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Your Musical Theatre Resource for Southern California!

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    OPENINGS: Rising Star Productions is proud to present their summer musical Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, August 2 – 4 at the Grove Theatre Center in Burbank. The address is 1111-B Olive Avenue and the theater is located behind the recreation center, between the baseball field and playground. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door for adults; $7 in advance, $8 at the door for kids. For more info go tohttp://rscinderella.bpt.me.  

    The Latino Theater Company has announced that thanks to the support of Goya Foods and a partnership with the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, it is bringing back the iconic pageant play La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin. The holiday play will be performed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown L.A. on December 4 and 5 at 7:30 pm. It features music, dance, and a universal message of faith, love and perseverance that appeals to many people regardless of race, language or religion. Adapted from “Nican Mopohua” by Evelina Fernandez
and directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, the pageant is performed in Spanish with English supertitles and is produced by The Latino Theater Company in association with the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The cast of 100+ actors, dancers, and musicians includes Suzanna Guzman, an East L.A. native and internationally renowned mezzo-soprano, as La Virgen, and Sal Lopez, a celebrated film and stage actor and founding member of The Latino Theater Company, who plays Juan Diego. www.thelatc.org

    TALKS: Next in LA Stage Alliance’s series of Talks is Dancing Legacies: Creating Lasting Cultural Impact Through Choreography, Training and Education, Tuesday, August 6, 7-9pm. Choreographers and Dancemakers operate in a multitude of environments -- from concert dance performances to musical theatre to music videos. They also work in a wide variety of styles. In this TALK, the panelists and attendees will discuss overlap and contrasts of the choreographic work happening throughout the field and explore avenues for new collaborations. Speakers include Dwight Rhoden, Co-Artistic Director/Co-Founder, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Gema Sandoval, Artistic Director, Danza Floricanto, Linda Yudin, Artistic/Executive Director, Viver Brasil, and Lula Washington, Artistic Director/Founder, Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Moderated by Shayna Keller, Executive Director, Dance Resource Center. [Inside] the Ford, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd East, Los Angeles, CA 90068. RSVP Here for this FREE event.

    Clifford Bell’s Cabarabiashow debuts on Global Voice Broadcasting, Monday August 5th at 2pm featuring special guest Brad Ellis. http://gvbradio.com/cabarabia

    CABARET/CONCERTS: MUSE/IQUE unchains the soul sounds of Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and even Bach, Beethoven and Vivaldi at Lose Your Senses With Ellis Hall, featuring the Tower of Power lead singer and keyboardist, outdoors at Beckman Mall in Pasadena on Saturday, August 27. Tickets: 626-539-7085 or www.muse-ique.org

    88’s at Don’t Tell Mama LA’s Wednesday July 31st lineup includes Brielle Batino, Aaron Beaumont, Karen Benjamin Chapman, Alan Chapman, Emma Fitzpatrick, Kari Kimmel, Adam Michaelson, Nathan Parrett, Belinda Skinner, Jean Sudbury, Gene Reed, Amanda Wallace, and The Mots Nouveaux, with musical director Greg Nabours on the 88. Open Mic after the show 10pm – 2am. Click Here for reservations or call (323) 380-7209.

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    OPENINGS: Broadway In The Parkand Gensler present The Wizard Of Oz August 8, 9, 10 &11 at El Segundo Recreation Park Softball Field. Over 2,000 Southern California residents attend the festival, now it its fourth year. Guests bring their own blankets, chairs, and picnic dinners to a ball field that has been transformed into a turn-of-the-century town square with costumed characters and themed dining. Returning this year is Broadway In The Park’s popular outreach program Charity Partners, where local non-profits will be featured at the festival and 10% of the gate sales will be donated to their cause. Over 300 tickets are also being donated to underprivileged children and families who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford a night out at the theatre. (Underwriting provided by Gensler and ArcLight Cinemas). El Segundo Recreation Park Softball field, at the corner of Eucalyptus Dr. and Grand Ave. in El Segundo. Gates open 6:00pm, Community Pre-Show at 7:00pm, and The Wizard Of Oz starts at 7:30pm. www.esbroadway.com.

    30MM’s Hook comes to The Third Street Theatre August 10 – 25. This latest original work from 30 Minute Musicals features all original music, thrilling adventure, and some surprising elements you’ve never seen from 30MM before. Featured in the cast are Tom Lenkas Peter Pan, Daisy Eagan, Derek Carter, Taylor Coffman, Natalie Cook, Tom Detrinus, Julianne Dowler, Tamara Fernandez, Ryan Garcia, Evan Gaustead, Darren Giglio, Hannah Johnson, Randy Wade Kelley, Elaine Loh, Gianna Masi, Todd Masterson, Dylan Rourke, Samantha Scanlan, Brooke Seguin, and Huntley Woods. Tickets: $15, Pre-sale Tickets: $12. Hook is adapted/directed by Brooke Seguin, produced by Tom Detrinis, with music by Brooke Seguin and Dan Wessels. Click here for info.

    Opening Night: The Improvised Musical!®, will play Friday nights at 9:00 pm at IO in Hollywood. The original musical theater improv show is a Broadway-style musical made up on the spot, based on audience suggestion, now in its fourteenth year. Led by director Shulie Cowen, the cast combines the Chicago-style improvisation of the iO and The Second City with the Broadway stylings of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Gilbert & Sullivan, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bob Fosse, and many more. For info, click here.

    La Jolla Playhouse has announced casting for its re-imagining of Henry Krieger (music) and Bill Russell’s (book & lyrics) Side Show, produced in association with the Kennedy Center. Directed by Bill Condon and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast, it will run in the Mandell Weiss Theatre Nov. 5 – Dec. 15. Tickets go on sale September 8. Erin Davie(Grey Gardens) and Emily Padgett(Rock of Ages) will play conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, respectively. The cast will also include Manoel Felcianoas Terry Connor, Matthew Hydzikas Buddy, David St. Louisas Jake, andKeala Settle as Fortune Teller, Brandon Bieber (Freak), Javier Ignacio (Houdini), Robert Joy (Sir), Kelvin Moon Loh (Freak), Zonya Love (Hottentot), Barrett Martin (Ray/Freak), Don Richard (Martin Arnold/Freak), Blair Ross (Bearded Lady/Auntie), Matthew Patrick Davis (Freak), Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper (Freak/Dr. Weldon), and Lauren Elder & Hannah Shankman as ensemble members. www.LaJollaPlayhouse.org 

    Patrick Burnsbrings his one-man autobiographical musicalFrom Foster Care To Fabulousto the New Helvetica Theatre Aug. 30-31. The show chronicles his teenage years in and out of foster care. “Sometimes the truth is horrifying; sometimes it's hilarious. But it’s never cliché. It’s never preachy. It’s just the truth,” says Burns. His self-written, self-performed musical details this experience featuring a myriad of songs (both well-known and original), a plethora of jaw-dropping and side-splitting anecdotes, and a bizarre cast of horrific, hilarious, and ultimately heartbreaking characters. Graham Sobelman will provide accompaniment. New Helvetia Theatre, 1028 R Street, Sacramento, California 95811. Click here for tickets.

    Norris Center for the Performing Arts presents Xanadu, a Norris student production, August 9 – 18, directed and choreographed by DJ Gray, the associate choreographer for the original Broadway production. http://www.norriscenter.com/

    Elite Theatre Company’s youth acting camp presents Disney’s Aladdin Jr. Aug. 8 – 11. Call 805-483-5118 to reserve tickets. www.elitetheatre.org/youth-acting-camp.html

    EXTENSIONS: Chance Theater has announced that its sold-out run ofBloody Bloody Andrew Jacksonwill be adding six performances, with a new closing date of August 11. www.chancetheater.com 

    CONCERTS/CABARET: The California Philharmonic’s Festival on the Green concert series continues with two upcoming musical theatre performances. On August 10 it’s Rodgers, Hammerstein & Gershwin featuring Broadway’s Kim Huber& James Barbour, and pianist Bryan Pezzone. The program includes selections from Oklahoma!, Sound of Music, South Pacific, Carousel and “Rhapsody in Blue” from An American in Paris. On August 24, 2013 the program features Les Miz& Bernstein, with singers Randal Keith& Melissa Lyons, stars of Les Miz on Broadway and the National Tour, plus the Cal Phil Chorale. Selections include songs from Les Misérables, Candide, On the Town, and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Both concerts begin at 7:30 pm. Gates open at 5:30 pm for dining & live jazz. Click here for tickets. 

    A concert reading of the new musical New York Society for the Suppression of Vice will take place on August 7th at 8:00 pm at The Academy for New Musical Theater, 5628 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91601. When circumstances ‘out’ All-American athlete, Jack Cusack, he is forced to confront narrow minds, fear, and evil. Rallying the forces against him is the spirit of Anthony Comstock, a turn-of-the-previous-century social reformer whose vice grip on American society lasted decades. Written by Joel Bailey(book), Patricia Zehentmayr(lyrics), andJake Anthony (music), it is inspired by real life events that happened at Burbank High School and numerous other schools around the country. Click here for info.

    Hillary Rollinspresents Christine Lavin& Julie Gold at the M-Bar in Hollywood. Two shows only, Saturday, August 17th at 7pm and 10pm. Reservations: Call the M-Bar at 323-856-0036. Click here for info.

    Lauris Listpresents the final concert of its inaugural 2013 season of unSUNg: Songs Uncommon and New, August 11th at 6pm. Information and tickets: www.laurislist.com/unsung

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    Donna Noelle Ibale and JJ Dubon. Photos by Denise Devin

    No matter what kind of a production ZJU Theatre Group is working on you can bet they’ll throw themselves into it with everything they’ve got. Their latest, a dance performance piece called Dancing on the Edge, is no exception. Staying true to their overall aesthetic of raw, creative, smartly crafted original works, it blends multiple styles of movement and dance to create an emotionally rich experience completely free of words.

    Denise Devin directs the seven dancers (JJ Dubon, Donna Noelle Ibale, Randall Morris, Zee Smith, Jade Waters-Burch, Cody Whitley, and Nicole Wormley) in solo works and ensemble pieces that have been choreographed by Carrie Nedrow and cast members Ibale, Waters-Burch, Whitley and Morris.

    The result is a dynamic range of emotions that finds its characters teetering on the edge – of joy, of despair, of beauty and even pain. Dubon begins the show with “Hurt,” a throbbing, broken-hearted solo that immediately grabs the audience with its dark intensity. In “Ma Coeur Mort,” featuring Smith, Morris and Ibale, the counterpoint of two dancers vs. one reveals the precarious balance of a relationship through movement.

    Cody Whitley in "Animal"
    (And no, that's not the floor. He's upside down on a step ladder against the wall!)

    Randall Morris and Zee Smith

    Ibale and Morris are later featured in a strip tease called “Home Safe” with floating hands extending from the curtain in a playful expression of freedom. Morris then crashes Nicole Wormley’s beautiful classical ballet number (nice fouettés) with a burst of unexpected comedy. By the time the show reaches “M,” featuring the same three dancers in a piece that illustrates how difficult it is to disentangle oneself from the baggage of past love, it is ready to explode.

    Whitley’s self-choreographed “Animal” is a jaw-dropping, gravity-defying piece of unforgettable athleticism, and Smith kills with her hip hop moves and fast footwork in more than one number. Waters-Burch is all cute and flirty personality in “Vaudeville Circus: Fantasia” and “Clown Frolic.” She joins Wormley and Ibale in a comedy-turned-Pussycat Doll fantasy entitled “Redemption” late in the show that re-invents the threesome as their sexy alter-egos.

    “Many Toys Celebrate Solstice” is like being caught in the Twilight Zone of the forest with the oddest bunch of characters ever, and there are numerous comedy bits I won’t spoil by divulging the gags here. A dramatic Paso Doble, a gorgeous Swan Lake ballet with a twist, and moves that could rival contestants on So You Think You Can Dance – all of it adds up to a very moving performance. In a final burst of wild energy, the ensemble closes with Zedd’s “Clarity” and sends the audience out on a high.

    I’ll be honest, one of the reasons I wanted to see the show was because the performance space is a tiny black box, with a stage barely six or seven feet deep, though wider than normal with the removal of one of the short rows of seats by the entrance. I wondered if a dance show would work in this small theater. Does it ever. Devin puts her own dance background to good use and creates a natural rise and fall of emotions with her staging that is very powerful. Her dancers are terrific and each one excels at his or her given strengths. It’s a mini-dance spectacular.

    Jade Waters-Burch
    DANCING ON THE EDGE
    A Theatrical Dance Event
    Directed by Denise Devin
    Produced by Zombie Joe
    August 3 - Sept 22, 2013
    ZJU Theatre Group
    4850 Lankershim Blvd.
    N. Hollywood, CA 91601
    Reservations: (818) 202-4120
    Tickets: $15
    www.Zombiejoes.com


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    Tickets are now on sale for the Los Angeles revival of bare, produced by glory|struck productions. Performances begin September 5th at the historic Hayworth Theatre in downtown L.A. This production will preserve the authors' original vision and is not the revised version recently seen off-Broadway. 

    The electrifying rock musical will star Payson Lewis (NBC's The Sing Off, Victorious), Jonah Platt (The Office), Lindsay Pearce (Glee, The Glee Project), Katie Stevens (FOX's American Idol), Nathan Parrett (NBC's The Voice), Caitlin Ary, Kelsey Hainlen, Casey Hayden, Christopher Higgins, Reesa Ishiyama, Harrison Meloeny and Katherine Washington, with original bare cast members Stephanie Andersen and John Griffin returning to the show alongside Alissa-Nicole Koblentz as the adult figures. www.plays411.com/bare

    The cast of the Los Angeles production of bare. Photos by Nicole Priest











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    OPENINGSThe cast of The Wizard of Oz has been announced. The first North American tour of the new stage adaptation will make its L.A. debut at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre Sept. 17 – Oct. 6 and stars Mike Jackson (Tin Man), Lee MacDougall (Lion), Jamie McKnight (Scarecrow), Robin Evan Willis (Glinda), and Jacquelyn Piro Donovan (Wicked Witch of the West). Rounding out the company are Larry Mannell, Charlotte Moore, Jordan Bell, John Edwards, Kelly Grainger, Julianne Hobby, Jason Huska, Zak Kearns, Ayrin Mackie, Anthony MacPherson, Stewart Adam McKensy, Julia McLellan, Briana Palmer, Kristen Pottle, Alana Randall, Adam Sergison, Andrew Taylor, Devon Tullock, Jesse Weafer, Ryan Wilson and Alyson Workman. The new production of The Wizard of Oz contains all the beloved Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg songs from the Oscar®-winning movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. For more info: www.WizardOfOzTheMusical.com and tickets: www.HollywoodPantages.com

    Adventure and redemption are at the heart of The Burnt Part Boys, a new musical by Mariana Elder (book), Chris Miller (music) and Nathan Tysen (lyrics), opening Sept. 14 at Third Street Theatre. Richard Israel directs an unforgettable coming-of-age story that follows a group of teenagers in West Virginia’s coal country on their life-altering journey to “the burnt part” – the section of the coal mine that took their fathers’ lives. Featuring musical direction by Gregory Naboursand a cast that includes Rich Brunner, Adam Dingeman, Joe Donohoe,Richard Hellstern, Philip Dean Lightstone, Matt Musgrove, Lauren Patten, Aaron Scheff, andDaniel David Stewart. Tickets: www.thirdstreettheatre.org or 323-655-9232.

    Storybook Theatre presents its new musical version of Goldilocks And The Three Bears Saturdays at 1:00 pm Oct. 5, 2013 – Feb. 22, 2014. The family show includes plenty of audience participation as the children help Goldilocks in the comical forest adventure and Goldilocks learns that bears can be people too. It features music by Richard Berent, book byScott Martin, and lyrics by Rob Meurer& Scott Martin, and is directed by Barbara Mallory Schwartz and Lloyd J. Schwartz. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles. There is FREE parking across the street. Tickets: www.theatrewest.org or (818) 761-2203

    Laguna Playhouse presents the world premiere production of a new musical play, ROCKSTAR, featuring the music of Franz Liszt and others, written and performed by Hershey Felderand directed by Trevor Hay, Sept. 17 – 29. As a commentary of Liszt’s life, a writer of the New York Times composed an honorary tribute with the headline “Still Wondering If Liszt Was Any Good?” When a museum visitor arrives to the room in which Liszt died with his copy of the newspaper and the article, very strange things begin to occur. Tickets: www.lagunaplayhouse.com or (949) 497-2787

    TALKS: The Society of Composers & Lyricists and ASCAP present An Evening with Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Wednesday, August 14th from 7:00 – 10:00 pm, moderated by ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre, Michael Kerker. The Linwood Dunn Theater (Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study), 1313 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028. Tickets and info: https://sclbergman.eventbrite.com/

    FILM: Erich Bergenhas been confirmed to reprise his critically acclaimed portrayal of Bob Gaudio in the film version of Jersey Boys, directed by Clint Eastwood. Bergen played the role in the First National Tour, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas casts of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical.

    In Good Ol’ Freda, Freda Kelly tells her stories for the first time in 50 years. Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band named The Beatles hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and The Beatles had faith in her. History notes that The Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11. As the Beatles’ devoted secretary and friend, Freda was there as history unfolded. One of few films with the support of the living Beatles and featuring original Beatles music, the film offers an insider perspective on the beloved band that changed the music industry. Good Ol’ Freda opens Sept. 6th at at Sundance Sunset Cinemas in West Hollywood. www.magpictures.com/goodolfreda 

    CABARET/CONCERTS: The Old Globe will present a one-night-only Jeff Buckley Tribute Concerton Monday, Aug. 19 at 7:00 pm that will feature several prominent San Diego artists covering the songs of the legendary musician. The concert coincides with the Globe’s upcoming production of The Last Goodbye, a fusion of Buckley’s music with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Tickets: www.TheOldGlobe.org or (619) 23-GLOBE. Bands scheduled to perform include Jeff Berkley, Stevie Harris, Israel Maldonado and Fernando Apodaca with Todd Hannigan, Veronica May, The Midnight Pine, Eve Selis, Gayle Skidmore, Superunloader and Pete Thurston.

    Kristin Chenoweth returns to the Hollywood Bowl August 23rd & 24th for a very special evening of music with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor, Mary-Mitchell Campbell. Tickets: Call (323) 850-2000.

    The Grove Theatre in Upland presents two fundraiser concerts. On Friday, August 23rd it’s ELVISPALOOZA. Elvis Presley Tribute Artists from the Southern California area will lend their time and talents in a one night only tribute concert dedicated to helping save the historic Grove Theatre. On August 24th, Toni Morrell, who has achieved international recognition as a Singer-Comedienne-Actor-Entertainer and Voice Artist, will headline Singing for the Grove. Artists include Melodye Dewine,David Dial, Deborah Johnson performing with her son, David Johnson, Ginger Kinison, Sherry Kinison and more. Tickets for both shows are available at http://www.grovetheatre.com or (909) 920-4343.

    DANCE:LA So-Cal Dance Invitational, presented by South Coast Dance Arts Alliance, has been announced for Saturday, August 31 at 8pm at the Ford Theatres. Five acclaimed Southern California dance companies will perform: Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre, Andy Vaca’s Jazzworks-Long Beach, LA Contemporary Dance Company,Luminario Ballet, and Regina Klenjoski Dance Company. More than 55 performers are set to participate. Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, in Hollywood, 90068. Showtime is 8pm, and tickets are on sale now. www.fordtheatres.org or call (323) 461-3673. For more info: www.socaldanceinvitational.org. The LA So-Cal Dance Invitational is part of the Ford Theatres 2013 Summer Amphitheatre Season, a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with Los Angeles County-based arts organizations. For a complete season schedule, directions to the amphitheatre and parking information, visit www.FordTheatres.org.

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    TELEVISION: PBS will close the 27th season of its critically-acclaimed American Masters series with a look at the life of one of stage and film’s most prolific composers when Marvin Hamlisch: The Way He Was (working title) premieres on December 27, 2013. For my special coverage of the press conference and stories about the composer by Lucie Arnaz, Terre Blair Hamlisch, and Dori Berinstein,Click Here

    OPENINGS: Attic Community Theater presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore directed by Stacy Holmes, September 6 – 29. The captain’s daughter is in love with an ordinary sailor but her father has a more sophisticated suitor in mind. Will she and her beloved defy convention and set sail for love? Filled with Sullivan's memorable melodies, H.M.S. Pinafore is pure joy and sensational entertainment for everyone, young or old. Attic Community Theater, 2995 W Segerstrom Santa Ana, CA 92704. Parking is free. www.ocact.com

    CLASSES: Dan Callaway’s Voice Studio is hosting two August Audition Workouts: Monday, August 26, 7-10:00 pm: Gage Group senior agent Gerry Koch and Bonnie Urseth. And Wednesday, August 28: Artios award-winning casting director Amy Lieberman. Both will takes place at the Singing Cottage, 4922 Vineland Ave., NoHo 91601. Click Here for all the details and to sign up. 

    INTERNET RADIO: You can hear the first episode of Clifford Bell’s Cabarabia on Global Voice Broadcasting. The debut show, A Visit with Brad Ellis from GLEE, features Brad's moving tribute to his close friend Cory Monteith. (at 18:32) www.gvbradio.com/cabarabia

    CABARET/CONCERTS: Ryan O’Connor presents the new Los Angeles cast of BARE at Musical Mondays LA on August 12 at 10:00 pm, featuring Payson Lewis, Jonah Platt, Lindsay Pearce, Katie Stevens and Nathan Parrett. Eleven Nightclub, 8811 Santa Monica Blvd, W. Hollywood, CA 90060. No cover. Click Here for info.

    On Friday, August 16 at 7:00 pm, GLEHand Chris Isaacson present Upright Cabaret at GLEH; a monthly charitable cabaret series raising awareness of GLEH (Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing) through song. The show will star award-winning jazz singer Raya Yarbrough. Click Here for more info.

    Ryan Black’s 88’s at Don’t Tell Mama: Line-up for Wednesday, August 14 at 8pm. Singers featured at this performance include Cortes Alexander, Melissa Bailey, Cassandra Caye, Lisa Datz, Mike Datz, Erin Duncan, Melissa Fahn, Zach Ford, Julie Garnye, Sharlotte Gibson, Ilene Graff, Nicole Pryor, Missi Pyle, Rebecca Spencer, Greg Tapscott, and Adam Wylie, with musical director Greg Nabours on the 88s. Open mic after the show 10pm – 2am. There is no cover charge and seats may be reserved with a dinner reservation by calling (323) 380-7209. Click Here for more info.

    SAVE THE DATE: October 21st for Mandy Kaplans next MisCast: Wrong Song, Right Singer, an evening of musical theater songs sung by singers who would never get the chance to perform these roles. Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. Click Here for info. 

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    Musical Friends: Thanks for stopping by. I'm taking a few weeks off so the "Gone Fishing" sign is hanging on the backstage door. Regular articles will resume in September but I'll post current news periodically on Facebook and Twitter ... and, okay, an article or two may appear here as well.

    Be good - enjoy what's left of the summer and go see a show!

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    I’m still on hiatus but so much is happening that I decided to post an update of What’s Happening! Now, back to my fishing...

    BE PART OF THE MOVEMENT: Michael Butler is mounting a new production of the original HAIR in L.A. and is crowdfunding to ignite the venture. He’s elated to start this awakening, this movement; the same Movement he and HAIR created in the 1960s and 70s. Check out the compelling video.


    “I produced the original Broadway production as well as the feature film of HAIR because of my concern for the political drift in America. War, Freedom, Civil Rights, Openness, Women’s Rights and the Environment which were just some of issues,” says Butler. “Today there are many more problems. It’s time for HAIR to rise again as a NewNation, to help create a movement to address our common concerns.” The production reunites director Rachel Anderson and Michael Butler as they recreate a lively forum for social activism and change. Their history of work spans 14 years which have been spent in shared passion for using theatre to bring awareness and transformation to the world around them. Anderson is committed to building an authentic tribe, not of “actors” but activists, for HAIR, who will declare a message of compassion, freedom, and empowerment to the community and beyond. “This won’t be simply an evening of entertainment. This will be a movement....a place to gather, to educate, to honor, and to learn.” They are also thrilled to have Ben Vereen as part of their tribe. www.HairNewNation.com

    OPENINGS:
    The Colony Theatre presents the west coast premiere of Breath and Imagination:The Story of Roland Hayes, a true story by Daniel Beaty, directed bySaundra McClain, with musical direction by Rahn Coleman. Previews begin on September 11 and opening night is set for Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8pm. The will run through October 13. Roland Hayesmade history as the first world-renowned African-American classical singer. He was the son of slaves, and grew up in poverty on a Georgia plantation.  As a man, he became the toast of two continents, headlining at Carnegie Hall and singing for kings and queens of Europe, blazing a path for Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, and countless others who came after. In this extraordinary, inspiring play filled with music, audiences will discover how the gift of his father’s pocket watch set him on his remarkable journey to greatness. Elijah Rock plays Hayes;Karan Kendrick will play his mother, Angel Mo’, and Kevin Ashworth is The Accompanist. Tickets: (818) 558-7000 ext. 15 or www.colonytheatre.org.


    The Pokémusicalis back by popular demand following its sold-out run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It re-opens on Sept. 6 for a four-week run at Theatre Asylum–The Elephant Space. The Pokémusical follows the first journey of Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu and the rest of the crew from the original games and animé as they traverse Kanto - this time with a little added song and dance. Viewed through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy with a dream, their everyman journey shows us what it truly means to be the “very best.” Remember: all good things come to those that take life by the Pokéballs. With an original book and lyrics byAlex Syiekand music by Andrew L. Cooper, The Pokémusical is presented by Color and Light Theatre Ensemble in association with DOMA Theatre Company and Combined Artform. Staging is by Joanna Syiek, with musical direction by Jennifer Lin. Performances are Fridays at 8pm and Saturdays at midnight through Sept. 28. Tickets: (323) 802-4990 or www.colorandlighttheatre.org.  

    Kentwood Players presents the comedy rock musicalLittle Shop of Horrors with book by Howard Ashman and music & lyrics by Alan Menken, Sept. 13 – Oct. 19, at the Westchester Playhouse. The production is directed by Michael-Anthony Nozzi, with musical director Joshua Eli Kranz, and produced by Shari Barrett and Sheridan Cole Crawford. It will feature original Audrey II puppets designed by Michael-Anthony Nozzi and costumes designed by Maria Cohen and Arlene Cohen. The cast includes Kristin Towers-Rowlesas Audrey andBrett Chapinas Seymour, with Elizabeth Adabale (Ronnette), Shari Barrett, Randy Brown (Orin), David Contreras, John Devereaux, Ruth Andrea Featherstone, Rusty Gregg, Barbara Haberman, Addy Hall, Emma Hall, Trevor Hart, Stephanie Hotz, Carly Linehan (Audrey Sept. 20-22), Amanda Majkrzak (Crystal), Peter Miller (Mr. Mushnik), Fiona Okida, Michael Sandidge, Ethan Schyman, Hollister Starrett, Cole Edward Wagner, and Brittney S. Wheeler (Chiffon) Tickets: (310) 645-5156 or www.kentwoodplayers.org

    The Old Globe has announced the cast and creative team for The Last Goodbye, a new musical fusing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with the incendiary songs of the legendary singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. Conceived and adapted by Michael Kimmel, the rock musical is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers, with choreography by Sonya Tayeh and orchestrations, music direction and arrangements by Kris Kukul. The Last Goodbye will run Sept. 20 – Nov. 3, with opening night set for Sunday, Oct. 6 at 6:30 pm. Jay Armstrong Johnsonwill play Romeo and Talisa Friedman will appear as Juliet, along with Hale Appleman (Mercutio), Stephen Bogardus (Friar Lawrence), Nancy Snow Carr (Lady Montague), Shannon Cochran (Lady Capulet), Brandon Gill (Benvolio), Bryan Scott Johnson (Montague), Eric Morris (Paris), Daniel Oreskes (Capulet), Tonye Patano (Nurse), Wallace Smith (Prince Escalus) and Jeremy Woodard (Tybalt) with James Brown III, Billy Bustamante, Drew Foster, Adam Perry, Steve Schepis and Nik Walker (Ensemble), Megan Carmitchel (Offstage Singer) and Bradley Gibson (Swing). Tickets: (619) 23-GLOBE or www.theoldglobe.org

    International City Theatre opens its 2014 season with Let’s Misbehave: The Music and Lyrics of Cole Porter, Jan. 24 – Feb. 16 (previews Jan. 22 & 23). In the California premiere of this de-lovely musical conceived by Karin Bowersockand Patrick Young with book by Bowersock, over 30 classic songs by Cole Porter are woven together to tell the story of three single friends in 1930s New York who make a pact to find true love. Their quest is all in good fun until two of the women, Alice and Dorothy, find they have eyes for the same man. It’s clever, funny and irresistibly romantic, featuring songs like “Night and Day,” “Begin the Beguine” and “Anything Goes” from one of America's most beloved and prolific musical theater composers. For information about the complete 2014 season and to subscribe, call (562) 436-4610 or go to http://ictlongbeach.org/

    Santa Monica Playhouse is currently presentingAdults, Keep Out!, a delightful musical, written mostly for adults, filled with intrigue, adventure, romance, political satire, and liberal doses of humor, dedicated to Indiana Jones, The Game of Thrones (without the nudity) and the Little Rascals - told in the Playhouse signature commedia-circus style. Featuring Kate Bergeron, Gina Rizzo Bishop, Patrick Censoplano, Ryland Dodge, Sarai Jimenez, Obi Ndefo, and Jessica D. Stone. The show plays Saturdays at 7pm & Sundays at 3pm through Sept. 29. Tickets: 310-394-9779 x1 www.santamonicaplayhouse.com 

    CONCERTS/CABARETSouth Coast Choralecelebrates the life ofMatthew Shepard, the gay, twenty-one year old college student whose murder helped shed light on the issues of hate and bullying in America, with a musical experience that will move and inspire you.Beyond the Fence honors his memory on the 15th anniversary of his passing. Performances of Beyond the Fence will take place October 11, 12, 18 &19 at 8pm and October 13 & 20 at 2pm at Scottish Rite Theater, 855 Elm Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813. For more info:www.sccsingers.com 

    On Friday, August 30, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will once again bring Los Angeles together for its annual outdoor Soundtracks Sing-Along at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This year, they’ll be crooning to the tunes of Saturday Night Fever, the legendary 1977 movie musical starring John Travolta as disco king Tony Manero. Relive all the trendsetting music of the Bees Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, Kool & the Gang and more, against the backdrop of Tony’s encounters with love, parents, racial tension and of course, those famous dance moves. https://gmcla.secure.force.com/ticket

    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts announced the return of Tribute Fridays 2013, featuring some of the most extraordinary tribute bands performing anywhere in the world. Performances include The Garth Guy (Dean Simmons), Tribute to the Music of Garth Brooks with special guest artist Shades of Shania (Kim Simmons), August 30 at 8pm, and House of Floyd, Tribute to the Music of Pink Floyd, September 6 at 8pm. Tickets: (562) 944-9801or (714) 994-6310 or www.lamiradatheatre.com. 

    MUSE/IQUE, known for counter-conventional presentations that feel more like parties than formal concerts, announces its 2013-14 season, featuring live performances in surprising locations across a limitless range of musical styles. Events include a free family hip-hop dance party launching the season in October, five concerts in the adventurous “Uncorked” series, three outdoor concerts in MUSE/IQUE’s popular “Summer of Sound” series at Caltech’s Beckman Mall, and its first major fundraiser, “Rail-Bound Sound!,” a musical rail-bound adventure from Pasadena to LA’s Union Station. Tickets and info: (626) 539-7085 www.muse-ique.com.

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    Thirteen years after bare, the pop opera, began its journey, bare, the rock musical, returns to Los Angeles. The glory|struck production is set to open at the Hayworth Theatre September 6 (with a preview performance on September 5). Written by Jon Hartmere (book & lyrics) and Damon Intrabartolo (book & music), it is the coming-of-age story of a group of high school seniors at a Catholic boarding school, each struggling with his or her sexuality, religion, and relationships. In this article, producers Topher Rhys and Jamie Lee Barnard, music director Elmo Zapp, and director Calvin Remsberg take a look at the process of putting the revival together and what it means in the face of today’s continuing social issues.

    DIRECTOR’S VISION: Director Calvin Remsberg has loved bare since he first heard bits and pieces of its score in 1999 and saw the original production. “I couldn’t get over the powerful story of love, Peter’s battle for self-acceptance, Jason’s troubled self-image and uncertain decisions, all against the backdrop of a Catholic boarding school. It was way ahead of its time, and if it sounds or seems a bit like Spring Awakening, it is because it came first, predating Spring Awakening by several years. 

    Remsberg says directing bare is especially significant for him. “I wanted to be involved in the original production, but the producers opted to go with the brilliant Kristen Hanggi. So it was with a great deal of surprise and gratitude that I was given a second chance to put my stamp on this material. I wanted to create a world in school that showed the difficulties of the students trying to come to some understanding of their own blooming sexualities while constantly being shamed by the oppressive nature of Catholicism.

    I have used a bit of one of Peter’s lyrics, ‘navigate this maze,’ to inform my staging, using scenery that often creates a maze. These kids go down many pathways, often meeting dead ends, and having to retrace their steps to find a different way. Some of them make it out in the end, but never unscathed. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say it is a very eventful spring at Saint Cecilia’s Academy.”

    He adds that he “couldn’t have asked for a better, more talented cast than I have for this show. AND how lucky was I when the irreplaceable Stephanie Andersen agreed to reprise her original role as Sister Chantelle, or when John Griffin contacted me and suggested himself to play the Priest, having originated the role of Jason. It seems very full circle to me, and I like the serendipity of that!”

    MUSICAL PERSPECTIVE: To achieve his musical vision for bare, music director Elmo Zapp has modernized the show’s sound by updating the orchestrations, essentially making the pop opera into a rock musical. He says, “The melodies and music are so beautiful, and express so many emotions for these characters, but the music was written over thirteen years ago. To help appeal to a modern demographic, I am making our show a little more rock guitar based, removing the synthesizer effects in the original score, adding drums where they weren’t before, and changing the feel of a beat in key places. Intimate moments are softer and bigger parts louder and heavier.

    One thing that really helps is choosing the right instrumentalists to convey that style - a violin instead of a flute, guitar instead of keys. On some songs, we might not be changing anything, but because of the style of the players, it’ll sound heavier and more exciting. I’ve also applied this to the vocals, particularly in the big ensemble numbers. We have exceptional vocal talent, and the original two or three part harmonies just can’t contain them. We give them a little more to work with.  

    Composer Damon Intrabartolo was truly an innovator and he did a brilliant job of keeping the same themes throughout the piece for his main five characters. From beginning to end, you hear the same recurring musical and vocal themes for Ivy, Jason, Peter, Nadia, and Matt. And not only does he keep this consistent throughout the score, but he masterfully places them to pique emotions throughout the piece. 

    When Nadia sings to Jason at the end of ‘Promise’ she sings a variation of her ‘Quiet Night at Home’ theme from the first act. Matt’s solo theme bookends the show in both the opening song, Epiphany," and the closing number, ‘No Voice.’ My favorite one is the ‘Dear Jason…’ melody in ‘No Voice,’ which is repeated several times throughout the score, used as foreshadowing without giving the big ending away. It’s brilliant.”

    Zapp adds that many of the bare cast members are artists outside of theatre. “We have a number of singer/songwriters and pop artists that are usually only used to singing with a band and a mic stand in front of them so I use this to my advantage. For instance, when I first started working with Lindsay Pearce, who plays Ivy, she began singing her songs fairly by the book. The best way I could explain the style I wanted was, ‘act the show like Ivy, sing the songs as Lindsay.’ I encourage all my singers to do the same. This allows them creative freedom and experimentation. It connects them more to the music. Every single person in this show is a superb vocal talent and I think the best result stems from allowing them to explore the melody as themselves, and to not confine them to the page. After all, the motto of the show is Hear My Voice. I want the audience to experience these songs as if the characters were front men and women of their own rock band.” 

    TIMING A REVIVAL: Producers Topher Rhys and Jamie Lee Barnard felt this was the perfect time to bring bare back to an L.A. audience. “There has been major progress in the fight for equality and acceptance since the show was last here thirteen years ago, but we still have a long way to go,” Rhys explains. Bare has a very important message and we hope that will engage our audience and inspire them to make a difference. 

    When we first signed on to produce the commercial revival of bare in Los Angeles,  he says, “we toyed with the idea of incorporating elements from some of the revised versions, while remaining true to the storyline of the original. But we realized that this story didn’t need to change. It is just as charming, heartbreaking and moving as it’s always been and, since it is a quintessentially LA show, we wanted to bring back the version that locals knew and have been waiting for.

    The heart of the show is a group of teenagers on the brink of adulthood looking for themselves - looking for answers - and that struggle spans generations and speaks volumes. Its exciting that we get to bring this story home to fresh eyes, and that gives us the opportunity to evolve the piece to better serve our modern-day audiences. Staying true to the author’s intention allows us to adapt it in a much more organic process rather than updating it or outright changing it.  

    Barnard adds, So many people can relate to the struggles these characters go through – from feeling stifled and hopeless, to feeling alone and voiceless – we all at one point or another have wanted people to hear us and see us for who we really are. These are things we all deal with, both as children and adults, and people of all ages can find a part of themselves in each of the characters. Because these are our friends: Nadia, Peter, Jason, Ivy, Matt. They are us. They are the people we love. They are the people we want to be there for.

    We’ve been given an opportunity to breathe new life into these roles. For example, we definitely wanted Nadia, who is arguably the most interesting character in the piece and the one with the most heart,  to evolve. Yes, she has body image issues, but her anger should come from a more complex place than something as skin-deep as physicality. Today, every girl has insecurities and struggles with beauty and their body images. Some, like Nadia, have been bullied their whole lives for it, and that should have a bigger psychological effect. Otherwise you risk lessening the impact of these issues.

    “Above all, our vision at glory|struck is to create a different brand of theatre," Says Rhys. In LA, some of the best art is found where you least expect it. People are performing in warehouses, and in bars, and we think theatre should be no different because LA is also a music community, built on a generation of rock and roll. We want to bring theatre back to our concert-loving roots: youthful, guitar-driven and loud. And that allows us to give a different spin on the music. ‘One Kiss’ becomes not only a cat-and-mouse between Ivy and Jason, but between two acoustic guitars. Classic songs like ‘Are You There?’ have heavier orchestrations. Numbers like ‘Epiphany’ and ‘Confession’ have amped up vocal lines. 

    When you walk into the Hayworth, from the moment the lights go down and the first lick of music hits the monitors, we want to evoke the feeling you get stepping into an East Village bar seeing your favorite band on stage. There’s something arguably more compelling and intimate in that. Just you, the vocalists, and these songs in front of you. It’s much more universal.

    bare
    September 5 – 22, 2013
    Hayworth Theatre , 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90057 
    Tickets: (323) 960-4442 www.plays411.com/bare 
    http://bare.glorystruck.com

    Starring Payson Lewis (NBCs The Sing Off, Victorious), Jonah Platt (The Office), Lindsay Pearce (Glee, The Glee Project), Katie Stevens (American Idol), Shelley Regner (Pitch Perfect), Nathan Parrett (NBCThe Voice), Caitlin Ary, Kelsey Hainlen, Casey Hayden, Christopher Higgins, Reesa Ishiyama, Harrison Meloeny, Katherine Washington, Alissa-Nicole Koblentz, and original bare cast members Stephanie Andersen and John Griffin.

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    Jay Armstrong Johnson stars as Romeo and Talisa Friedman as Juliet in The Last Goodbye, a new musical fusing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with the songs of rock icon Jeff Buckley, Sept. 22 - Nov. 3, 2013 at The Old Globe. The Last Goodbye is conceived and adapted by Michael Kimmel, with music and lyrics by Jeff Buckley, orchestrations, music direction and arrangements by Kris Kukul, choreography by Sonya Tayeh and direction by Alex Timbers. Photos by Matthew Murphy.






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    OPENINGSWhen Cole Porter met William Shakespeare, the result was a Tony Award-winning musical.  When Southern California’s longest-running “Phantom,” Davis Gaines, meets Cabrillo Music Theatre, it all adds up to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza premiere of Porter’s most raucous, sexy, and best loved musical ever, Kiss Me Kate! Cabrillo’s 20th anniversary season kicks off with the popular favorite on Friday, October 18th, with performances running through October 27. Richard Israel directs, John Toddchoreographs, and Darryl Archibaldwill provide musical direction. Joining Gaines (who will play Petruchio/Fred Graham), is Victoria Strong as Lilli Vanessi/Kate, Scott Reardonas Bill Calhoun/Lucentio, Reba Buhras Lois Lane/Bianca, Steven Perren as General Harrison Howell, and Ronald Rezac as Harry Trevor/Baptista Minola. www.cabrillomusictheatre.com 

    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts kicks off its 2013-14 Programs for Young Audiences series with Boxtales Theatre Company’s Brer Rabbit & Other Trickster Tales From Around the World. This 60-minute exciting, story-filled adventure is recommended for audiences ages 4 and up. Performances are Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm Join Boxtales on a humorous and magical journey with wily creatures who will teach you folk wisdom, morals, and life lessons in this collection of Trickster Tales from around the world. Directed by the company, this show features performers Matt Tavianini, Michael Andrews and Deven Sisler and beautiful masks by Ann Chevrefils and Lindsay Rust. Tickets: (562) 944-9801 or www.LaMiradaTheatre.com.

    The Grove Theatre presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee* September 13 - 29, directed by Gregory Cohen. The competition is intense. The words are hilarious. Let the spelling begin! Six kids face off in the battle of their lives at a fictional spelling bee in Putnam County, New York. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:29 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. The Grove Theatre is located at 276 E. Ninth Street, Upland, CA 91786. Tickets: (909) 920-4343 www.grovetheatre.com. *Parental discretion for some language and content

    Sacred Fools Theater is proud to present the west coast premiere of Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, adapted by Edward EinhornSept. 13 - Oct. 19. In the scorched earth and radioactive dust of a planet that is undergoing the death throes of World War Terminus, the remnants of humanity are faced with the choice of emigration to a bleak existence in the domes of Mars or degeneration and futility in the feudal corporate economy of Earth. What does it mean to be alive in a world where the line between human and android is becoming blurrier every day? Directed byJaime Robledo, with music by Henry Akona, music direction by Ryan Johnson, fight choreography by Andrew Amani, and a cast that includes Kimberly Atkinson, Rafael Goldstein, Eric Curtis Johnson, Corey Klemow, Emily Kosloski, Mandi Moss, Lynn Odell, Bruno Oliver, and Marz Richards. www.sacredfools.org

    In My Corner opens this week at the Odyssey Theatre. Footwork is everything for storyteller, pugilist and hoofer Joe Orrach, who works boxing, tap dance, percussion and music into his tale of a street smart, wise guy Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx who comes of age in the ring and at the barre. Jeremiah Chechik(Benny & Joon, Diabolique) directs Orrach in an exhilarating performance that takes off to the beat of an original Latin, jazz and rock ‘n roll score performed on stage by a live piano trio. Performances of In My Corner take place on Sept. 6 - Nov. 3. (Gala reception following the performance on Saturday, Sept. 7). The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. Tickets: (310) 477-2055 www.OdysseyTheatre.com

    Individual tickets for The Book of Mormon at the Pantages Theatre will go on sale to the general public on Sunday, September 22 at 8:00 am exclusively at the Pantages Theatre Box Office (6233 Hollywood Boulevard), and two hours later at 10:00 am, individual tickets will be made available online at www.Ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 982-2787, and at all Ticketmaster outlet locations. Group tickets are currently available for purchase at www.PantagesGroups.com or by calling (866) 755-3075.

    KICKSTARTER: Operation LemonHeadMeter is upon us! Bitter Lemons is taking the next step in its evolution by adding a method for audience members to review shows just like professional reviewers on their current LemonMeter. Check out their kickstarter campaign HERE and kick in if you can. It’s a good cause and one that will benefit everyone in the Los Angeles theatre community. Squeeze on!

    CABARETOn Friday, September 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm, GLEH and Chris Isaacson present Upright Cabaret at GLEH; a monthly charitable cabaret series raising awareness of GLEH through song. The show will star Laura Dickinson and Jill Burke. Tickets: Free admission for residents, $10 suggested donation to public. For more information call (323) 957-7200 or visit www.uprightcabaret.com.

    Cabaret Awesome returns to Vitello’s Jazz and Supper Club in Studio City beginning September 10th for a brand new season of explosively creative live shows. Joey Bybee and Lee Huff bring a modern spin to old school cabaret with their mixture of original comedy songs and pop parodies. The fast-paced musical variety show will feature weekly guest artists and is not your typical NY, story-driven, song-to-song show. “In many ways, it is closer to a much older French style revue, complete with comedy, sexuality, and drinking; though we use modern music,” says Bybee. Huff adds, “If you took SNL, Johnny Carson, Jimmy Fallon, Carol Burnett, cabaret, improv, Jonathan Coulton and Stephen Lynch and put them all in a blender you’d end up with Cabaret Awesome.” Each week the duo writes and performs a new show, including hilarious and catchy cabaret mashups like Billy Idol’s White Wedding mixed with the 1980’s Duck Tales TV show theme. Tickets are $10 in advance; $15 at the door (plus a two drink minimum). Tickets: (818) 769-0905 or www.ticketweb.com. For more info visit www.cabaretawesome.com.

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    Jonah Platt as Jason and Payson Lewis as Peter in bare. Photos by Leigh Schindler

    Barebecame a cult hit when it premiered in Los Angeles in the fall of 2000. Originally scheduled to run for only six weeks, it ended up playing six months, and became the sweetheart of the musical theatre community, with numerous celebs in attendance and audience members making multiple visits, according to director’s notes. Not bad for a pop opera with a gay love story set in a Catholic boarding school at a time when it was still more common to kiss and not tell than it is today. What a difference 13 years makes.

    Today the movement of love and acceptance is much stronger than ever before and while teens still struggle with issues surrounding their sexual identities, bullying, peer pressure and teen suicide, there are many more adults committed to helping, rather than restricting, them. If only the students at St. Cecilia’s Academy in bare had had better guidance.

    Payson Lewis
    At the heart of the story are two young lovers, Peter (Payson Lewis) and Jason (Jonah Platt), who are forced to hide their truth from prying eyes. Peter is tired of the secrecy and wants to acknowledge their love publicly but Jason is afraid it will destroy his future. As the students prepare for a school production of Romeo and Juliet that often mirrors the events of their own lives, secrecy gives way to misunderstanding, betrayal, and eventually the tragic death of one of the lovers. 

    In this revival, director Calvin Remsberg takes Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo’s original version of the musical and mounts it at the Hayworth Theatre quite beautifully. (Note: this is not the 2012 off-Broadway revised version of the musical.) Critical elements to the show’s success include great casting – which requires terrific voices, and actors who can make incredibly vulnerable acting choices believably – and a musical vision that expresses the heart of its characters without turning it into a reality show of vocal athletics. Thankfully, the creative team has accomplished both.

    Musical director Elmo Zapp adds a richer musical texture to Intrabartolo’s score by supplementing the existing vocals with additional choral harmonies. The “No Voice” finale is a thrilling example that will give you shivers when you hear the voices resonate together. His arrangements for the 7-piece orchestra (piano, 2 guitars, bass, drums, cello and violin) create a direct hit to the heart by expressing the characters’ innermost feelings like a musical bridge. It’s a double whammy when you listen to the lyrics of the songs and realize that it’s all there in the writing – pain, longing, fear, joy and hope – and it all plays out together, both musically and emotionally, in the actors’ performances.

    Jonah Platt
    Payson and Platt literally disappear into their roles, the former as Peter, the emotionally open half of the relationship, the latter as Jason, a golden boy no less in love but challenged by the world’s expectations. Both have terrific pipes, with Payson displaying an effortless ability to float a pianissimo with heartbreaking style as a realization shifts his thought mid-note. 

    Jason’s struggle is meaningful to anyone who has desperately looked for courage in the face of impossible odds and Platt offers up a surprisingly deep well of emotions. Over the course of the show the star-crossed lovers experience a role reversal that adds even more poignancy to their journey, especially when it becomes clear that a happy ending is not in sight. 

    The supporting leads are terrific. As Ivy, Lindsay Pearce plays the popular girl who uses seduction to cover up her issues with insecurity. Jason’s sister Nadia (a dynamic Shelley Regner at this performance) doesn’t hide her contempt for girls like Ivy who get everything they want and carries secrets of her own, while Matt (Nathan Parrett), in love with Ivy but unable to win her affection, betrays a confidence that hurts them all. 

    Two original bare cast members return for this revival: Stephanie Anderson as Sister Chantelle, and John Griffin as the Priest (he was the original Jason), along with Alissa-Nicole Koblentz, who appeared in glory|struck's 2009 Los Angeles reading as Peter’s mother, Claire. Koblentz’s gut-wrenching ballad “Warning” powerfully expresses a mother’s fears, now confirmed, as she searches for an answer to a question that has none. Anderson brings attitude and humor to the streetwise Sister Chantelle and can belt out a song that raises the roof, but Griffin’s tears in the confessional felt overplayed. That level of sympathy doesn’t right true with the church’s still present aversion for gay couples, and without that unforgiving presence, something is lost. Times are a-changing but we still have a long way to go. Plus, a stage full of crying actors releases the audience from its own emotional engagement in the action. 

    Opening night had a few sound issues that mix engineer Sean Kozma was able to resolve by the end of the second song. I sat near the front of the house and could easily understand the lyrics, and the balance between the singers and orchestra worked well. Conversely, from that vantage point the bigger picture of Jen Oundjian’s choreography was lost and appeared mainly as a jumble of mechanical moves that I assume was meant to express the manipulation the students felt within the constraints of their Catholic school limitations.

    Yet these are small points within a production that succeeds greatly in its overall vision. Bare captures the sincerity and innocence of youth while cautioning us as a society to stop holding them hostage with an antiquated set of rules. Until we all agree that love is love, and all that matters is love, theres work to be done.

    bare
    glory|struck productions

    September 5 – 22, 2013
    Hayworth Theatre , 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90057 
    Tickets: (323) 960-4442 www.plays411.com/bare
    http://bare.glorystruck.com

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    Nicole Parker. Photos by Isaac James Creative
    Barbra Streisand was nominated for a Tony Award and won an Oscar for her portrayal of comedienne Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, proving that the right role for the right actress at the right time can create unforgettable musical theatre magic. It’s impossible to separate the star from such iconic songs as “People,” “I’m the Greatest Star” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” but there’s a new star in town and 3-D Theatricals is parading her out in style.

    Funny girl Nicole Parker, a former Elphaba on Broadway and Emmy award winner for her work on the sketch comedy series MADtv is calling the shots in the iconic role and the result is a sparkling new interpretation of Fanny Brice that audiences will find irresistible. Parker’s got the vocal chops, chutzpah, and unique comic timing that both Streisand and Brice were famous for. She’s also got the energy to carry this one-woman extravaganza from beginning to end. Director Michael Matthews made a smart decision in casting her as his leading lady.

    Josh Adamson
    Josh Adamson, though a handsome Nicky Arnstein, doesn’t command the attention nor have the chemistry with Parker that would make him more memorable but still delivers a respectable performance, as does the rest of the cast. Character types abound, from the poker-playing foursome of Mrs. Brice (Jean Kauffman), Mrs. Strakosh (Helen Geller), Mrs. Meeker (Carol Kline) and Mrs. O’Malley (Jill Van Velzer) to Venny Carranza’s portrayal of Broadway hoofer, Eddie Ryan, to Gregory North’s sophisticated Florenz Ziegfeld.

    The orchestra sizzles under musical director Gerald Sternbach’s direction as does the ensemble in Kami Seymour’s Ziegfeld girl staging and large ensemble tap production number. Jules Ferrin’s sound is perfection, largely because it allows every word and every note to be heard and understood. 

    3-D’s technical departments always run at high performance level and the design team for Funny Girl creates an authentic turn of the century/1920s look for the show. Jean-Yves Tessier’s lighting streams daylight shadows down across Stephen Gifford’s brownstones on the Lower East Side when scenes take place at the Brice home on Henry Street and he gently illuminates Fanny and Nick in romantic moonlight on the balcony. A well-placed set of footlights and minimalist spot set off Fanny’s showstopping finale while Gifford’s backstage recreations, rehearsal hall, and Follies stage are full of period detail.

    Cheryl Sheldon’s costumes capture much of the life of the characters, from the neighborhood practicality of working people, to the lavish costumes of the Follies showgirls. Fanny’s awkward elegance is personified in Sheldon’s choice of colors and styles like her bold lime green and hot purple pantsuit, and simple gold dress for the finale that allows the music and emotion be the focus.

    Nicole Parker (Fanny) with Tory Trowbridge, Leslie Miller and Jules Chavarria

    Large cast musicals have become the mainstay of 3-D Theatricals’ family run company and Funny Girl is a welcome opportunity to see a classic Jule Styne/Bob Merrill musical that isn’t often produced. With a star-making performance by its leading lady, a brilliant musical score that overcomes the weaknesses in its book, and rich technical elements that recall the early days of the theatre, it isn't likely that anyone will be able to rain on 3-D Theatricals’ parade.

    FUNNY GIRL

    Through Sept. 22, 2013 at Plummer Auditorium, Fullerton
    Sept. 27 - 29, 2013 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Redondo Beach
    For tickets call (714) 589-2770 x 1 or go to www.3DTshows.com.



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    OPENINGS: The Pasadena Playhouse and Lythgoe Family Productions (LFP), has announced principal casting for Aladdin and His Winter Wish, starring Ben Vereen as The Genie, Jordan Fisher as Aladdin, Ashley Argota as The Princess, Richard Karn as The Sultan, Paul Vogt as Widow Twankey, and Josh Adamson as Evil Abanazar. Returning to the Playhouse for Aladdin are director Bonnie Lythgoe, choreographer Spencer Liff, and musical director Michael Orland. Performances will run Dec. 11 – 29, with a gala press opening night on Wed., Dec. 11 at 7:00 pm.

    An updated version of the classic Arabian Nights tale, in the style of a traditional British family Panto, Aladdin and His Winter Wish is a singing, swinging and soaring adventure that features family-friendly magic, with a comedic twist, dancing, a live pony and contemporary music from “Jai Ho” (Slumdog Millionaire) to “Treasure” (Bruno Mars) and many more. A Panto is known for its interactive style and humor that appeals to everyone from ages 2 – 102. Before every performance, guests and their families are invited to enjoy a Citi® Presents: Winter Wonderland event in The Playhouse’s Engemann Family Courtyard, complete with holiday carolers, crafts, activities, games, and photo opportunities. Twelve local children will also be cast for the production. Open auditions will be held on October 5. Visit www.AmericanPanto.com for more information. Tickets: 626-356-7529 or www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org

    The Norris Center for the Performing Arts presents Mel Brooks’ The Producers, September 20 – October 6. Based on the classic film of the same name, the irreverent musical follows the hilarious adventures of washed-up Broadway producer Max Bialystock and his mild-mannered accountant Leo Bloom, as they scheme to get rich by overselling interests in what is sure to be the most notorious flop in the history of show business. They find the worst play ever written, hire a lead actor and director with no talent, and then wait for the bad reviews. But things go awry when the show becomes a huge hit. The Norris Theatre production features a 15-piece orchestra and a cast of 22 actors. It is produced by James Gruessing and directed and choreographed by Mathhew J. Vargo, with musical direction by Daniel Thomas. Principal cast members include Nick Santa Maria(Max Bialystock), Marc Baron Ginsburg (Leo Bloom), Elaine Hayhurst (Ulla), Ken Prescott (Roger DeBris), Jon Wailin (Carmen Ghia) and James Gruessing (Franz Liebkind). Tickets: (310) 544-0403 or www.norriscenter.com. The Norris Theatre is located at 27570 Norris Center Drive in Rolling Hills Estates. Free parking is available adjacent to the theatre.

    CABARET/CONCERTS: Sterlings Upstairs at the Federal presents Will Collyer: A one-man solo autodrama cabaret in which he tells stories from his life and then sings thematically relevant musical theater songs, directed by Mandy Kaplan with musical direction by Brett Ryback. For reservations call (818) 754-8700. Tickets are $38 (VIP reserved seating) and $28 (general admission). Both levels include $10 towards your food and drinks. For more information visit www.MSAPR.net or www.willcollyer.com

    Nicole Parker, now appearing in 3-D Theatricals’ production of Funny Girl will appear at Musical Mondays LAon September 17 at 10:00pm. Eleven Nightclub is located at 8811 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069.

    Clifford Bell hosts Here and Now, with Joanne Tatham, Hillary Turk, Alexandra Theodora Spurlock and Jake Anthony, Saturday Sept. 14 at M Bar Hollywood, 1253 North Vine Street, Los Angeles, 90038. Featuring Nate Light on the bass. 

    Remembering Rick Starr: A Sentimental Journeywill take place at the El Portal Theater, Sunday, October 6. Doors open at 4:30 pm. Program to begin at 5:00 pm. A brief reception will follow in the lobby. Richard Starr died unexpectedly on July 8, 2013, at age 62. He is missed and mourned by his family and legions of friends who flocked to "Hollywood Sheet Music" to reap the benefit of his extraordinary knowledge of classic popular song and theatre music.

    Having served as manager and consultant at the legendary music store for many years, Rick was a pillar of the entertainment community, offering his expertise to TV and film projects, superstar recording artists, and every newcomer to the Los Angeles theatrical community equally. In 2007 Actors Equity awarded him the Lucy Jordan Recognition Award “for going above and beyond.” He also received an award from Backstage in 2008. Rick’s life was defined by a unique kindness, generosity, and a deep love of the musical art he performed so vibrantly and supported for so many. Memorial contributions can be made to The Actors Fund in gratitude for their excellent care and service: The Actors Fund, 5757 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 400 Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-933-9244.

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    OPENINGS: Radar L.A., an international city-wide festival of contemporary theatre is set to begin Sept. 24. Presented by REDCAT and CalArts in association with Center Theatre Group, and other local and national partners, the festival will highlight 18 influential productions including works from Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Los Angeles. I’ve highlighted four of the productions that will hold special interest for those who love music and dance but for info on all of the shows that are part of the festival, Click Here.

    Stardust
    REDCAT (85 minutes)
    Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater
    631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 - More Info
    Director & choreographer David Roussève’s dance-driven work is a coming of age story for the Twitter generation, in which the central character never makes a physical appearance. Present only in unanswered texts projected on multiple screens, a gay African-American teenager reaches out with growing urgency as the dark realities of his life become apparent. On stage the dancing unleashes a full-bodied expression of emotional states that contrast the intimate romanticism of Nat King Cole with the rough edges of original hip-hop inflected music by d. Sabela grimes, while Stardust plays out against Cari Ann Shim Sham’s immersive video imagery.

    Stones in Her Mouth
    The Palace Theatre (90 minutes)
    630 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014 - More Info
    Renowned theater artist Lemi Ponifasio and his New Zealand-based company MAU introduce a 10-member ensemble of Maori women who articulate a powerful and undisguised challenge – voiced through the Maori language, genealogy, spirituality and ceremony. Drawing on the tradition of Maori women as the writers of poetry and chant, this courageous work of transmission gives expression to resiliency and outrage in the face of power structures and oppression. Through oratory, choral-work and dance, the performers address issues of being Maori women in this world and turn a mirror to the massive social and political turmoil of our times.

    Track 3
    LATC: Theater 1 (75 minutes)
    514 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 9001 - More Info
    Track 3 is Theatre Movement Bazaar’s fast-paced and inventive spin on Three Sisters, Chekhov’s turn-of-the-century play about the decay of the privileged class in Russia, and the search for meaning in the modern world. While this smart, contemporary adaptation by Richard Alger follows the main events of the original play, director and choreographer Tina Kronis incorporates elements of vaudeville, song and dance – from Russian folk to disco – to catapult the play from its Victorian origins into a 21st-century existential extravaganza.

    El Gallo
    The Million Dollar Theater (90 minutes)
    307 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013 - More Info 
    El Gallo mixes opera, comedy and surrealist situations to expose the anxieties that fuel creation, from the audition process through to the climactic concert. For the first act, the audience plays witness to a rehearsal process beset with wrestling matches, bared insecurities and exposed underwear. Viewers then experience the “premiere” of the completed performance. It is entirely sung - in an entirely invented language - to a series of tunes ranging from Gershwin to Middle Eastern folk songs, played by a live eight-piece orchestra. Directed by Claudio Valdés Kuri, El Gallo wittily conveys the obstacles and fears that descend on any production, and the sense of triumph that draws people back to the theater.

    The Vagrancy presents the west coast premiere of Bottom of the World by Lucy Thurber, a play accompanied by live bluegrass band, Blue Bird Bandits. This quirky, emotional drama unfolds around a young woman dealing with her sister’s sudden death. Sabina Ptasznik directs the life-affirming piece which flashes back to 1910 and takes a heartfelt look at the various characters’ struggle through loss and longing, while striving for human connection. The cast includes Stephanie O’Neill, Natalie Burtney, Anne Butler, Jordan Boughrum, Jeremy Mascia, Steve Madar, Rosemary Stevens, Michael Edelstein, and musicians J Reinke and Peter Blackwelder. After the play patrons are welcome to a Vagrant Hootenanny hosted by Blue Bird Bandits. Fun, dancing and moonshine guaranteed. Oct. 12 – Nov.3 at the The Lounge Theatres in Hollywood. Click Here for tickets.

    OVATION NOMINEES: Congratulations to all of the Ovation Award nominees that were announced tonight at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood. For a complete list of nominees Click Here. The Ovation Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, November 3 at 7 pm at San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, 320 S. Mission Drive in San Gabriel. For more information, visit www.OvationAwards.com.

    CABARET/CONCERTS: Following a sold-out May premiere, A Little New Music comes back to Rockwell: Table & Stage on September 24. The program will showcase music by award-winning writers Chris Miller& Nathan Tysen (Broadway-bound Tuck Everlasing), Carmel Dean & Sarah Underwood, and Ryan Scott Oliver (35MM), among many others and will feature performances by Barrett Foa, Julie Garnye, Tinuke Oyefule, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Gina Coconato, the cast of Third Street Theatre’s The Burnt Part Boys, and more. Jordan Kai Burnett hosts and Bryan Blaskie will be on keys. Doors open at 6:30pm and showtime is 8:00pm. Tickets and information: www.alittlenewmusic.org.

    Kritzerland presents The Story Goes On: The Songs of Richard Maltby & David Shire, Monday, October 7 at 7:00 pm starring Heather Barr, Will Collyer, Ashley Fox Linton, Sally Mayes, John Sloman and Shannon Warne, with music director John Boswell. For reservations call (818) 754-8700. Cover charge $15 + $10 food minimum + $3 facility charge. Sterling’s at The Federal, 5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. Click Here for more information.

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    Michael Sterling (center) with the cast of A Sterling Affair. All photos by A.J. Hernandez

    On September 15th, 1 host, 12 singers, 2 musical directors, 1 comedian, and a packed house of friends and invited guests celebratedMichael Sterling’s birthday at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. The night, appropriately titled A Sterling Affair, was a sparkling tribute to the man whose name has come to be synonymous with Los Angeles cabaret.

    After a welcome by Mr. Sterling’s business partner and State of the Arts co-host, Paul Stroili, and a few words by the man of the hour, comedian Christopher Meehanopened the show with stories that set the jovial tone for the evening. Then the musical celebration kicked into high gear with a roster of L.A.’s finest musical theatre and jazz artists at the microphone and on the keys.

    James Lent, musical director and pianist for the majority of the singers, was featured on “Variations,” a musical mash-up of styles that used the melody of “Happy Birthday” as its point of departure. From Beethoven to boogie woogie, and all manner of classical composers in between, Lent rocked the keys with unforgettable virtuosic flair. 

    Cortes Alexanderand his Swell Girls Julie Garnyeand Melissa Bailey added their good time groove and jazzy vocals to a bright version of “Jump For Joy” while Will Collyer opted for the sweet and moving Sondheim classic “Being Alive.” Luca Ellislent his signature class to the Sinatra standard “Come Back To Me” in an arrangement that was perfection. It was an elegant choice to honor an even more elegant birthday boy and it transported the entire room back to the smoke filled clubs of a bygone era. Eduardo Enrikez followed it with a dramatic “Finishing the Hat” in an intense departure down a sensual road.

    Jenna Lea Rosen and Michael Sterling
    No one does comedy like Broadway funny man Jason Graae and his “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” with special lyrics (and a fabulous Mama Rose ending) to fit the Sterling occasion, brought down the house. 14-year old rising star Jenna Lea Rosen’s “Dear Mr. Gershwin,” complete with tap break, was like a breath of fresh air, full of innocent charm and a sweet pop belt that is sure to take her to the Great White Way.

    David Burnham and Michael Sterling
    Listening to David Burnham and his glorious high notes always makes me smile and his gorgeous duet “For Good,” with the incredibly talented Mark Vogel, captured a sentiment that everyone in the room could say about Mr. Sterling in one way or another. “I do believe I have been changed for the better / because I knew you / I have been changed for good.” There were tears on more than one cheek by the final heartfelt notes.

    Sterling stacked the deck with his final three leading ladies who finished the set with three showstopping performances. Joan Ryan, backed by Vogel, gave “Shall We Dance” from The King and I the slow jazzy treatment, with delicate nuances and an emotionally rich belt. Nita Whitaker LaFontaineis just plain amazing; loaded with personality, poised beyond measure, and well-schooled in what to do with a money note. Yes, indeed, and “Since I Fell For You,” also with Vogel on piano, proved once again why she was named Female Grand Champion on the original Star Search.

    Terri White and Michael Sterling
    And finally, the amazing Terri White brought it all home with Artie Butler’s “Here’s To Life,” dripping with passion and delivered with the knowingness of a woman who’s been around the block. It was a final manhattan toast to the man of the hour. The one and only Michael Sterling.

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    Original Toronto Cast. Photos by Cylla Von Tiedemann 

    When one decides to redo a classic musical like The Wizard of Oz, one presumably does so because one has a vision that might improve upon, or at least add to, the original. The bar is set pretty high when the property is one of the most beloved movie musicals of all time but, hey, I can go with it – especially if it works.

    Unfortunately, the adaptation that just opened at the Pantages Theatre is about as superficial as it gets. It may have been successful when it opened in Toronto, but for my taste, adding a bunch of cheap jokes, hokey choreography, and regrettable new songs doesn’t begin to enhance my experience of the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

    Much of the difficulty comes from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams’ adaptation which shortcuts the story down to the basics and injects large amounts of yuk yuk humor that is as puzzling as it is superfluous. Lee McDougall’s Lion has been reinvented as a vaudeville jokester but Sams directs him to be so over the top that he hasn’t a chance of being funny. The witches, Glinda the Good (Robin Evan Willis) and the Wicked Witch of the West (Jacquelyn Piro Donovan), both feel like Vegas drag queens vying for who gets the biggest billing. The former isn’t charming or sincere and the latter is a cartoonish upscale version of H.R. Pufnstuf’s Witchipoo in a glittering Mae West gown, not the least bit scary. Thank goodness for two flying monkeys who actually were frightening.

    Mike Jackson has little to do as the Tin Man but what he does is happily grounded in an honest interpretation of the role. Veteran actor Cedric Smith brings life to Professor Marvel and the Wizard without resorting to melodrama.

    Danielle Wade won the role of Dorothy for the Toronto production of The Wizard of Oz on the Canadian television show “Over the Rainbow” and headlines the touring cast. Her Dorothy is pretty and perky, with a pleasant but thin soprano voice that occasionally gets swallowed up on the cavernous Pantages stage. The orchestra is terrific but there is so much treble in the microphones both for the instruments and the singers that the music feels like it might lift off along with Dorothy and her house enroute to Oz. Luckily Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburgs original songs sound as wonderful as ever, a big plus since the addition of Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s new songs may have worked in theory but as executed will hardly be remembered.

    Danielle Waade, Mike Jackson and Lee MacDougall

    To do the transporting from one location to another, Daniel Brodie recreates Jon Driscoll’s excellent video projections for the road. The grainy sepia tones work dramatic stage magic in combination with Hugh Vanstones dynamic lighting. Together they simulate the tornado’s blustery winds and swirling passageways that transport Dorothy to and from the land of the Munchkins, much like a dustbowl Alice in Wonderland falling down the proverbial rabbit hole. In contrast, Oz is coated in bright primary colors and storybook images that capture the spectacle of a picturesque fairytale land where crows sing and florescent flowers glow under a black light sky.

    It’s possible that I just couldn’t get past my own expectations for The Wizard of Oz and as such the experience was not as successful for me as it might be for others. Camping up the humor of a cherished musical that is inherently full of sweetness, whimsy and heart, and pushing it to the point of Panto made it seem as hollow as the Tin Man’s empty chest. At least before he made the journey. 

    THE WIZARD OF OZ
    Sept. 17 - Oct. 6, 2013
    Pantages Theatre
    6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

    Tues. - Thurs. at 7:30pm, Fri. at 8pm, 
    Sat.at 2pm & 8pm, and Sun. at 1pm & 6:30pm
    Tickets: (800) 982-2787 or www.HollywoodPantages.com

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    Daniel David Stewart and Aaron Scheff as brothers (Pete and Jake).
    Photos by Elizabeth Mercer

    Death has a huge impact on the living. Even when it’s expected it is still a shock, but when it happens unexpectedly, it leaves loose ends and things unsaid that can have repercussions later. I have a niece who lost her dad at the age of almost three, suddenly, and without warning. She went to bed and he was sitting in his rocking chair in the other room. In the morning he was gone. 

    Luckily for her, and her two pre-teen sisters, we have a large family that knows how to rally the forces at a moment’s notice. Her mother, my sister, is an incredible woman who just picks up and carries on. Because that’s what you do. You get back to work. You raise the family. You make the best of things.

    But what if that wasn’t the case? What if my niece had to grow up being raised by a sibling not much older than her because her mother had given up and couldn’t get out of bed? What if our family was like Pete’s family in The Burnt Part Boys?

    Pete (Daniel David Stewart) is 14 and his father, along with eleven other men, were trapped in a West Virginia mine collapse and fire ten years earlier and died. Since then the “burnt part” has been closed, becoming a kind of legendary shrine to the victims whose bodies were never recovered.

    Aaron Scheff (front) with Danel David Stewart, Joe Donohoe,
    Adam Dingeman & Lauren Patten

    Pete’s 18-year old brother Jake (Aaron Scheff) has been doing his best to provide for his family and pay off the debt by working in the mine full time ever since dropping out of school. But do the math. That means he left school at 8 or sometime thereafter, set any dreams of another life aside, and took up the responsibility of providing for his family. No wonder that chip on his shoulder is so full of anger. Poor kid probably never even got his own chance to grieve.

    Aaron Scheff (Jake), Daniel David Stewart (Pete) and Joe Donohoe (Chet)

    The story begins here, with Pete learning that the burnt part is going to be reopened and that Jake will be the new foreman. Pete is furious. Spurred on by imaginary visits from his movie star idols, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, and with his reluctant best friend Dusty (Adam Dingeman) in tow, he sets off to dynamite the mine and make sure no one ever enters it again.

    With a breathtaking transition from Pete’s kitchen to the great outdoors, it becomes a traveling musical directed with touching insight and sincerity by Richard Israel. His imaginative use of the stage and ordinary objects to conjure up images of the rolling hills, rushing river, and treacherous woods is a creative way to bring the great outdoors to an intimate playing area. An advantage Israel has is that The Burnt Part Boys hasn’t been done here in L.A. yet and the element of surprise is on his side. You really don’t know what’s coming next. (Twenty minutes near the end of the show are so compelling and unexpected that my heart was pounding.)

    Tension mounts as Jake and his buddy Chet (Joe Donohoe) learn of Pete’s plans and follow the younger boys up to the mine to stop them. Determined to get there first, Pete steps up the pace and stumbles across Frances (Lauren Patten), a girl who disappeared several months earlier and has been living in an abandoned cabin. She joins them, much to Dusty’s dismay, and the trio continues on its way. Patten attacks the role mostly by yelling to get her point across but a sweet scene between Frances and Pete over dandelions and crackers offers vulnerable insight into her otherwise loud, obnoxious personality.

    Stewart is a real find. The young actor’s combination of naïveté and determination makes his coming of age journey extremely poignant. He also sings beautifully. Scheff’s “Disappearance” is bitingly delivered, and with lyrics like “Eighteen years old / trapped in a life under the ground / I’ve done everything right / feels like I’m 40 / already the man I will be when I die,” it brings home the harsh reality of his life. Donohoe is a likeable best friend whose natural good old boy humor is full of charm. Dingeman is a little heavy handed punching the jokes but when he relaxes into it the moments work.

    The cast of The Burnt Part Boys

    Four dead miners (Matt Musgrove, Richard Hellstern, Philip Dean Lightstone and Rich Brunner) add a sobering presence to the piece giving The Burnt Part Boys an unexpected soulfulness. “I Made That” is especially moving. Part of the show’s inherent appeal is its folksy Appalachian music. The tunes are alternately lively, plaintive, and driving, with an old-time mountain feel. Harmonies are full and the singers blessed with a gorgeous blend. Musical director Gregory Nabours achieves the sound with a 4-piece string band – David Lee (guitars), Eden Livingood (violin), Nikolaus Keelaghan (viola/percussion), with Nabours on keyboards. Where in the world he found a musician proficient in both viola and percussion I don’t know, but the effect is terrific.

    A thoughtful vision by director Richard Israel, heartfelt performances, and seductive mountain music that will carry you away are what you’ll find in The Burnt Part Boys. And since death is as much a part of life as the changing seasons, and a destination we’ll all reach someday, we owe it to ourselves to make the moments count now. Make mine musical, please.

    THE BURNT PART BOYS
    Book by Marianna Elder
    Music by Chris Miller
    Lyrics by Nathan Tysen

    Sept. 7 - Oct. 20, 2013
    Third Street Theatre
    8115 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048
    Tickets: (323) 655-9232 or
    www.thirdstreetheatre.org


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    OPENINGS:30 Minute Musicals presents A Very Spooktacular Double Feature, Ghostbuster and Teen Witch directed by Brooke Seguin and featuring original music by Dan Wessels. Performances are October 13, 20 and 27 at 8:00pm. Both 30 minute thrill rides match the fun and excitement of the 80’s classic films with hilarity and camp. The fast and furious romp features original songs and choreography, clocking in at a breathtaking 30 minutes (not including time held for laughter). Starring Dan Alemshah, JD Barton, David Blue, Tom Detrinis, Julianne Dowler, Natalie Cook, Clayton Farris, Lauren Flans, Ryan Garcia, Matt McConkey, Tania Possick, Tanya Reese, Brooke Seguin, Lindsay Wray and special guests. Tickets are $15 in advance available at http://bpt.me/472397. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027.

    Chromolume Theatre Company has announced that the final show of its 2013 season will be The Musical of Musicals, the Musical!, by Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart. Directed by Kristin Towers-Rowles with musical direction by Richard Berent, it will open Nov. 8 for a limited engagement. In this hilarious satire of musical theatre, one story becomes five delightful musicals, each written in the distinctive style of a different master of the form, from Rodgers & Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim. If you love musicals, don’t miss this parody of epic proportions. Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Click Here for tickets.

    Nine o’clock Players announces its first show of its 2013-2014 & 83rd Season, Snow White, a magical musical for the entire family, featuring book, music & lyrics by Carol Weiss, musical direction by Bill Brown and directed by Todd Nielsen. The limited engagement will run Oct. 27 - Nov. 24, with opening night on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 2pm at the Assistance League Theatre in Los Angeles. This musical has it all: the poisoned apple, a beautiful princess, a handsome prince, a fearsome witch, a magic mirror plus the added feature of seven colorful and funny dwarfs. For tickets visit www.nineoclockplayers.com. Assistance League Theatre, 1367 N. St. Andrews Place in Hollywood.

    MEMORIAL:A reminder that Rick Starr’s Memorial will take place on Oct. 6 at 5:00 pm at North Hollywood’s El Portal Theatre. If you would like a brief message to appear in the program for the memorial, please send it to Clifford Bell ASAP - cliffordbell@cabarabia.com or his personal Facebook page. Also, Clifford is still collecting photos or videos.

    CONCERTS/CABARET: The Broad Stage & Mark Cortale present Broadway @ The Broad, an intimate series that pulls back the curtain on Broadway’s biggest musical theater stars in a series of candid conversations and cabarets. On October 19, two-time Tony Award-winner Patti LuPone launches the series with Seth Rudetsky as pianist and host. These two irrepressible friends will shoot the breeze, dish the dirt and raise the roof with an amazing program of classic Broadway songs. It’s Broadway The Broad way! http://thebroadstage.com/lupone

    Ryan Black’s Don't Tell Mama LA September 25 lineup for The Songs of Company, the Musical by Stephen Sondheim, will feature performances by Laura Dickinson (Bobby), Ruth Williamson (Joanne), Sam Zeller (Larry), Daisy Eagan (Amy), Zach Ford (Paul), Drew Tablak (Jenny), Greg Tapscott (David), Kyle Puccia (Peter), Kristin Towers (Susan), Gina Coconato (Sarah), Julie Garnye (Marta), Meredith Pyle (April), and Anna Rubin (Kathy). Featuring Greg Nabours as music director and on piano, Jennifer Leitham on Bass, Jean Sudbury on Violin, and Josh Doyle on Drums. There is no cover charge and seats may be reserved with a dinner reservation by calling (323) 380-7209. More info HERE.

    GLOW: For the first time, Santa Monica’s Glow, the all-night cultural experience, will include classical music with The Rest Is Noise: A Carousel Ride Through 20th Century Music, an unprecedented experience produced by Jacaranda, the classical music series known for rarely heard, new and modern music. The project, conceived by Jacaranda’s artistic director, Patrick Scott, will take place within the historic Santa Monica carousel building on the Santa Monica Pier. Attendees will ride the world’s fastest carousel surrounded by 16 speakers (and 4 subwoofers) playing breakthrough pieces of 20th-century music from Mahler to Adams. Riders will hear a series of 12-second musical excerpts, each by a different composer, as they revolve on the carousel - 100 years of music in five minutes. With each revolution, a revolution! Saturday Sept. 28, 7 pm -3 am at the Carousel, Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401. FREE. For parking and getting to Glow info: http://glowsantamonica.org/gettingtoglow/

    SHOW CHOIR: John Burroughs High School’s Vocal Music Association kicks off the 2013-14 season with its most ambitious presentation ever of Burroughs on Broadway. Featuring the Program’s four award-winning choirs, including the 2013 National Show Choir Champions POWERHOUSE (Mixed Division) and SOUND SENSATIONS (Womens Division),  this annual event, affectionately known as B.O.B., is the JBHS VMA’s  biggest, most extravagant fundraiser of the year, helping offset the costs that arise though the program’s participation in local and national competitions. Performances are Friday, October 11 and Saturday, October 12 at 7pm and Sunday, October 13 at 2pm at the John Burroughs High School Auditorium, 1920 W. Clark Avenue , Burbank 91506. Tickets on sale now at www.jbhsvma.com.

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    OPENINGS: 3-D Theatricals presents Legally Blonde the Musical, directed by David F.M. Vaughn, musically directed by John Glaudini and featuring choreography by Linda Love SimmonsOct. 11 – 27 at Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton and Nov. 1 – 3 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. Based on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name, it tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial.

    Featuring music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach, it stars Stephanie Wall as Elle Woods, Matt Baueras Emmett Forrest, along with Lindsey Alley (Paulette), Jamison Lingle (Margot), Tory Trowbridge (Pilar), Micaela Martinez (Serena), Matthew Benedict (Warner Huntington III), Carly Nykanen (Vivienne Kensington), Christopher Carothers (Professor Callahan), Emma Degerstedt (Brooke Wyndham), Kristen Pickrell (Enid), and Frankie (as Bruiser). The ensemble includes Nick Adorno, Sydney Blair, Brad Fitzgerald, Melissa Glasgow, Amy Glinskas, Laleh Khorsandi, Madison Mitchell, Robert Ramirez, Jake Saenz, Cameron Sczempka, Brian Steven Shaw, Christian Villanueva, Drew R. Williams, Matthew Williams, Stephanie Wolfe. Tickets: (714) 589-2770 x 1 or www.3DTshows.com 

    T.U. Studios will be filled with music Oct. 5 – Nov. 10 as the venue plays host to two new musical revues. Saturdays at 8:00 pm Liquid Love features love songs performed by established vocal stars including Lucy Walsh (daughter of The Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh) on Oct. 5 and Oct. 19; Chad Doreck (from the reality TV series “Grease: You’re The One That I Want” on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2; and Gloria Gifford (WB recording contract singer) on Oct. 12 and Nov. 9. Musical director: Stuart Elster.

    Sundays at 7:00 pm All I Want Is Magicpresents a dozen terrifically talented twenty-somethings who are up-and-comers in the world of vocal music. The cast includes Jolee Blon, Kelly Britain, Kevin Ferris, Niousha Jafarian, Zach Kilian, Abigail Kochunas, Christian Maltez, Tahlia McCollum, Lauren Plaxco, Cynthia San Luis, George Steevesand Shiela Tejada. Musical director: Jeff Rizzo. T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St. North Hollywood, CA 91602. Tickets: (310) 366-5505 or www.tix.com 

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