luévano and choreography by Toni Fuller. General Admission and VIP tickets are available at www.showtune.eventbrite.com. VIP tickets include a pre-show wine tasting from Old Oak Cellars and a backstage tour of the historic Rialto Theatre. For more about Conundrum Theatre Company visit www.conundrumtheatreco.com.

    The Pepperdine University Fine Arts Division Theatre Department will present Bertolt Brecht’s groundbreaking musical The Threepenny Opera April 6 – 9 at at the Malibu campus’ Smothers Theatre. The Threepenny Opera tells the story of Macheath, a notorious London gangster, whose marriage to Polly Peachum threatens to undermine London's Union of Beggars, run by Polly's father. Without this trailblazing musical, which produced the hit song “Mack the Knife,” the political musicals of Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, and others might not have been possible. Pepperdine Professor of Theatre Bradley Griffin directs the student cast which includes Sarah Barney, Olive Bieni, Chris Bozzini, Will Craig, Dylan Forehand, Parker Johnson, Tasia Jungbauer, Brittany King, Isabel Klein, Kate Klimist, Caroline Pitts, Michael Mossucco, Jalon Matthews, Audrey McKee, Julian Ortega, Sarah Roach, Brooks Robinson, Kailee Rogers, Mathew San Jose, and Aidan Turner. Arts.pepperdine.edu

    Parson’s Nose concludes its16th Season with As You Were: Stories and Songs for GIs in WWII, an original production by Lance Davis, April 16 –May 8 at Lineage Performing Arts Center. The 90-minute show features “American works the critic Alexander Woollcott put into a book for our troops in World War II,” says Davis. “It’s a sampling of great American writing, including stories that are funny, touching, and inspiring. Picture a 20 year old, far from home, sitting in a trench or hospital and being reminded of why he or she was fighting, through the works of Twain, Whitman, and O. Henry.” The cast includes Lance Davis, James Calvert, Marisa Chandler, Jill Rogosheske, Barry Gordon, Paul Perri, and Eric Babb. All performances are Pay What You Will ($5-$25) and reservations may be made online at www.parsonsnose.com. The company will hold a book drive in conjunction with their performances to donate books to men and women currently serving in the U.S. Military.

    The world premiere of A Night at the Black Cat Cabaretextends through April 30 at Edgemar Center for the Arts. The show is set in Paris in 1943 where soldiers, smugglers, and society’s elite all try to escape the WWII by dancing and drinking at the Black Cat Cabaret. www.edgemarcenter.org

    The world premiere of Los Angeles choreographers Carmela Hermann Dietrich and Ally Voye’s new collaborative work, In Plain Sight is coming to the Bootleg Theater, May 12 – 14. “In Plain Sight is a new deeply personal work that choreographs the details of people’s real lives in poignant and humorous ways,” says co-creator Hermann Dietrich. “The work offers a window into wrestling with humanness, while exposing what is invisible, even when people are in plain sight.” It is a series of serio-comedic choreographic portraits, featuring four people, who each grapple with a compulsive behavior. The show was developed through in-depth videotaped interviews with each performer, with transcripts and videos of these interviews providing the material for the choreography and text. Inplainsightshow.com

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    L-R: Meredith Patterson, Anita Barone, Jenna Coker-Jones, Cynthia Ferrer,
    and Adrienne Visnic. All photos by Sasha  A. Venola

    With a title like The Real Housewives of Toluca Lake: The Musical you wouldn’t expect to see high art, but I at least thought this new musical would kill it in the comedy department. Instead, it trades on desperate humor, trite songs, stereotypical characters, and a storyline you’ve seen before. What could have been a smart, cheeky parody of The Real Housewives television franchise instead ends up feeling rather desperate. Even an audience packed with friends and family on opening night grew tired of applauding and a fair number of one-liners made no impact at all.

    I knew we were in trouble from the moment the over-amplified canned music began. Not only was it so loud you couldn’t understand the lyrics but it also caused pitch problems, especially in the ladies’ upper registers when it was clear they were pushing to get more volume. It’s an easy fix. Just turn down the cheesy pre-recorded tracks. Please.

    The show follows an episodic structure with each location announced by a sign overhead. I counted at least fourteen in the first act alone, most of them written as a one-trick sight gag. The opening introduces the characters and sets up the ground rules. Next is the funeral of their recently deceased head housewife who bequeaths her title to one of the remaining wives (shades of Desperate Housewives). Then comes the Pampered Tush spa scene, the shopping network studio, the golf course clubhouse, a Bollywood pool party, the shoe store…you get the picture. 

    The show needs editing but when book, music & lyrics (by Molly Bell) are all written by the same person, it’s almost impossible to view the work objectively enough to make those cuts. That’s why musical theatre is a collaborative art. You need to be able to “kill your babies” (cut the songs, jokes, scenes that don’t work) and move on.

    Director Roger Bean goes for exaggeration to the point of caricature in all of the characters. Marc Ginsburg, the lone male actor in the cast, plays everything from an over-the-top smarmy studio announcer to an over-the-top gym instructor to an over-the-top snooty store manager. He does have one genuinely funny sequence late in the show where he plays the husbands of two of the housewives – one gay, one straight – at the same time, alternating from one bedroom to the other.

    As for the wives, each one is a stereotypical version of what you’ve seen on television. Adrienne Visnic (Babette) is the sexy one; Meredith Patterson (Joanne) the perfect one; Anita Barone (Lulu) the mysterious one; Cynthia Ferrer (Beezus) the richest and menopausal one; and Jenna Coker-Jones, the religious one. They’re beautiful, bitchy, and back-stabbing throughout. 

    While their humor is based on superficiality, there are times the sight gags work. The shock mask treatment at the spa is pretty hilarious and Coker-Jones takes her character so deadly serious that it’s impossible not to laugh at the things she says. But overall the actors are working so hard to make the show funny that they end up looking uncomfortable when it doesn’t work. Nothing is worse than being on stage delivering a line you know is supposed to be funny, taking the beat for the laugh, and…crickets.

    L-R: Adrienne Visnic, Anita Barone, Meredith Patterson, Cynthia
    Ferrer and Jenna Coker-Jones

    Stephen Gifford’s cool, upscale set design with its white lattice panels and button tufted insets stretches expansively across the width of the Falcon Theatre stage. Its clean sophistication makes a perfect contrast to the cattiness of the wives. Jean-Yves Tessier manipulates the lighting to polish and enhance Gifford’s clean lines while defining even the smallest of stage areas used for a scene. Against this uptown vibe, David Kay Mickelsen’s figure-flattering costumes provide bright pops of color to match each housewife’s personality.

    On the outside, The Real Housewives of Toluca Lake: The Musical may resemble its television namesake, but like the shallow personalities of its leading ladies, don’t expect much substance on the inside. You won’t find it here.

    L-R: Meredith Patterson, Cynthia Ferrer, Anita Barone, Jenna
    Coker-Jones, and Adrienne Visnic 


    L-R: Adrienne Visnic, Cynthia Ferrer, Marc Ginsburg, Anita
    Barone, and Jenna Coker-Jones 

    THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF TOLUCA LAKE: THE MUSICAL
    March 23 - April 24, 2016
    Falcon Theatre
    4252 Riverside Drive
    Burbank, CA 91505
    Tickets: www.falcontheatre.com

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    Celebration Theatre at the Lex presents the west coast premiere ofThe Boy From Oz, music and lyrics by Peter Allen, book by Martin Sherman, original book by Nick Enright, choreography by Janet Roston, musical direction by Bryan Blaskie, produced by Andrew Carlberg and directed by Celebration Theatre co-artistic director Michael A. Shepperd. Show runs April 22 – June 19 (opening night April 29). Cast includes Andrew Bongiorno as Peter Allen, Jessica Pennington as Liza Minnelli, Bess Motta as Judy Garland, Michayla Brown as Young Peter and Kelly Lester as Marion Woolnough, with: Marcus S. Daniel, Michael Taylor Gray, Erica Hanrahan-Ball, Chelsea Martin, Michael Mittman, Nathan Mohebbi and Shanta’ Marie Robinson.www.celebrationtheatre.com

    Laguna Playhouse announces its 2016-2017 season which features some great musical productions. Tickets are available HERE The schedule includes:

    All Shook Up, The Music of Elvis Presley, book by Joe DiPietro

    July 6 – August 7, 2016 (Opening July 10)

    Hershey Felder is Tchaikovsky, written by Hershey Felder, directed by Trevor Hay
    March 1 – 26, 2017 (Press Opening March 5) 

    King of the Road: The Roger Miller Story, a world premiere musical
    April 19 – May 14, 2017 (Opening April 22)
    book by Cort Casady & Mary Miller, music by Roger Miller, directed by Andrew Barnicle

    The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, written and performed by James Lecesne
    original music by Duncan Sheik, directed by Tony Speciale
    May 31 – June 25, 2017 (Opening June 4)

    Sleeping Beauty and her Winter Knight by Lythgoe Family Productions
    December 7 - 30, 2016 (Opening Dec 9)

    Billy & Ray, written by Mike Bencivenga, directed by Michael Matthews
    Oct 5 –30, 2016 (Opening Oct 9)

    Chapatti, written by written by Christian O’Reilly, directed by David Ellenstein
    Jan 11 – Feb 5, 2017 (Opening Jan 15)

    The Board of Directors ofCabrillo Music Theatre has announced that the company has received enough donations from the community to continue production of its 2016-2017 season. These contributions will provide Cabrillo with the ability to retool the organization, to engage in a new focus and strategy, and to move into the future in a fiscally responsible way. That means productions of Evita (Oct 14 – 23), Sister Act (April 21 – 30, 2017), and Peter Pan (July 14 – 23, 2017) will go forward in the 1,800-seat Kavli Theatre. This is great news! Tickets: www.cabrillomusictheatre.com

    Recorded in Hollywood returns for a commercial run at Kirk Douglas Theatre with Broadway producer Lou Spisto joining Jamelle Dolphin to bring the story of black businessman, music producer and civil rights activist John Dolphin to a larger audience. Jamelle co-wrote the show’s book with Matt Donnelly. The musical features an original score by Andy Cooper as well as covers of some of the songs made famous by Dolphin’s recording artists and those he helped to bring to fame. Denise Dowse returns to direct. www.RecordedInHollywood.com

    A Dutches Theater Production presents the world premiere of The Story of Alice, a story that reinvents the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland. Show runs April 21 – May 29 at The Matrix Theatre. Alice finds herself in a mysterious otherworld filled with articulate woodland creatures struggling against a tyrant Queen and self-indulgent Havalots but, in an attempt to save herself, she must first save those she encounters during her wild adventure that is as real as it is confabulation. Directed by Gary Reed, with book and lyrics by Michael Cormier and music by Scott Hiltzik. www.plays411.com/alice

    Fiddler on the Roof opens at the Norris Theatre in Palos Verdes on April 22. Produced by Palos Verdes Performing Arts, the show will run through May 8. One of the most beloved stage and film musicals of all time, it is based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem and features music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein. Randy Brenner directs a cast that includes John Massey as Tevye and Barbara Niles as Golde,, with Rachel Hirshee (Tzeitel), Carlin Castellano (Hodel), Kanani Rose (Hodel), Jonathan Brett (Motel), Carol Kline (Yenta), Luke Monday (Perchik), Josh Wise (Fyedka), Martin Feldman (Lazar Wolf), Maggie Randolph (Fruma Sarah),  Greg Nicholas, Ashley Jewel, Alana Besikof, Bielke, Andrew Metzger,  Max Herzfeld, Adam Trent, Ron Rudolph, Mitchell Turner, Tiffany LaBarbera Palmer, Melanie Mockobey, Oliver Almonte, Eric Betts, Jean Sipos and Joan Perkins. Choreography is by Roger Castellano and musical direction by Sean Alexander Bart. www.palosverdesperformingarts.com.

    The Real Housewives of Toluca Lake: The Musical extends at the Falcon Theatre through May 1. The new musical features book, music & lyrics by Molly Bell, arrangements and additional music by Dolores Duran-Cefalu, and is directed by Roger Bean. www.falcontheatre.com

    Chance Theater announces an encore presentation of Fancy Nancy, The Musical as part of its second Theater for Young Audiences Series. Performances will begin May 6 and continue through May 22 on the Cripe Stage at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center. www.chancetheater.com

    Robert Allan Ackerman's world premiere political thriller with music about the Japanese tainted blood scandal, Blood, extends through April 17 at The Complex in Hollywood. Original music and songs are by “The Virgins” bassist Nick Ackerman and “Jet” drummer/vocalist Chris Cester. www.plays411.com/blood

    Linda Kerns joins undergraduate acting students from the UCLA TFT Department of Theater for a production of Carousel, directed by associate professor Jeremy Mann. Kerns, who plays Nettie Fowler in Carousel, has taught private voice and vocal performance classes for the Ray Bolger Musical Theater Program at UCLA TFT since 1999. Musical direction is by adjunct associate professor Dan Belzer and the dance sequences are choreographed by Christine Kellogg.  Performances will take place May 6-7 and May 10-14 at 8 pm. There will also be a 2 p. performance on Saturday, May 14. Tickets: www.tft.ucla.edu/theatertickets.

    The California Lutheran University Music and Theatre Arts departments presents The Drowsy Chaperone in the Black Box Theatre on the Thousand Oaks campus April 21 – May 1. The 20-member cast includes junior theater arts majors Leah Dalrymple, Malissa Marlow, Kevin Repich, Chris Reynolds-Baldwin, and Andrew Cervantes. Ken Gardner, chair of Cal Lutheran’s Theatre Arts Department, directs. Music lecturer Heidi Valencia Vas provides musical direction and music professor Dan Geeting conducts the orchestra. Barbara Wegher-Thompson, a senior adjunct faculty member in the Theatre Arts Department, is the choreographer. Tickets: CalLutheran.edu/theatrearts. For more information, call 805-493-3415.

    YouTube sensation Miss Coco Peru brings her latest solo show, A Gentle Reminder: Miss Coco Peru’s Guide to a Somewhat Happy Life, to the Renberg Theatre for four nights only - May 13, 14, 20 & 21. In her new show, Coco shares a step-by-step guide that leaves you prepared to enter the world again, ready to create your very own ‘somewhat’ happy life. “Why just a ‘somewhat’ happy life? Well, let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to be happy all the time because ‘happy’ people make such a racket!” Written and Performed by Clinton Leupp and directed by Michael Schiralli. www.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre

    The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica present the Box Brothers for two performances only Saturday, April 16 at 11:00am and 1:00pm. Oldest, Middlemost, Youngest, and Simpleton are the Box Brothers, four brothers who live in a box. Together with their best friend Big Drum, they set out on a boisterous musical journey to find happiness – and it’s the family musical party of the year! The Box Brothers use found objects and wooden boxes to turn Japanese percussion, African rhythms, jazz, and funk music into a hand-clapping, toe-tapping comic adventure for all ages. www.thebroadstage.com [Photo by Boy Haze]

    glory|struck Productions will present a one-night-only performance of Untitled and Unauthorized: ALMOST FAMOUS in Concert on Sunday, June 12 at the Troubadour. The show pays homage to the Cameron Crowe film and the classic music of the era, featuring a set list of classic rock songs. The theatrical concert experience is inspired by, celebrates, and parodies the story of Stillwater, hard-working band making good, their devoted female fans, and the teenage journalist covering them on their Almost Famous tour from summer ‘73. Casting and ticketing information is TBA. AlmostFamousinConcert

    The 32nd Annual S.T.A.G.E Gala celebrates the music of Steven Sondheim in Sondeim No. 5 in two performances on June 18, 2pm and 5pm at The Wallis. Funds raised will benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles. Headlining the cast are Susan Anton, Barrett Foa, Loretta Devine, Allison Janney and Andrea Marcovicci, with Cortes Alexander, Alexandra Billings, Mary Jo Catlett, James Clark, Carole Cook, Davis Gaines, Jason Graae, Alvin Ing, Branden James, Jean Louisa Kelly, Vicki Lewis, MaryJo Mundy, Madison Claire Parks, Bruce Vilanch and Lisa Vroman. David Galligan directs and Michael Orland is music director. www.stagela.com

    This Mother’s Day, the 18th annual MOMentum Place creates a fantastical world of aerial and circus performers, dancers and musicians in Theatricum Botanicum’s rustic outdoor amphitheater. Bring your mother to honor the MOMentum in her life – always on the go for others. Now, she can sit back, relax and enjoy an uncommon afternoon of performance delights that are kid friendly and full of surprises. Performers include Eros Biox, Georgia Bryant, Kyla Carter, Madeline Lampard, Alison Lockfeld, Eric Newton, Lexi Pearl, Jacqueline Shaw, Dreya Weber. Curated by Lexi Pearl. www.theatricum.com

    Award-winning tap dancing sensation Savion Glover and renowned jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette will blur the line between music and dance as they merge their brilliant talents into a surging rhythmic machine at Valley Performing Arts Center, one night only on Thursday May 26.  The performance promises to be a tour-de-force night of percussion and rhythm bursting with the full vibrational power exchanged between these two legends. www.valleyperformingartscenter.org

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    Richard Cabral. All photos by Chelsea Sutton

    His words. His story. Our city.

    We tell a lot of stories in the theatre. Here in Los Angeles, however, we don’t often tell stories that are authentically home-grown. Fighting Shadows is that rare exception, a deeply personal story of a Mexican-American boy who grew up in east L.A., survived abuse, gangs, prison, and drugs, ultimately overcoming every bad card dealt him. It is an important story and an especially meaningful one told with unflinching honesty and hard-won humility.

    Written and performed by Richard Cabral as a one man play with music, it was developed at the Ojai Playwrights Conference New Works Festival under the auspices of OPC’s artistic director & producer Robert Egan. Egan now directs the play’s world premiere at the Rosenthal Theater at Inner City Arts and shares writing credit with Cabral. Together they have created a mesmerizing 90 minutes of storytelling that unfolds like an extended lyrical poem. Do whatever you can to see it. It’s that powerful.

    More than once it reminded me of the kind of epic journey Shakespeare wrote about in his long-form narratives like Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. Cabral’s story is based on his own experiences growing up with a father who left when he was 6 and a mother who was ill-equipped to raise a child. A string of abusive boyfriends followed and when it was clear there was no love to be found within his family, he turned to the streets to find the love he desperately craved.

    In the gang motto “endure the pain, receive the love” he was reborn and at 13 he stole his first bike and ended up in a correctional facility. Probation followed and more difficulties. At 15 his girlfriend dies in a car crash. His new loves, meth and heroin, take over and revenge becomes his holy crusade. He’s arrested for possession and, while out on probation, shoots another boy for crossing the street, landing him a 35-year-to-life sentence at Ironwood State Prison. Once again he wrestles with the contradictions of life as an inmate and the shadowy demons that refuse to stay quiet.

    Eventually he is released and a turning point comes when he meets his young son for the first time. These are gripping sequences delivered with heartbreaking vulnerability. Still, there is more jail time ahead and more stumbles along the way.

    His saving grace comes at the age of 25 when he is introduced to Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries whose belief that “nothing stops a bullet like a job” has helped thousands of former gang members transform their lives and break the cycle of violence. With his unconditional love and compassion, Cabral finds his way to redemption one step at a time.

    While working as a baker at Homeboy Industries he is discovered by the producers of Southland and in a few short years he begins to thrive as an actor, appearing most notably in the first two seasons of American Crime, where I first saw his work. Perhaps it is the intensity with which he has experienced life that makes his acting so open and vulnerable. Whatever the reason, he has a gift and an uncanny ability to tell the truth moment by moment on stage.

    Cabral’s stories explain rather than preach and are crafted using a measured cadence that highlights his own natural rhythms in Fighting Shadows. A live soundtrack by Rocio Libertad Mendoza and Jesus Martinez underscores the beauty in the pain with haunting subtlety. Its effect is intoxicating as you’re drawn deeper and deeper into Cabral’s world.


    Scenic designer David Mauer captures the various street exteriors, and home and prison interiors, with three compact sections of chain link fence set against a dynamic mural panel emblazoned with the word “love.” Daniel Ionazzi’s angular lighting effects give depth to the intimate space and open up the breathing room beautifully.

    So, should you see this production? If you want to understand the story of a city you must first listen to the stories of its people. If you live in Los Angeles, I don’t think you can possibly miss it. What has come out of Cabral’s gut-wrenching past is a tale full of grit, courage, and inspiration unlike any you’ve ever seen on stage before. It is a true L.A. story and I recommend it unconditionally. I also hope it gets picked up for a longer run so more audiences have the opportunity to see it.

    FIGHTING SHADOWS
    April 15 – May 8, 2016
    The Rosenthal Theatre at Inner City Arts
    720 Kohler Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021
    Free, ample street and lot parking
    Tickets ($35): Fightingshadows.brownpapertickets.com or
    www.fightingshadowstheplay.com

    Fighting Shadows is produced by Jami Gertz in association with Homeboy Industries and The Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Homeboy Industries.
    Performances are Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 5pm & 8pm & Sundays at 3pm & 6pm.  (There will be no performances Thursday, May 5 & Friday, May 6 at 8pm and Saturday, May 7 at 5pm).  

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    The cast of The Full Monty. Photos by Isaac James Creative

    The destination for girls’ night out in Southern California this month is definitely Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton. That’s where 3-D Theatricals’ revival of David Yazbek and Terrence McNally’s The Full Monty kicks into high gear for the next two weekends.

    The lighthearted musical with a big message about believing in yourself is based on the 1997 British film of the same name, written by Simon Beaufoy and originally set in Sheffield, England. Following its stage premiere at the Old Globe in San Diego, the show opened on Broadway in the fall of 2000 and ran for 2 years and 770 performances, proving that the world was ready for a little fun.

    Since then it has made the rounds of a number of local regional theaters. I’ve seen a half a dozen or so productions, from the sassy first national tour at the Ahmanson, to a terrific revival at Musical Theatre West in 2007, to a very touching intimate production in Third Street Theatre’s 99-seat house in Hollywood.

    Now 3DT takes its stab at Monty with an upbeat version that many will find entertaining, but be prepared for a wide range of performance styles and varying levels of experience on stage. 

    The story follows a group of laid-off down on their luck steel workers in Buffalo, NY who decide to put on a strip show to make some fast cash. Problem is, they aren’t hunks, they can’t dance, and they have no idea what they’re doing. But they need the money and with a driven Jerry Lukowski (Allen Everman) leading them, this unlikely group of ordinary guys learns you can overcome any insecurity if you want the goal bad enough.

    David Engel and Janna Cardia

    This is the second time I’ve seen Broadway veteran David Engel in the role of Harold (the first was in the Musical Theatre West production mentioned above) and, if anything, he gets better every time he’s on stage. As the reluctant dance instructor and the sole male among them with any dance experience he plays the situational humor with understated elegance and ends up the one to watch every time.

    In that same MTW revival, Everman happened to be musical director, a role he fulfills in many productions for theatre companies in the Southland, including 3DT (Corey Hirsch is musical director here). This time around, as Jerry, he is determined and likeable, turning in a solid, if somewhat predictable, performance. Matthew Downs has built-in empathy as the overweight underdog Dave, Jerry’s best friend, and the one we’re not sure is going to get on board the full monty bus. He and Engel have the best duet of the show “You Rule My World,” a poignant yet comic number that reveals each man’s weakness and seals the audience’s investment in their dilemmas.

    Yazbek’s score is bright and his lyrics are full of twists. Nowhere is that more apparent than “Big Ass Rock” a song in which Dave and Jerry contemplate methods of suicide for Malcom (Tyler Miclean) following Malcom’s feeble attempt at carbon monoxide poisoning by locking himself in his car.

    Rovin Jay and the cast

    The wild card in this show is always “Horse” an older black man who surprises everyone during the dance audition. Rovin Jay does the role proud pulling out his mashed potato and funky chicken fancy footwork to the screams of the audience. Candi Milo’s dry wit makes piano player Jeannette a crazy addition to the mix of characters. Representing the tough old broads of vaudeville with her cigarette and piano in tow she shows up and never leaves.

    Jeanette Dawson also strikes a nice balance between rough around the edges brashness and genuine caring when it comes to her husband Dave. The rest of the ensemble women are mostly loud obnoxious types.

    Jeanette Dawson and Lauren Decierdo

    Lighting factors significantly into The Full Monty’s storytelling and is one of the show’s technical highlights. Jean-Yves Tessier points up the dinginess of locations like the strip club men’s room and after-hours rehearsal hall on what feels like a touring set. One particularly persistent center panel of the secenic design never stopped rocking back and forth at the Redondo Beach performance space and ended up being a distraction, as was the muffled sound. These shouldn’t be a problem once the show transfers to Plummer Auditorium this weekend.

    The show has plenty of heart to balance its bawdy blue-collar sensibility and leave you feeling good as you exit the theater. On some nights, thats really all you need.
                       
    THE FULL MONTY
    3-D Theatricals
    April 15 – 17: Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach
    April 22 – May 8: Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton
    Tickets: www.3dtshows.com

    Allen Everman

    Candi Milo

    Matthew Downs and David Engel

    Justin Berti

    The finale of The Full Monty

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    The company of American Idiot. All photos by Jason Niedle.

    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts' ONSTAGE Series presents American Idiot, music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, featuring musical direction by David O, choreography by Dana Solimando and directed by Brian Kite. The show runs through May 15 and stars Sean Garner as Johnny; Patrick Reilly as Tunny; Ian Brininstool as Will; AJ Mendoza as St. Jimmy; Jordan Kai Burnett as Whatshername; Ellie Wyman as Heather, Ashley Loren as Extraordinary Girl along with Juan Caballer, Alexander Garland, Bella Hicks, Jackson Hindon, Dylan Hoffinger, Billy Kametz, Adrianna Rose Lyons, Chris Marcos, Nina Schreckengost and Charlotte Mary Wen. Tickets: www.lamiradatheatre.com

    Jackson Hinden (center) with the cast

    Patrick Reilly (center front), Alexander Garland (center back)
    and the company


    Ian Brininstool, Sean Garner, Patrick Reilly and the company

    Ellie Wyman and Ian Brininstool

    Sean Garner and the company of American Idiot

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    Andrew Bongiorno (center) as Peter Allen and the cast of The Boy from Oz.
    All photos by Casey Kringlen

    Big and bold performances, bright retro choreography and a collection of fizzy pop songs by songwriter Peter Allen make up the latest good-time outing at Celebration Theatre where the west coast premiere of The Boy from Oz is sure to pack ‘em in for the duration of the run. And it should. One of Celebration’s strengths is taking large scale musicals, such as this, that typically fill a Broadway stage and reinterpreting them for a modest theater like their current home at the Lex. They did it with great success in their award-winning production of The Color Purple several years ago and they’ve done it again with The Boy from Oz.

    Over the course of two and a half hours, director Michael Sheppard and his cast bring back the devil-may-care exuberance of the ‘70s and ‘80s in this thoroughly engaging glitter ball of a musical, narrated by Allen as he relates and highs and lows of his singular career.

    Allen was a flamboyant entertainer, eternally optimistic in the face of disappointment, and a natural musician who learned how to strut his stuff at a very young age. During his 10-year collaboration with Carole Bayer Sager he wrote hits like “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” “Everything Old Is New Again” and “Quiet Please, There’s A Lady On Stage.” He wrote “I Honestly Love You,” for his friend Olivia Newton-John, which became her first number-one single in the U.S., and he also won an Academy Award for co-writing the theme fromArthur, “The Best That You Can Do” with Bayer Sager, Burt Bacharach, and Christopher Cross. These and another 20 of his best songs make up the score to The Boy from Oz.

    He was discovered by Judy Garland, who took him under her wing and on the road as her opening act, launching his international career. He met and married her daughter, Liza Minelli, which would end in divorce 7 years later when the couple could no longer ignore Allen’s homosexuality. And, in the end, he would leave his own joyful mark on music in an era when AIDS would claim far too many ahead of their time. All this, and more, is chronicled in this loving homage. 

    Hugh Jackman, Australia’s latest reigning king of the theatre, won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical in 2004 for his portrayal of Allen in the Broadway production. Now, Andrew Bongiorno steps into the limelight, summoning up buckets of charm in a fresh, likable performance that captures the spirit of the entertainer and the heart of the man.

    Jessica Pennington and Andrew Bongiorno

    Bongiorno’s non-stop energy sets the pace as each of the major characters who impacted his life appears. From Judy Garland (Bess Motta), to Liza (Jessica Pennington), to his mother (Kelly Lester), to long-time lover Greg Connell (Michael Mittman), each one plays an important part in Allen’s glitzy show biz world. Motta and Pennington tear into their performances with fiery gusto, Motta embodying the cynicism and quirky mannerisms of Judy in her later years with uncanny precision, and Pennington’s big doe eyes brimming with vulnerability and pain.

    Andrew Bongiorno and Bess Motta

    Bongiorno and Mittman’s playful chemistry turns bittersweet when AIDS comes knocking, as it did so unexpectedly and so often in the mid ‘80s, and an 11 o’clock number by Lester poignantly explains why few in Allen’s life were privy to his real feelings.

    One of the most exciting aspects of the show is the way choreographer Janet Roston brings the various moments of Allen’s story to life via dance, and she does it on an incredibly tiny stage. Her rousing episode of Australian Bandstand is full of the wholesome teenage joie de vivre that characterized the 1950s, and, in the ‘60s, her sensual bump-and-grind moves easily take you back to New York’s Studio 54. An ingenious bit of casting allows her to create a Rockette kick-line that is hands-down a high point, with a statuesque (and what looks like 7-foot tall) drag queen (Marcus S. Daniel) owning the stage at one end and a petite Rockette doll (Shanta’ Marie Robinson) at the other.

    The ‘70s come alive with pelvic thrusts and splashy disco moves, and a sequin-filled finale choreographed to Allen’s signature song “I Go To Rio” gives the show a big nightclub finish, putting a jubilant button on a life that wasn’t lived quietly. Indeed, Allen himself said the only way to go out was to go out loud and he most certainly did.

    Michael Mullen’s terrific costumes are a rainbow spectrum of vintage creations: bright red jackets and skinny ties to capture the Bandstand era, iconic looks for Liza that eerily resemble photographs we’ve seen of the singer throughout her career, and enough polyester and sequins to show off Allen’s lanky frame with style. Musical director Bryan Blaskie builds the show musically until it peaks in an all-out party on stage. Best of all, you can hear every single word.

    If its true that good things come in small packages, then Celebration Theatre has cornered the market on how to re-imagine a big Broadway musical for an intimate theatre experience while keeping its showstopping pizzazz intact. The fun of The Boy from Oz is proof positive.

    Andrew Bongiorno, Marcus S. Daniel (center) and cast

    Andrew Bongiorno and Michael Mittman

    THE BOY FROM OZ
    April 22 – June 19, 2016
    Celebration Theatre
    6760 Lexington Ave.
    Los Angeles, CA, 90038
    Tickets: 323-957-1884 or www.celebrationtheatre.com
    $45 (Reserved); $40 (General Seating)
    Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm

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    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts& McCoy Rigby Entertainment’s 2016-2017 season will kick off with the Los Angeles Premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring Tom Hewitt as Frollo and Lesli Margherita as Esmeralda on Sept 16. Directed by Glenn Casale with choreography by Dana Solimando, it features a gorgeous score by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, plus book by Peter Parnell. The season also includes Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor directed by Art Manke (Oct 21 – Nov 13), Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years directed by Nick DeGruccio (Jan 20 – Feb 12, 2017), West Side Story directed by Richard Israel (April 21 – May 17, 2017), and Man of La Mancha directed by Glenn Casale (June 2– June 25, 2017). www.lamiradatheatre.com

    Valley Performing Arts Center’s 2016-2017 season will include Emmy and Tony Award-winning Tyne Daly starring in a one-night only concert performance of Jerry Herman’s Dear World, which opens the season on September 30, followed by Tony Winner Kelli O’Hara in concert on October 14. Also on the season are full productions of West Side Story (March 10-12) and Man of La Mancha (May 5-7) both co-presented with McCoy Rigby Entertainment, the premiere of  the VPAC-produced children’s musical Hansel & Gretel featuring original music by Justin Roberts, directed by Michael Matthews (January 22), and Taj Express’s The Bollywood Musical Review (April 19). For a complete listing of events, go to Valleyperformingartscenter.org.

    Actors Co-op has announced its 2016-2017 35th silver anniversary season, which will include the musical Lucky Stiff, May 12 - June 18, 2017. The Tony Award-winning writing team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on this Island) has created a hilarious musical murder mystery farce mixing diamonds, mistaken identities and a body in a wheelchair (oh, and puppies), in this all singing, all dancing, killer musical comedy. Also on the season is The Turn of the Screw by Jeffrey Hatcher, Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations, and Cats Paw by William Mastrosimone. Actorsco-op.org.

    The Old Globe’s 2016-2017 season will open with the west coast premiere of October Sky, a musical tale of boys, rockets, and big dreams. Inspired by the beloved 1999 Universal Pictures film and Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam, Jr., it features a book by Marsha Norman and Aaron Thielen, and music & lyrics by Michael Mahler. The show is directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell and runs Sept 10 – Oct 23 (opening night is 9/22). In the sleepy town of Coalwood, West Virginia, school is just something you do until you’re old enough to work in the coal mines. After the Soviets launch the Sputnik rocket, a local high schooler named Homer decides to enter a rocketry competition against the wishes of his domineering, practical-minded dad. With the help of his friends and the local community, he just might light up the night. October Sky is a musical slice of small-town Americana packed with youthful exuberance that will send your heart soaring and inspire you to reach for the stars. www.theoldglobe.org

    Panic! Productions opens Disney’s Camp Rock: The Musical, a stage adaptation of the popular Disney Channel movie, tonight at NoHo Arts Center. Performances run through May 22. Directed by Barry Pearl, with choreography by Keenon Hooks and musical direction by Sean Alexander Bart, the high-energy show is a classic story of rivalry and power. Of friends arriving for another summer at Camp Rock, ready to have the time of their lives, only to discover the flashy, new Camp Star competing across the lake. The 28-member cast includes Trae Adair, Mackinnley Balleweg, Hannah Cohen, Batya Conn, Tate Downing, Madison Foreman, Maya Galipeau, Sam Herbert, Justin P. James, Tatum Krainman, Haley Ligsay, Kailee McFerran, Jade McGlynn, Jamie McRae, Allison Martinez, Gabriel Nunag, Jaden O'Neal, Adelle Panico, Elaine Panico, Paul Panico, Zoë Reed, Jenna Shechter, Bailey Stillwell, Scott Strauss, Ashley Kiele Thomas, Noah Varav, Kylie Vincent, and Allison Zatlin. Ticket Link

    The Hollywood Fringe Festival kicks off in June and that means a slew of new plays and musicals will be vying for attention. Good People Theater Company returns to the festival with a Fringe First – the off-Broadway hit The Toxic Avenger Musical, June 4 – 26. Based on Lloyd Kaufman’s cult film, this rock-n-roll adaptation (books & lyrics by Joe DiPietro, music & lyrics by David Bryan) shamelessly amps up the camp with power ballads, dirty politics, love-is-blind romance, yards of sequins, scattered body parts and mysterious green goo. The show is directed and choreographed by artistic and producing director, Janet Miller, with musical direction by Corey Hirsch.

    “Who could turn down a feel-good musical about nuclear waste?” says Miller. “No one has done it yet. It’s rock-n-roll. It’s mutant. It’s generally just pretty ridiculous. Perfect for us—and for Fringe!” Cast includes Sarah Dalton, Danny Fetter, Shirley Anne Hatton, Jared Reed, and Wesley Tunison. Produced by Good People Theater Company and Alejandro Patiño. Performances takes place at Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood, 1076 Lillian Way. Tickets: GoodPeopleTheaterCo.org. Run time: 2 hours with intermission. PG-13 for slightly risqué, subject matter. http://hff16.org/3539

    Also at the Fringe, Miss Beryl Swiver presents Thanks A Lot – My Gratitusical!, one woman’s musical journey to herself and back, June 5 – 26 at Sacred Fools Theater directed by Kiff Scholl. The show features book by Richard Levinson and Rebecca Larsen, music & lyrics by Richard Levinson, and additional material by Jenelle Riley. Produced by Brian Wallis. Tickets: http://hff16.org/3814

    Musical Theatre Guild closes its 20th Anniversary Season with a one-night-only concert version of The Pajama Game on Sunday, May 15. The story deals with a labor dispute at the Sleep-Tite pajama factory where workers’ demands for a 7-1/2 cent raise are going unheeded. Lewis Wilkenfeld directs a cast that includes Shannon Warne (Babe), Damon Kirsche (Sid), Jason Graae (Hines), Leslie Stevens (Gladys), Tracy Lore (Mabel), Doug Carfrae (Hasler), John Massey (Prez) and Chuck Bergman (Pop), along with Barbara Carlton Heart, Glenn Rosenblum, Jennifer Shelton, Jenni Baker, Cedric Dodd, Ryan J. Driscoll, Melissa Glasgow, Tanner Richins and Kyra Selman. Musical direction is by Corey Hirsch and choreography by Daniel Smith. 7pm at The Alex Theatre in Glendale. www.musicaltheatreguild.com

    Cabrillo Music Theatre brings The Little Mermaid to the stage beginning July 15, directed by Larry Raben and choreographed by Heather Castillo. A discontented mermaid, Ariel, dreams of the world above the sea, and sacrifices her beautiful, captivating voice in search of true love and a sense of belonging in this family musical written by Doug Wright, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman & Glenn Slater. The cast of 39 will include Alison Bagli (Ariel),  Conor Guzman (Prince Eric), Lawrence Cummings (Sebastian), Debbie Prutsman (Ursula), David Engel (King Triton), Michael Kennedy (Flounder), Lyrissa Leininger (Adella), and Missy Marion (Andrina) as well as a full orchestra. A post-show discussion with cast, staff, and audience will follow the Saturday, July 16th, 2pm performance, and a signed performance for the deaf and hard-of-hearing will take place on Friday, July 22 at 8pm. www.cabrillomusictheatre.com

    By popular demand, Disney’s Newsies will return to Los Angeles for a 2-week return engagement at Hollywood Pantages Theatre, August 30 – September 10. The show is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers. Directed by Jeff Calhoun and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, it has a Tony® Award-winning score with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and a book by Harvey Fierstein. Tickets are currently on sale to current season ticket holders. Individual tickets will go on sale to the general public on Sunday, May 22nd at 10am PT. www.HollywoodPantages.com

    The Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy and Kritzerland Entertainment present L.A. Now and Then, a new musical revue about Los Angeles, May 13 – 21 at the Caminito Theater on the campus of L.A. City College. The show is conceived and directed by Bruce Kimmel and features music & lyrics by Michele Brourman, Grant Geissman, Paul Gordon, Karen Gottlieb, Bruce Kimmel, Shelly Markham, Wayne Moore, Adryan Russ, and Two-Time Academy Award winner Richard M. Sherman. Sketch and monologue collaborators include Doug Haverty, Bruce Kimmel, Bruce Vilanch, David Wechter.

    This unique new work also features a 6-piece band under the musical direction of Richard Allen with choreography by Cheryl Baxter-Ratliff and orchestrations by Lanny Meyers. The cast includes guest artists April Audia, Dennis Kyle and Robert Yacko performing with LACC Academy students Sarah Barnett, Paola Fregoso, Alexis Jackson, Bedjou Jean, Prisca Kim, Michael MacRae, Kole Martin, Shawna Merkley, Lamont Oakley, Kasper Svendsen, and Elle Willgues. Jenny Bacon - Understudy. 

    Billie Holiday: Front and Center begins its world premiere engagement at Fremont Centre Theatre on May 27. Written, performed and produced by Sybil Harris and directed by B’Anca, it will run through June 19. Harris portrays multiple characters and sings some of Holiday’s greatest hits, among them God Bless the Child, Strange Fruit, What a Little Moonlight Can Do, All of Me, Don’t Explain, My Man, Good Morning Heartache, many more, accompanied by a live jazz ensemble. Ticket Link


    Chris Isaacson Presents and Ronn Goswick have announced aBroadway Under the Stars special one-night-only concert starring the original Dreamgirls–Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, and Jennifer Holliday in conversation and song, 8pm on Sunday, July 10 at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. www.FordTheatres.org

    Liz Callaway brings her cabaret act to Rubicon Theatre Company’s Broadway Musical Concert Series on May 7 & 8. The show will include her favorite Broadway show tunes, songs from movie musicals and pop hits from the 1960s. www.rubicontheatre.org

    Untitled & Unauthorized: Almost Famous in Concert has announced its cast. The one-night-only special performance plays the Troubadour on June 12 and stars Garrett Clayton, Kelley Jakle, Corbin Bleu, Chrissie Fit, Ashley Argota, Emma Hunton, Lindsay Pearce, Shelley Regner, and Abraham Lim. More info on Facebook @AlmostFamousinConcert.

    June Squibb will be part of the 32nd annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (STAGE), Sondheim No. 5 at The Wallis in Beverly Hills on June 18. Two performances at 2pm and 8pm will benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles. Also joining the previously announced all-star cast will be Julie Garnye, Radmar Jao, Deborah Nishimura, Tedd Szeto and Peter Varvel. Begun in 1984, STAGE is the longest-running annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser in the world. www.stagela.com

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    Darren Criss as Hedwig. All photos by Joan Marcus

    Big news from the Hollywood Pantages Theatre today: Darren Criss will star as Hedwig when the highly anticipated national tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch makes its Los Angeles premiere at Hollywood Pantages Theatre in November. Criss previously played Hedwig on Broadway to critical acclaim for 12 weeks last year. Joining him from the original Broadway cast will be the members of Hedwig’s band The Angry Inch -- aka Tits of Clay –music director Justin Craig (guitar and keyboards), Matt Duncan (bass), Tim Mislock (guitar), and Peter Yanowitz (drums). The Tony Award-winning musical will run Nov 1 -27.

    The landmark musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask is a genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances that tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage. “Internationally ignored song stylist” Hedwig Robinson (Darren Criss) is out to set the record straight about her life, her loves, and the botched operation that left her with that “angry inch.”

    Tickets are currently available for purchase with a season package to the Hollywood Pantages 2016-2017 Season. Individual tickets will go on sale to the general public at a later date to be announced. For more information visit www.HollywoodPantages.com.

    Please note: Darren Criss will NOT appear as Hedwig in the following performances: Sunday, Nov 6 at 6:30pm; Sunday, Nov 13 at 6:30pm; Sunday, Nov 20 at 6:30pm & Friday, Nov 25 at 8:00pm.




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    This will be the first season with the arts center’s new leadership team in place – Artistic Director Paul Crewes, Managing Director Rachel Fine, and Board Chairman David C. Bohnett– and The Wallis is planning to kick it off in a big way. On Sept 10 and 11, they invite everyone to the center for WelcomeFest, a weekend celebration of free theater, dance and music events. The festival will utilize all areas of The Wallis from the 500-seat Bram Goldsmith Theater and intimate 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, to the outdoor Promenade Terrace and elegant Jamie Tisch Sculpture Garden. Event details will be announced at a later date.

    Perhaps the most exciting news for L.A. theatre lovers is the announcement that Michael Arden(who just received Tony, Drama Desk and New York Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Best Direction of Spring Awakening) will be The Wallis’s first ever Artist-in-Residence. He will develop new work, conduct a Master Class and direct two new productions: including Steven Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along (Nov 22 – Dec 18, 2016) and Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride.

    The Wallis and ASCAP will present An Evening with Stephen Schwartz:Music & Broadway Memories with Special Broadway Guest Stars on Feb 3, 2017. Spend an evening of music and Broadway memories from Stephen Schwartz, the Tony, Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer/lyricist whose credits include the classic musicals Wicked, Godspell and Pippin, as well as the Walt Disney films Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Enchanted, and the DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt. The Wallis also welcomes back the ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Workshop in Partnership with DreamWorks Animation and The Wallis on Feb 1 & 2, 2017.

    For The Recordreturns to L.A. for Martin Scorsese: American Crime Requiem (Sept 21 – Oct 16, 2016). The show stars an eclectic mix of artists from the worlds of music, stage and screen performing an epic set list from GoodFellas, Casino, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street and more. Part rock concert, part drama, part nightclub, and always entertaining. Pictured: Justin Mortelliti and Ensemble.

    Hershey Felder also returns to The Wallis with the premiere of his new production, Tchaikovsky: A Play with Music, written and performed by Felder and directed by Trevor Hay(July 19 – Aug 6, 2017). Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, one of Russia’s most famous composers, is known for his beautiful melodies from the ballets Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. At the age of 53, Tchaikovsky conducted the premiere of his enigmatic Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique,” of which he said, “Let them guess what it means…” Nine days later he was dead. To this day, how and why he died are still a mystery. Now Felder’s newest work unveils the life of one of the most beloved and tormented composers of all time.

    Families will enjoy The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences production of Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in A Play! (April 22 – 23, 2017). The entertaining musical experience is ripped from the pages of Mo Willems’s beloved, award-winning, best-selling children’s books and will leave audiences doing the “Flippy Floppy Floory” dance all night long. In this vaudevillian romp, Elephant and Piggie sing and dance their way through plenty of pachydermal peril and swiney suspense. Recommended for ages 4+.
    Also for the whole family is a Family Concert on Jan 29, 2017 featuring
    Dan Zanes & Friends. This is the third time the Grammy Award-winner will perform at The Wallis and this time he brings his friend Sonia de los Santos for a bilingual English and Spanish concert for kids and kids-at-heart.

    For a complete schedule of all the theatre, dance, jazz and classical events coming to The Wallis, visit www.TheWallis.org.

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    L-R: Constantine Rousouli, Nikki Bohne, Jared Gertner,
    Kayla Parker and Justin Michael Wilcox. All photos by Michael Lamont

    Lovers of the era of Busby Berkeley movie musicals are getting a double whammy of Golden Age goodness this month with a pair of musicals playing only two blocks from each other in Hollywood. I Only Have Eyes For You is already running at the mid-sized Ricardo Montalban Theatre on Vine and, very shortly, 42nd Street will open at the much larger Hollywood Pantages. Both are inescapably linked by their subject matter.  

    The latter is a Tony Award-winning musical based on the 1933 Warner Bros. film that made Ruby Keeler a star, featuring songs by lyricist Al Dubin and composer Harry Warren. The former tells the story of Dubin’s troubled personal and professional life, and includes the back story to 42nd Street among its significant events. The two musicals even share five songs written by Dubin and Warren: “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway” and both title songs – “42nd Street” and “I Only Have Eyes For You.”

    But while 42nd Street has already established itself a winner, the newer I Only Have Eyes For You is still looking to make its mark. Originally produced in the late ‘90s at the since-demolished Tiffany Theatre on Sunset under the name Lullaby of Broadway, it boasts a number of charms in its newly-retooled version. Among them are a first-rate cast, beautiful period costumes, bright witty choreography, and of course, those wonderful tunes. And with director/choreographer Kay Cole helming the production, every dance number is a gem.

    Jared Gertner and Constantine Rousouli

    When Al (Jared Gertner) meets Harry Warren (Constantine Rousouli) over oysters in Grand Central Station, they seal the deal on their new partnership with a terrific song-and-dance number, “With Plenty of Money and You,” reminiscent of the old vaudeville buddy acts. A lingerie-clad sweetheart (Valerie Perri) and her three muscle men in turn-of-the-century bathing costumes (Julian DeGuzman, Karl Warden, and Justin Michael Wilcox) brilliantly play the comedy card (one of many in Cole’s dance specialties) during “Mechanical Man,” while Ruby (Kayla Parker) and Syd (DeGuzman) show off their skills in a classic tap “rehearsal” number You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me.

    The most beautiful of the bunch is the opening of Act II which pairs Dubin’s long-suffering wife Helen (Nikki Bohne) singing “Painting the Clouds with Sunshine” with two dancers (Kim Taylor and Warden) performing an exquisite pas de deux behind her. Even the scene changes offer up snippets of personality with dancing waiters and porters rolling on set pieces and tapping off into the wings. It’s a given that the big numbers like “42nd Street” and “Lullaby of Broadway” will provide even larger doses of pizzazz.

    Karl Warden and Kim Taylor

    What is still not yet fully fleshed out is the connective tissue; the story between those classic songs and remarkable dance numbers. The framing device for this bio-musical is unclear, beginning initially with Helen telling the story but that idea is quickly abandoned. Subsequent vignettes offer the bullet points of Dubin’s life and the obsessions that tortured him, but bookwriters Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner don’t always achieve a natural flow between the elements. 

    Sometimes it is a case of inserting the wrong song, as when Dubin returns after a 4-day bender only to find he’s been replaced as Warren’s writing partner by Johnny Mercer. They argue and, after Dubin leaves, Warren sings “Don’t Give Up the Ship” a song about not giving up on a friend…after it looks like he’s given up on his friend. At other times, the lead-in to, or transition out of, a song doesn’t serve the story, or a scene simply stops for the next number, as in the cut to the finale. Either way, crafting a book to go with a set of pre-existing songs is like putting together a puzzle. When the pieces fit, the picture is divine but you can always tell when the edges don’t line up.

    Regardless of those challenges, the cast really delivers the goods. The role of Al Dubin appears tailor-made for Gertner who is sweet, charming, infuriating, and absolutely wonderful in the role. His eleven o’clock number “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is a film noir-inspired showstopper and Gertner delivers the dramatic turn beautifully. Bohne possesses a lovely soprano voice that adds depth to her winsome appeal and Rousouli is extremely likable as Dubin’s most significant professional relationship.
    Julian DeGuzman and Kayla Parker

    The famous personalities that populate Dubin’s world are also brought to life by a group of dynamic entertainers. Kayla Parker is a breath of fresh air as Ruby Keeler, the tap dancing starlet who married Al Jolson, played by Justin Michael Wilcox. Jolson’s sound was unmistakable and Wilcox has his vocals down to a T. In fact, musical director Gerald Sternbach has achieved something rare with this production. The individual voices, and resulting overall character of the show’s sound, completely recreates the classic movie musical sound of the ’30s and ‘40s. It’s stylistically consistent with the genre throughout – from orchestra to vocals to sound design (Cricket Myers at her finest once again) – and that alone is a delight

    Elijah Rock and dancers

    There are also strong performances by Elijah Rock as charismatic jazz singer and bandleader Cab Calloway, Dominic Pierson as the great showman Busby Berkeley, and Valerie Perri, who has perfected the art of a Jewish mother’s guilt, as Dubin’s mother.

    One other element of the production design bears special mention. Much like Sternbach has captured the sound of movies, so, too, has lighting designer Brandon Baruch captured the style of visual richness you can only find in film. At times, the stage would take on a glow that was absolutely sublime. One beautiful example is the way he lit Helen during the reprise of “September in the Rain.” The combination of her vintage red gown, a simple gold tablecloth and chairs, and a floor to ceiling blue curtain somehow all melted together under the lights to create a breathtaking effect. The gorgeous costumes are by Debra McGuire and stylish set pieces are by John Iacovelli.

    In many ways the show feels like a vintage love letter to the Golden Age of film. It bridges the period before and after the stock market crash, from Broadway to Hollywood, vaudeville song and dance to Tinseltown talkies, and that makes for a wonderfully happy night at the theatre. There’s work to be done but still much to love.|

    Jared Gertner

    Nikki Bohne and Jared Gertner

    Nikki Bohne, Valerie Perri and Jared Gertner

    Act I Finale - 42nd Street

    Nikki Bohne

    The finale of  I Only Have Eyes For You

    I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU
    May 10 – June 12, 2016
    Montalban Theatre
    1615 Vine Street
    Hollywood, CA 
    Tickets: 323-461-6999 or www.flavorus.com
    Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm; Sundays at 3pm

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    Alison Woods as Ariel in The LIttle Mermaid.
    Photo credit: Bruce Bennett courtesy of Theatre Under The Stars.

    MUSICAL NEWS:

    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts presentsThe Little Mermaid, featuring music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, book by Doug Wright, June 3 – 26. Musical direction is by Colin R. Freeman, choreography by John MacInnis and the show is directed by Glenn Casale. The cast includes Alison Woods as Ariel, Melvin Abston (Sebastian), Adam Garst (Flounder), Fred Inkley (King Triton), Eric Kunze (Prince Eric), Tracy Lore (Ursula), Jeff Skowron (Chef Louis), Jamie Torcellini (Scuttle), Scott T. Leiendecker (Flotsam), Jeffrey Christopher Todd (Jetsam), and Time Winters (Grimsby) along with Ashley Anderson, Kim Arnett, Kristine Bennett, Marjorie Failoni, Melissa Glasgow, Devon Hadsell, Michael McGurk, Amanda Minano, Dennis O’Bannon, Marco Ramos, Aaron Ronelle, James Shackelford, Brian Steven Shaw and Tro Shaw. www.lamiradatheatre.com


    New Musicals Inc. and 3-D Theatricals have announced the cast for their upcoming staged reading of the new musical Invisible, book by David Hollingsworth, lyrics & music by David Orris. The reading will be co-directed by 3-D Theatrical’s artistic director T.J. Dawson and NMI’s artistic director Elise Dewsberry; with music direction by Ron Barnett; sound design by Julie Ferrin; and puppet design by Patricio Wolovich. The show is a John-Hughes-esque musical theatre re-interpretation of the HG Wells classic The Invisible Man with a totally original pop/rock score that takes great joy in paying homage to popular music and popular cultural tropes of the era. Featured in the cast are Michael Thomas Grant, Daniel Amerman, Ashley Argota, Jordan Goodsell, Christie Brooke, Natalie MacDonald, Jay Cramer, Luke Klipp, Luke Matthew Simon, and Daniel Mills.The presentations will take place on Monday, June 6 (8pm) at the Colony Theatre in Burbank; and on Tuesday, June 7 (8pm) at the 3-D Theatricals Rehearsal Hall in Anaheim. Visit www.nmi.org to learn more.

    Musical Theatre Guild has announced its 2016-2017 season. For the last twenty years, MTG has presented a wide variety of rarely seen musicals including west coast and Los Angeles premieres from such composers as Stephen Sondheim, Jason Robert Brown, Maury Yeston, and Aherns and Flaherty. MTG also partners with the Los Angeles Music Center’s Education Division to expand their mission of preserving the genre of Musical Theatre by presenting in-school programming to teach a new generation about this original American art form. Season includes:

    Sept 25, 2016: Promises, Promises
    Nov 13, 2016: The Spitfire Grill
    February 2, 2017: Hallelujah, Baby!
    May 7, 2017: State Fair
    Season tickets go on sale in late June and single tickets will be available in July. All performances take place at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. www.musicaltheatreguild.com

    NEWS FROM THE FRINGE:
    Acclaimed company Robot Teammate & The Accidental Party returns with the world premiere of their second scripted musical, an epic dystopian comedy titled Thug Tunnel. Somewhere in the not-so-distant-future, greed, pollution, and The Ancient Fire of Death and Despair has made Earth's surface uninhabitable, forcing the human race to survive underground in a criminal society known as Thug Tunnel. No one dares defy the violent rulers Breakin' Necks Becky (Nikki Muller) and Stabby Rick (Dave Reynolds) until a young Tunnelborn named Petunia (Kat Primeau) and her lovesick sidekick Panther (Chris Bramante) decide to make a break for the world above. Aided by (Miles Crosman) an old Tunnel sage, and the phosphorescent Yogurt Stew (Molly Dworsky), Petunia and Panther journey through the Double Darkness, into the Maze of Infinite Confusion, and past the Great Grate to see if life on Earth's surface is possible once again. June 9 – 20 at Sacred Fools Theater Main Stage. http://hff15.org/3671

    Book, lyrics, and music were conceived through improvisations and refined during writing sessions with the Robot Teammate ensemble, led by director Molly Dworsky. Musical accompaniment is by Sam Johnides and Branson NeJame plus live band members Matt Campbell, Dan Macken, and Christopher Sousa. For more about Robot Teammate, go to www.robotteammate.com.

    Sugimation Productions announces the world premiere of Broadway Noir, created by Dan Sugimoto, the musical director who brought you the CAC Studios shows ChicabaRENT, Project Mayhem and the 2015 Fringe Best in Cabaret & Variety, Thenadier’s Inn #NotLesMis, Broadway Noir is an original musical comedy that reveals the black heart of show biz. Start with your detective tale. Add a few dames. A dash of comedy. A few coppers. Some good, old-fashioned drama. A little song and dance. And finally toss back a few murders for your chaser. That’s the Broadway Noir cocktail, a combination you’re going to want to taste for yourself. Performances take place at Three Clubs, June 2 – 19 (with 2 previews in Santa Monica May 26 & 31). Come dressed in your ‘40s finest! http://hff16.org/3595

    A new sci-fi musical comedyThe Cure to Mortality by Katy Erin will debut at the Fringe June 11 – 25 at the Asylum @ The McCadden Theater. The futuristic musical farce explores what happens to society when science takes the possibility of eternal life seriously. Erin will also star in the show, along with Molly Gilman (who directs), Sandra Diana Cantu, Mary Ann Pianka, and Brookelyn Rose. Music by Katy Erin and Christoffer Schunk. The show opens with a pay-what-you-can preview on June 5 prior to its run. Tickets: http://hff16.org/3522

    Also at the Asylum @ McCadden Theatre, internationally-recognized classical pianist David Wheatley will appear in a genre-defying concert experience, A Useful Life in C Major. Wheatley’s repertoire ranges from classical favorites and original compositions to jazz, country, R&B and everything in between. The performance showcases his versatility at the keyboard as well as the range of the instrument itself. Visits from friends, surprising storytelling, and stand-up comedy make the show elevated enough for adults but friendly for the whole family. June 5 – 26. Tickets: http://hff16.org/3849

    Theatre Unleashed is bringing back its critically acclaimed crowd favorite A Feast of Snacks to the Fringe at the Lounge Theater, June 3 – 25. This anthology of four bite-sized comedic musicals written by Michael Gordon Shapiro and directed by Julia Plostnieks, include:

    In The Charmed Life(Co-written with Mark Harvey Levine), Margie has experienced unnaturally good luck her entire life. One afternoon she discovers the source of her good luck: a secret admirer, who for years has been covertly making her life better.

    In Climb the Smallest Mountain, miniature golf legend Darius “Duke” McGovern seems poised to win his seventh world championship until a competitor finds a loophole in the rules that allows him to disrupt Duke's game.

    In HMS Headwind, the merry crewmembers of an 18th century British frigate have one problem: their failure to capture a single enemy vessel.

    And in a brand new piece, The Escape Artist, making its world premiere, the overly confident Scotty shows us the ropes of getting out of jury duty…until he meets a stubborn judge and a potential rival. http://hff16.org/3796

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    Lena Hall in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Photo credit: Jamie Loeb

    MUSICAL NEWS
    More big news from the Hollywood Pantagesthis week:Lena Hallwill reprise her Tony Award-winning performance as Yitzhak in the highly anticipated national tour ofHedwig and the Angry Inch coming this fall. She joins Darren Criss on the tour, November 1 – 27, 2016. In addition, Hall will also play the role of Hedwig for one performance a week in San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is rare a Tony Award winner to go on national tour, and historic for the same person to play both Hedwig and Yitzhak.

    Book writer John Cameron Mitchell says, “Oh my Goddess, Lena Hall is the only talent I know who could play a brilliant Yitzhak and Hedwig in the same production. Talk about finding your other half. It’s Hedwig history in the making.”

    Hall will appear as Hedwig in the following performances: Sunday, Nov 6 at 6:30 pm, Sunday, Nov 13 at 6:30 pm, Sunday, Nov20 at 6:30 pm, and Friday, Nov 25 at 8:00 pm. Tickets are currently only available for purchase with a season package to the Hollywood Pantages 2016-2017 Season. Individual tickets will go on sale to the general public at a later date TBA. www.HollywoodPantages.com


    Deaf West Theatre’s Tony-nominated production ofSpring Awakening has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the cast to perform on the Tony Awards June 12. You can read more about their journey at www.GetSpringOnTheTonys.com and help support them. Contributions to Deaf West Theatre's Kickstarter are tax deductible.

    “The past few weeks have been a thrill for Deaf West and everyone at Spring Awakening,” said D.J. Kurs, artistic director of Deaf West Theatre. “We are not in the business of theater-making for awards recognition, but being recognized and remembered by the Broadway community, particularly in this season of diversity, is something to treasure,”.

    “Our journey to Broadway originally began with a Kickstarter, which funded rehearsals in a tiny church in North Hollywood and performances at the 99-seat Inner City Arts’ Rosenthal Theater in Los Angeles. Now, as a non-profit, Deaf West is looking to our fervent supporters, many of whom supported Spring Awakening’s acclaimed limited run on Broadway, to reunite our far-flung cast for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform for the world on the Tony Awards broadcast. There’s just one night a year that theater gets this platform. Our performance will be an undeniable statement to the world that theater is for everyone.”

    MORE NEWS FROM THE FRINGE:
    Angel’s Flight, a film noir caburlesque comedy written by Matt Ritchey and Benjamin Schwartz, will premiere at Three Clubs cocktail bar, June 4 – 25. The hour-long detective story partners Ritchey and Schwartz with the Cherry Poppins Caburlesque Company, residents at Three Clubs and winners of Hollywood Fringe’s 2015 “Most Orgasmic Performance.”

    It’s Los Angeles, 1944. A girl’s gone missing, but L.A. detective Duff McKagan is hot on this swell doll’s trail, barking up the wrong trees and other such noir-ish clichés. But things aren’t always as they seem in the City of Angels, and the chase becomes a downward spiral of betrayal, murder, and the deadliest drug of all: marijuana. Featured in the cast are Schoen Hodges, Sarah Haworth, Allison Miller, David Lee Garver, Michael Onofri, Ben Blonigan, Kelly Stevenson, Rebecca Reaney, Brin Hamlin, Heath Butler, Benjamin Schwartz, Bradley Benz, and Madeleine Heil. For audiences 21 and up. Tickets: http://hff16.org/3353.

    Tap Overloadis premiering a new original tap dance story show at the Fringe, June 4 – 24 at Sacred Fools Theater Main Stage. Office Beat is a light-hearted, toe tapping, family-friendly dance comedy with original music by Andrew Van Vlear and directed & choreography by Gabe and Mindy Copeland (additional choreography by Dianne Walker and Hiroshi Hamanishi) Tappy workers once happily shuffling through their days are in for a dramatic flap ball change when the arrival of a new Boss brings a strict no tap dance policy.  An office revolt breaks out as everyone unites to bring tap dance back to the office.

    Cast includes Maddy Beadle, Clarissa Yoshiko Chun, Gabe Copeland, Mindy Copeland, Hilary Cunningham, Racquel Dirckze, Heidi Drinkward, Erin Esparza, Jimmy Fisher, Mark Marchillo, Aaron Pardini, Brooke Paulsen-Zelus, Gary Roberts, Valerie Rockey and Angela Todaro. Running time: 60 minutes. Tickets: http://hff16.org/3390. For more about the show, visit www.tapoverload.com.

    CABARET/CONCERT
    The popular concert series A Little New Music moves to Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood for its next concert performance on June 27. “We are excited to join the ranks of many Broadway and jazz greats who have created some exceptional musical moments at this Los Angeles institution.,” says ALNM co-founder, Christopher Maikish. “And in that spirit, we invite our audience to experience our innovative series anew at the Catalina, whose motto is, ‘only the best music has to offer.’” Tickets: 323-466-2210 or www.TicketWeb.com. For more info, visit www.alittlenewmusic.org.


    An Evening of Classic Broadway returns June 13 to Rockwell Table and Stage with the music of Harold Arlen, Jule Styne, Rodgers & Hart, Lopez, Parker & Stone, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Menken & Ashman. Join Brad Ellis and Dianne Fraser along with Eydie Alyson, Jennifer Bennett, Will Collyer, Jean Louisa Kelly, Kelly Lester, Scotch Ellis Loring, Kevin McMahon, Jeffrey Scott Parsons, and Jennifer Shelton. Ticket link


    The Foundation for New American Musicalspresents its next Musi-Cal showcasing outstanding composers, writers, and performers on Monday, June 6, hosted by Richard Israel. The performance will take place at Rockwell Table & Stage and will feature material from:

    Marilyn!
    Music & additional Lyrics by Gregory Nabours
    Book & Lyrics by Tegan Summer
    Performed by: Kelley Dorney and Constance Jewell Lopez 

    Snow White and the Magnificent Seven
    Book, Music & Lyrics by Ronnie Sperling & Chris Halsted
    Performed by: Nick St. Maria, Romy Sperling, John Dantona, Stephen Stewart, Judi Stewart, Annie Reznik, and Milli Miereanu.

    The Escape Artist (From the short musical anthology A Feast of Snacks
    Book, Music & Lyrics by Michael Gordon Shapiro
    Performed by: Graydon Schlichter, Lindsay Anne Braverman, Lauren Holiday, Margaret Glaccum, and Carey Matthews.

    Leap
    Book, Music & Lyrics by Zach Spound
    Performed by: Zach Spound, Aly French, Julia Black, and Alexander Pimentel
    Welcoming back with new songs from

    Alien vs. Musical
    Book, Music & Lyrics by Erik Przytulski
    Book by Steve Troop
    For more info, go to www.lafestival.org.

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    Elsa and Anna. Photo by Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort

    Frozen fans will be ecstatic with the way Disney has re-imagined its much-loved blockbuster film for the stage, now that the doors to Frozen – Live at the Hyperion are open on the Hollywood backlot of Disney California Adventure. And with its stunning state-of-the-art visual technology and heart-opening theatricality, it’s safe to say that even Uncle Walt would be proud of his studio’s latest creation.   

    This idea of openings is woven throughout the show (both in design and story) by director Liesl Tommy, choreographer Christopher Windom, and the creative team who have carefully crafted every detail of Elsa and Anna’s journey.

    Enormous panoramic scenic views are created on more than 20 different video surfaces, including a custom curved 2,200 square-foot LED wall on stage and an aurora borealis-inspired curtain so massive it almost completely surrounds the audience. Moving animations breathe life into the space while taking the audience out over the snow-capped mountains and into the mythical kingdom of Arendelle in astonishing detail. Seating capacity in the Hyperion is nearly 2000 so you can imagine the hours that have gone into creating the show’s large effects.

    The cast of Frozen. Photo by Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort

    The one hour and forty-two minute film has been adapted to run under an hour and does so succinctly and quite seamlessly. All of the beloved characters and iconic images have been beautifully realized in their live form, from Anna and her quirky way of putting her foot in her mouth, to Elsa and her shimmering blue gown and icy palace, to Olaf’s dreamy vision of summer, to the playfulness of the rock trolls. The cast is terrific and endlessly enchanting. Suffice it to say there are no unmet expectations in this engaging experience.

    Elsa delivers her iconic “Let It Go” number in a breathtaking sequence atop a magnificent ice staircase that revolves out over the audience and Anna and Kristoff’s escape from the wolves ends with an aerial drop that is both thrilling and humorous. Even the villain reveal is executed with an element of surprise that is sure to bring gasps from subsequent audiences just like it did on opening night. 

    But for all its spectacle and drama, the show never loses sight of the fact that, at its core, it is a story about two sisters and the love they share. It is their longing to connect that tugs at our heartstrings and touches a universal cord in us all.

    Jason Michael Webb has adapted and arranged the movie’s best songs for a cast of 24 from a total of 107 actors who will perform on a rotating schedule. Those songs, so familiar in the animated version, now come to life with even more personality under musical director John Glaudini’s supervision. “Let It Go” may be the most famous of them all but “Love is an Open Door” is the one you’ll walk out singing. Anna’s “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and Olaf’s “In Summer” are full of fun, and the choral chanting in “Vuelie” is simply gorgeous.

    The adorable puppets – including Sven, the reindeer, and snowman Olaf – by Michael Curry (who worked with Julie Taymor on The Lion King) are beyond charming, and the show contains more than 1000 brilliantly colored fanciful costumes by Clint Ramos. Even the detail work on the show’s massive doors is authentic, painted in a Norwegian style of folk art called rosemaling. Welcome to the richly complete world of Arendelle.

    With Frozen – Live at the Hyperion, Disney has created a timeless theatrical experience that artfully captures the story’s emotional heart. Full of whimsy, sweet “aww” moments, dancing, drama, and incredible effects and animations, I can’t recommend it highly enough. And since Frozen doesn’t arrive on Broadway until 2018, those looking to ‘let it go’ will do best to head west.

    FROZEN – LIVE AT THE HYPERION
    Showtimes vary daily
    Disney California Adventure
    1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92802

    Hans and Anna meet at Anna's Coronation. Photo by Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort

    Olaf dreams of Summer. Photo by Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort

    Anna and Elsa. Photo by Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort

    Kristoff brings Anna to the Trolls. Photo by Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort

    Young Kristoff and Sven. Photo by Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort

    Elsa lets it go. Photo by Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort

    Elsa, Queen Idun and King Agdar. Photo by Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort
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    MUSICAL THEATRE CONFERENCE
    NMI’s sixth Biz of the Musical Theatre Biz Conference is coming July 22 – 24 to a brand new facility in Burbank, the Convention Center at ANC Productions. The conference offers sessions for musical theatre bookwriters, lyricists, and composers on a variety of important subjects. It’s a full weekend of events for you to learn what you need to know from producers, directors, writers, entertainment attorneys, money-raisers, dramaturgs and other insider theatre professionals ready to rub shoulders with you and answer your questions. Early Registration, for a discount of $100 off the full conference, ends June 1st. For a complete schedule and more information, go to NMI.org/develop/conference.

    FRINGE NEWS

    The world premiere of Bumpersticker: The Musical will take place June 4 – 23 at the Asylum @ The Dragonfly in Hollywood. Set during a massive urban traffic jam, each song is inspired by one of those blunt, punchy slogans you’ve seen on the backs of cars everywhere. A radio DJ/Announcer guides the audience through the show, which features characters from different ends of the political spectrum and varying social strata with wildly different opinions, hopes, and fears. As the frustrations of morning gridlock mount, audiences get to know the people and stories behind these stickers. You may enthusiastically agree or violently disagree with them but, in the end, everybody has a point of view they think is completely rational…and always correct.

    Bumpersticker: The Musical is the brainchild of Gary Stockdale and Spencer Green, who created Bukowsical, the acclaimed musical about besotted literary hero Charles Bukowski which won Outstanding Musical at the New York International Fringe Festival. Michele Spears directs a cast that includes Nadia Ahern, Jahmaul Bakare, Lamont Dozier Jr., Zach Ford, Eliot Hochberg, Lauren Rubin, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Anne Yatco, and Holly Rockwell (understudy). Musical Director is David O. http://hff16.org/3687

    Little Candle Productions brings its world premiere of the new musical Taming of the Show by Blake Waker to this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. The 55-minute farce takes the audience through the outlandish and hysterical rehearsal process of a dysfunctional production of Shrew set in caveman times. It will run June 5 – 25 in the Sacred Fools Theatre Black Box.

    A line has been drawn in the sand betwixt actors and crewmembers. Never the twain shall meet. And yet… Eddie Littlejeans, the assistant stage manager of a dysfunctional production of Taming of the Shrew dares to harbor a flame for the leading lady. Can love find a way backstage? In what might be considered Noises Off! meets Misery (with singing and dancing!) the show within a show goes terribly wrong, while Taming of the Show gets it just right. The cast includes Jeff DeCrosta, Chineze Enekwechi, Marc Forget, Greg Steinbrecher, Steve Peterson, Paula Deming, and Anthony Papastrat. Musical direction is by Billy Gill and the show is produced by Karissa McKinney and Lynn Downey Braswell. http://hff16.org/3418

    From the creator of 2015’s sold-out run of Sin: A Pop Opera and 2009’s hit musical, Ecstasy, comes a new musical for this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. Ruby is the story of a self-described nerd named Ruby (Christina Rose) who is frustrated with her love life until she meets her sexy, sassy fairy godmother Glendale (Saudia Yasmein) and takes a trip back in time to the free-wheeling Brady Bunch-era where she meets three versions of her boyfriend Tommy (Christopher Robert Smith). Will she find true love, or just a lot of sex in this raucous romp that tips an affectionate stiletto heel to early ‘70s variety specials and TV shows and the obscure “naughty fairy tales for adults” ‘70s film genre.   

    The show is filled with singing, dancing, fun characters, crazy costumes, ridiculously infectious musical numbers, animation, risqué dance routines, puppets, and homages to musicals from the ‘70s like The Wiz, Pippin and Rocky Horror. It also features sensual choreography by Kirby Harrell and includes Evalee Gertz and Christine Jung in the dance ensemble. A “dream project” of producer, composer & animator S. Claus, the 70-minute show makes its world premiere at The Three Clubs June 2 – 27. http://hff16.org/3455

    Theresa Stroll debuts her new solo show, My Big Fat Blonde Musical, June 4 – 25 in the Sacred Fools Theater Black Box. Stroll moved to L.A. to pursue her acting dreams but, as an overweight actress, found it difficult to avoid negativity, both from herself and others. In this irreverent and deeply personal world premiere, she tackles the issue of being a BIG girl trying to make it in Hollywood by having fun with the somewhat sensitive topic.

    “The story is about believing in yourself, even when you are your biggest critic,” Stroll says. “It’s about creating your own opportunities and it’s about the realities of growing up, paying bills and still trying to follow your dreams.” The show is co-written by Stroll and Bobby McGlynn, directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, and also features original music by Stroll and McGlynn. “It’s wonderfully absurd,” Stroll adds, but she wants audiences to walk out of her show with something more. “Big girls can do anything and they shouldn’t be limited based on their size. Don’t let people’s expectations of you set your limits. If there’s something you want, go and get it. Create your own opportunities if they’re not being created for you, regardless of your size.” http://hff16.org/3674


    Chromolume Theatre makes its return to the Fringe with Edges, a song cycle about four burgeoning adults asking classic coming-of-age questions. Written by Tony nominated Benj Pasek and Justin Paul in their sophomore year at the University of Michigan, this charming, witty and honest examination of adulthood explores what happens when we are teetering on the edges of our lives. Starring Melody Ricketts, Courtney King, Caroline Pugliese, Shayna Gabrielle, Andy Ramirez, Everjohn Feliciano, Justin W. Yu, directed by Lauren J. Peters with musical direction by Daniel Yokomizo. June 4 – 25 at the Dorie Theatre. http://hff16.org/3648

    LA’s award-winning “Best Badass Burlesque” show returns with a night of politically incorrect burlesque, The Wrong Show: Trigger Happy, starring Lemi Atom, James Bondage, Moonbow Brite, Dahlia Dimont, Capt. Jack Heartless, Lord Londonbridge, Miss Onyx Nova, Penny Starr, Jr., Panama Red, Leia La Voix, Terry Velour, and Seraphina Wilder. The show runs late nights June 3 – 25 at the Ruby Theater at the Complex.

    Now in its 10th year, under the creative direction of award-winning burlesque dancer Penny Starr, Jr., VVH is known for its mix of high glamour and sick sense of humor featuring all manners of genders, races, and sizes. The show has a rotating cast of accomplished stripteasers, comedians, and musicians with featured guest stars like Prince Poppycock, Margaret Cho, Kate Flannery (The Office), Greg Behrendt (He’s Just Not That Into You), and  Vernon Wells (The Road Warrior). http://hff16.org/3438

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    MUSICAL NEWS
    The
    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: www.HollywoodPantages.com


    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 Secondcity.com/hollywood.

    LACO @ The Movies 2015

    Los Angeles Chamber Orchestramixes 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. www.laco.org

    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. www.ChanceTheater.com

    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. www.rockwell-la.com

    The Grove Theatre in Upland opensLegally Blonde: The Musicalon 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. www.grovetheatre.com

    FRINGE NEWS
    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. http://hff16.org/3460

    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) http://hff16.org/3833

    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. http://hff16.org/3409

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    Alison Woods as Ariel (Front) and Melvin Abston as Sebastian (Back) with
    the company of The Little Mermaid. All photos courtesy of Bruce Bennett,
    Theatre Under the Stars

    Take the whole family and go "under the sea" with La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts' produciton of Disney's The Little Mermaid, June 3 - 26. The show features music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, book by Doug Wright, musical direction by Colin R. Freeman, choreography by John MacInnis, and is directed by Glenn Casale. Tickets: www.lamiradatheatre.com

    Adam Garst as Flounder and Alison Woods (Ariel)

    Alison Woods (Ariel), Eric Kunze stars (Prince Eric), Jamie Torcellini (Scuttle)
    and Melvin Abston (Sebastian)


    Alison Woods as Ariel

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    MUSICAL NEWS

    The Falcon Theatre has announced its 2016-2017 season which includes another special Christmas treat from the Ovation Award-winning Troubies. Little Drummer Bowie (Nov. 30 – Jan 15, 2017) directed by Matt Walker & Joseph Leo Bwarie will be a mashup journey of Ziggy Stardust and The Little Drummer Boy featuring the songs of the legendary David Bowie. The tribute parody, last seen in LA in 2005, promises to be a touching and hilarious way to usher in the holidays. Also on the season: Parallel Lives (Aug 17 – Sept 18) written by Mo Gaffney & Kathy Najimy, directed by Jenny Sullivan; Buyer & Cellar (Oct 5 – Nov 6) by Jonathan Tolins, directed by Dimitri Toscas; For Piano and Harpo (Feb 1 – Mar 5, 2017) written by and starring Dan Castellaneta; and The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) by Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor, directed by Jerry Kernion. www.falcontheatre.com

    Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura presents Beverly & Kirby Ward in Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance, a toe-tapping, high-flying program of song and dance as part of its Janet and Mark L. Goldenson Broadway Musical Concert Series. The duo will perform tunes from the Great American Songbook, plus a few obscure numbers, each reimagined with a twist. Three performances: June 18 at 2pm & 8pm, and June 19 at 2pm. www.rubicontheatre.org

    Casting for the Hollywood Bowl’s upcoming production of A Chorus Line has been announced and will feature Sabrina Bryan as Valerie Clark, Robert Fairchild as Mike Costa, Spencer Liff as Larry, Ross Lynch as Mark Anthony, Mara Davi as Maggie Winslow, Denis Lambert as Gregory Gardner, J. Elaine Marcos as Connie Wong, Jason Tam as Paul San Marco, and Leigh Zimmerman as Sheila Bryant. Additional casting will be announced at a later date. The show is directed and choreographed by Baayork Lee, who appeared as Connie Wong in the original Broadway production and choreographed the Broadway revival in 2006. Lee will adapt and re-stage Michael Bennett’s original choreography. Conductor is Patrick Vaccariello. July 29, 30 & July 31. www.HollywoodBowl.com

    It’s a Disaster: Live, an immersive theatrical show will run June 14 – 24 in Chloe’s at Golden Road Brewery in Glendale. In this world premiere adaption of Todd Berger’s film It’s a Disaster, a group of thirtysomething friends gather yet again for Open Mic Night at Pete and Emma’s bar. What starts as a typical evening turns into something very different when they learn that bombs have exploded downtown, and a cloud of VX gas is making its way across the city. Now they’re trapped inside the bar, trying to make sense of it all. Could it really be last call for good? All tickets include pre-show appetizers and an open bar throughout the entire immersive performance. www.itsadisasterlive.com

    Sam Harris brings his critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production Ham: A Musical Memoir to the Pasadena Playhouse for three performances July 9 at 2pm & 8pm and July 10 at 2pm.   Directed by Ken Sawyer and Billy Porter, the musical comedy follows Harris from his conflicted childhood in Bible-Belt Oklahoma to the dizzying roller coaster ride of a life in show business and the precarious balancing act of fatherhood. The production features musical direction by Todd Schroeder and is based on Harris’ book Ham: Slices of a Life. It originally opened Off-Broadway at Ars Nova in January 2015 and later played at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre in January 2016. www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

    Sierra Madre Playhouse opens Rachel Sheinkin and William Finn’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee July 8. The show is directed by Robert Marra, with musical direction by Joe Lawrence. Cast features Joey Acuna Jr., Gina D’Acciaro, Jaq Galliano, Cristina Gerla, Hannah Leventhal, Stanton Morales, Robert Parkison, Joy Regullano and Richard Van Slyke. John Sparks is the producer and Estelle Campbell and Christian Lebano are executive producers. Through August 21. www.sierramadreplayhouse.org

    HOLLYWOOD FRINGE NEWS
    The new musical Psychosexual: A Love Story opens June 10 in the MET Theatre’s downstairs performing space. With book & lyrics by Samuel Warren Joseph and music by Jon Detherage, the show satirizes contemporary attitudes toward sex and celebrity. Brad and Sarah are sex and relationship experts on the way up. Best-selling authors, they’re about to be added as regulars to the highest-rated daytime TV talk show but own their relationship is secretly in trouble. Brad has developed a crush on an exotic dancer at a strip club, and that’s just the beginning. The company includes Kira Alvarez, Ellana Barksdale, Kelly Brighton, Alessia Bonacci, Travis Dixon, Shelby Graham, Jules Hartley, Damian Fabio Sandolo and Kim Yarbrough (some roles are double cast), directed by L. Flint Esquerra. Choreography is by Alessia Bonacci. Through June 26. Tickets: http://hff16.org/3997

    JonBenét Ramsey: The Musical takes you back to the mid-90’s and reopens the case that rocked America, June 18 – 26 at Asylum @ McCadden Theatre. On Christmas Day1996, JonBenét Ramsey, the six-year-old pageant queen, was brutally murdered, leaving the nation in shock. The show says it will “explain what we think really happened and tell a tale of how a staged kidnapping followed by a botched investigation led to the unsolved murder mystery that is still very relevant today.” Written and directed by Hannah Rowston and Austen Fletcher, featuring music by Reff Rivera. http://hff16.org/3765

    CONCERT/CABARET
    The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center has announced a one night only appearance of The Kinsey Sicks with their hit show Electile Dysfunction at the Renberg Theatre on Sunday, July 17 at 7pm. In the show, Rachel (Ben Schatz), Trampolina (Spencer Brown), Trixie (Jeff Manabat), and Winnie (Nathan Marken) campaign to become the first drag quartet to be elected President of the United States -  on the Republican ticket! The gals take (a)back America by out-pandering, out-conspiracy theorizing, and out-outlandishing even the most cynical of the current crop of Presidential candidates through sharp-witted original songs and biting parodies in glorious four-part harmonywww.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre

    Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum will put on an Old-fashioned Family Barn Dance and Barbeque on the 4th of July from 11am - 5pm. Activities include live music, a barn dance, pie-eating contest, watermelon seed-spitting contest, cake walk, horseshoes, relay races, dunk bucket, family games and more. Barbeque and fixin’s, beer and wine available for purchase. 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga CA 90290. (midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura Freeway).www.theatricum.com

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    Tap Overloads Office Beat is a fun one hour tap musical with its story told entirely through tap dancing (no dialogue). How much can you tell without words? A lot, when it comes to this tale. There’s a new guy, an office romance, a bullfight with the photocopier, a firing, and the new boss who banishes tapping in the office just might have a change of heart by the end of the show. Plus, the choreography is terrific and highlights a wide range of fun patterns and rhythms while clearly defining the various office personalities. Written, directed, and choreographed by Mindy & Gabe Copeland with original music by Andrew Van Vlear. Additional choreography by Dianne Walker and Hiroshi Hamanishi.

    You’ll smile all the way through this delightful show!






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    I didn’t see the Alien vs. Musical at the 2015 Fringe Festival, where it received rave reviews, and was looking forward to seeing it this year in what everyone says is an expanded story. The premise is fantastic: one by one an alien kills off the characters in musical theatre land, including Elphaba, Jean Valjean, Harold Hill, Tracy Turnblad, Danny Zuko and more. While there is some cute choreography and I loved the idea of the show, it isn’t well-executed and much of the singing is a stretch for the singers. The songs by Erik Przytulski are bright and bouncy with fun lyrics. Book by Erik Przytulski & Steve Troop is noticeably thin due to the weak performances but the alien is terrific.The standout is Allie Costa as Annie. See it for the fun of it but without high performance expectations and you’ll have a great time. Its perfect Fringe material. Through June 26. Tickets: http://hff15.org/2202.

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