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Your Musical Theatre Resource for Southern California!

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    OPENINGS: Cabrillo Music Theatre announces its full cast for Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, which runs Oct. 18 – 27 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Joining the previously announced Davis Gaines and Victoria Strong as Fred Graham/Petruchio and Lilli Vanessi/Kate are Scott Reardon as Bill Calhoun/Lucentio, Reba Buhr as Lois Lane/Bianca, Steven Perren as General Harrison Howell, and Ronald Rezac as Harry Trevor/Baptista Minola, along with Orlando Agawin, Francesca Barletta, John Paul Batista, Michael Byrne, Danielle Campbell, Allen Darby, Martin Feldman, Jay Gamboa, Lexi Greene, Steve Greene, Abigail Herman, Natalie Rose Iscovich, Raquel Nicole Jete, Kurt Kemper, Anna Lamonica, Tellina Lee, Derek A. Lewis, Tom G. McMahon, Timothy Reese, Shelley Regner, Tracy Ray Reynolds, Harry Schantz, Joey Sponseller, Megan Stonger and Lamont Whitaker. Richard Israel directs. John Todd makes his Cabrillo debut as choreographer, and Darryl Archibald returns as musical director, leading the full, professional Cabrillo Music Theatre Orchestra.

    With Kiss Me, Kate, Cabrillo Music Theatre also launches its second season of Arts Education. The musical provides a fun way to learn about one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies, The Taming of the Shrew. Study Guides are available and accessible for teachers at public schools, private schools and home school parent/teachers, and any parent or individual interested. The Study Guide supplements a fun musical outing with an educational experience that helps students take a difficult subject like Shakespeare, and understand and apply the subject matter and the language in a modern setting. Tickets and info: www.cabrillomusictheatre.com

    IVRT at Candlelight Pavilion in Claremont presents Song & Dance for two performances only on Oct. 29 at 2:30 and 7:30. It will feature Robin De Lano, with Bobby Collins, Max Herzfeld, Matt Edgerton, Nicole Bravo Escudero, Chanel, Kaufman, Chris Giroux and Tiffany Renee Schwanz directed by Hope Kaufman. Musical direction is by Ronda Rubio and choreography is by Kim Eberhardt. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s triumphant musical comprises two acts, one told entirely in Song and one entirely in Dance, tied together by a love story. The first part is Tell Me On A Sunday, with lyrics by Don Black and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, about a young British woman's romantic misadventures in New York City and Hollywood. The second part is a ballet set to Variations, composed by Lloyd Webber for his cellist brother Julian, which is based on the A Minor Caprice No. 24 by Paganini. The show won Bernadette Peters a Tony on Broadway. For tickets call (909) 626-1254.

    Latino Theater Company presents its annual holiday gift to the community, La Virgen De Guadulupe, Dios Inantzin, on December 4 and 5. Adapted for the stage by Evelina Fernandez from the mid-sixteenth century text The Nican Mopohua, it relates the story of how the Virgin Mary appeared on four occasions to the lowly peasant Juan Diego in the mountains of Tepeyac near Mexico City in 1531. The show is presented in Spanish with English supertitles. Reserved seating is available for $35 and can be acquired online at www.thelatc.org, or by calling (866) 811-4111. Reserved seating for LATC Members is $17.50. Early bird discounts are available until November 1. General admission is FREE to the public at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, on Wed. and Thurs., December 4 and 5 at 7:30 pm. A goodwill donation of $5 is suggested however no one is turned away for lack of funds. Renowned opera singer Suzanna Guzman stars as the Virgin. Sal Lopez plays Juan Diego, along with a cast of over 100 actors, singers and dancers that also includes children and seniors from the community. The production is directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela.

    WEB SERIES: Check out the latest episodes of the new musical comedy web series Destroy the Alpha GammasFrom Streamy Award nominated director, Scott Brown (Larry King Now, Blue Movies) and executive producers, Anna Roberts and Shin Shimosawa (The Following, The Grudge), Destroy the Alpha Gammas is an exploration of rivalry and revenge, set in the wild world of sororities.



    Written by and starring pop singer/actress, Leah McKendrick, the show is a sexy and edgy comedy driven by top 40 hits, love triangles, and cat fights in the vein of Bridesmaids or Pitch Perfect. The story centers around Carrie, the newly appointed president of the not-so-popular Delta Pi sorority. Along with McKendrick the show features Anastacia McPherson, Sara E.R. Fletcher, Jon Hall, Lindsey Morgan, Michelle Martinez, Christie Burson, Anna Roberts, Jeff D'Agostino, Karma Stewart, Cara Manuele, Julina Creamer, Dennis Haskins, Judy Norton, Lisa Marie Summerscales, Cindy Derby and Eduardo Enrikez. For more info visit http://destroytheags.com.

    CONCERTS:Miscast is back Monday, October 21- featuring songs from Phantom of the Opera, Grease, Spring Awakening and many more. Presented by Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal, the show will star Mandy Kaplan, Todd Sherry, Jennifer Hall, Will Collyer, JP Karliak, Mandy Fabian, Chris Carlisle, Mona Chatterjee, Netta Most, Jeffrey Landman, Tom Metz III, and Brett Ryback. You must make reservations ahead of time by calling (818) 754-8700. Dinner & drinks: 6:30 pm, Show at 8:00 pm. Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal, 5303 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. 

    Sierra Madre Playhouse and the Colburn School of Music will debut their Colburn Concert Series on October 6 with The French Concert. Performers will include Rebecca Nathanson, soprano, LA Opera; Yi Zhou, viola, LA Opera; Yi-Ju Lai, piano, Colburn alum; Eloise Kim, piano, Colburn; Natalie Helm, cello, Colburn; Evin Blomberg, violin, Colburn; Radu Paponiu, Colburn; Ridge Davis, flute, Colburn.
    Fauve: La bonne chansons, Op. 61
    Ravel: Sonata for violin and violincello
    Ravel: Chansons Madecasses
    Chaminade: Portrait: Valse chantee
    Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Ample free parking behind theatre. Concert begins at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $20. Seniors (65+) and students (to age 21), $15. Reservations: (626) 355-4318 or www.sierramadreplayhouse.org

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    OPENINGS: Musical Theatre West opens its 61st season with the regional premiere of Young Frankenstein, featuring music & lyrics by Mel Brooks and book by Thomas Meehan. Based on the 1974 smash hit film Young Frankenstein it is a wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic from the comic genius of Mel Brooks. Young Frankenstein will run Nov. 1 – 17 with opening night scheduled for Saturday, November 2.  

    Zachary Ford stars as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein with Danny Blaylock as The Monster, Ben Liebert as Igor, Andi Davis as Inga, Rebecca Johnson as Elizabeth, Tracy Lore as Frau Blücher, and Jeffrey Rockwell as Inspector Kemp. John Racca is featured as Victor, Jeffrey Landman as Ziggy, and David Miller as Herald. Ensemble members include Jessica Buda, Ryan Chlanda, Quintan Craig, Michael Deeb, Jessica Ernest, Marisa Field, Annie Hinskton, Donna Louden, Daniel Smith, Alishia Suitor, and Katy Tabb. Lauren Kadel will recreate the original direction and choreography of Susan Stroman. Corey B. Hirsch serves as musical director with Mary Ritenhour as production manager. Tickets: www.musical.org or (562) 856-1999 x 4. All performances are at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center located at 6200 East Atherton Street, Long Beach, CA 90815.

    Chromolume Theatre announces its cast of Musical of Musicals, the Musical, directed by Kristin Towers-Rowles, choreography by Anna Rubin and musical direction by Richard Berent, opening Nov. 8. The show will star Jean Altadel, Jason Chacon, Macleish Day, Eduardo Enrikez, Kimberly Hessler, Jason Kennedy, Kelly Meyersfield and Christina Morrell. The Musical of Musicals is a hilarious satire of musical theatre in which 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. Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Click Here for tickets. 

    Due to popular demand, Thoroughly Modern Millie is coming back in October for six shows only at the beautiful Curtis Theatre in Brea. Suitable for all ages, this high-energy musical is a singing and dancing extravaganza set in 1920s New York. Produced by InspireD Productions, directed by Stephen Reifenstein with musical direction by Aaron Al-Imam and choreography by Kristina Reifenstein. Performances run Oct. 18 – 27.Click Herefor tickets.

    AWARDS: Nominations are now open for the 2013 BroadwayWorld Los Angeles Regional Awards. These are reader-submitted nominations honoring productions that opened between October 2012 and September 2013. The nominating period runs through October 31, followed by fan voting Nov. 4 - December 31. Winners will be announced in early January. Click Here to nominate your favorites! 

    CABARET: On Friday, October 18 at 7pm, GLEHand Chris Isaacson present Upright Cabaret at GLEH; a monthly charitable cabaret series raising awareness of GLEH (Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing) through song. At this performance David Burnham (Broadway – Wicked, The Light in the Piazza) will appear with music director Mark Vogel. Click Here for more information. 

    TWITTER: Here's a big shout out to some of our favorite folks on Twitter who have been part of the conversation online lately. Check them out and see what they have to say!

    @breakinglanews Curating the best media feeds in Los Angeles.

    @LAStageAlliance Empowering and engaging artists since 1975.
    @CalArtsREDCAT CalArts' downtown center for contemporary arts
    @wcollyer Actor/Singer in Los Angeles
    @HairNewNation Michael Butler & Ben Vereen mounting a new production of HAIR in LA
    @BeckyBaeling Becky BaelingLythgoe. Be who you are, and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

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    It’s no surprise that Bruce Kimmel’s monthly Kritzerland series (this is show #38) has gained such a loyal following at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. For true musical lovers it is the rare opportunity to hear beautiful, funny and surprisingly touching songs from musicals you may never get to see. Sometimes it’s because what remains is only a jewel of a song or two from a musical that never found its niche with audiences. Other times the musical may have gone through rewrites and changes in its artistic vision causing a song to be cut, lost, or scrapped before it even made it into the musical. Along with these little-known classics, Kritzerland shows always contain a few very special songs that did hit it big making the evening a terrific way to celebrate the joy that is musical theatre.

    Monday night’s show, The Story Goes On…, featured songs written by the team of Richard Maltby& David Shire. Both men achieved success in their careers individually – Maltby for his work on shows like Miss Saigon, Song and Dance and Ring of Fire, and Shire for his many scores for TV and film projects like Alice, The Conversation and All the President’s Men. But this night celebrated their work as a duo. 

    Kimmel described the songs as “complete meals” adding that “singers can feast on them in many ways,” and he’s absolutely right. Numbers from Maltby & Shire’s two big musical revues, Starting Here, Starting Now and Closer Than Ever and their musical Big, made up a significant part of the evening, along with songs from Baby, and a few others.

    West Coast Ensemble produced a wonderful production of Big several years ago with Will Collyer in the role of Josh, the 12-year old boy who wishes he was big. When he magically wakes up as an adult he finds being big isn’t as great as he thought it would be and eventually realizes that all he wants to do is go home. Unfortunately, he can’t control how he got to be big so he doesn’t know how to overcome time and get back. Collyer captured every bit of Josh’s fun and sweetness then, and now, in a touching version of “I Want To Go Home.”

    This idea of time and how it impacts our choices and actions was a common thread that ran through the Kritzerland evening making this collection of songs even more meaningful. Shannon Warne sang two songs from Big that expressed different views of the passage of time. In “Dancing All The Time” she remembers what it was like to be 12 and have all the time in the world, and in “Stop Time,” she sings of how fast a child grows up and how, if you could only stop time and keep him safe, everything would be okay. Warne is a true leading lady with a crystal-clear soprano belt that has become richer over the last few years and is always a highlight of any musical evening. Tonight she was once again in great voice.
    Heather Lee has the market cornered on quirky characters as her hilariously understated “Miss Byrd” from Closer Than Ever showed. Watching this little buttoned-up secretary sing about her secret lunchtime quickies is a study in how to act a song and let the comedy play itself without getting in the way. She makes it work beautifully and then turns right around for a bittersweet reflection of love in another time, “Autumn,” a song that Barbra Streisand recorded.

    From bittersweet to downright bitter, John Sloman sang a caustic version of “I Don’t Remember Christmas” that cut through the crowd and had an especially effective ending. He also sang the beautiful “Earthbound” from Maltby & Shire’s most recent musical, Take Flight. Even musical director & pianist John Boswell was featured on several songs -- first in a trio with Collyer and Heather Barr in Closer Than Ever’s sad love triangle “She Loves Me Not,”  and later in the title song from Only When I Laugh. The light, swingy number was a nice fit for him. Collyer also returned later in the show with a simple and heartfelt version of If I Sing” from Baby that showed off his lower register.

    Streisand also made famous another Maltby & Shire song that was originally written for Robert Goulet, “Starting Here, Starting Now.” Kimmel says that one day she saw the sheet music laying on the piano and all of a sudden it became a signature balled for her instead. On this night it was the incomparable Terri White, filled with poise, passion, and a vocal depth few are blessed with, who stopped the show with her version of Streisand’s signature song. Point of fact – anytime you get a chance to see Terri sing, you should take it ‘cause a song just doesn’t get sung any better than that.

    Ashley Fox Linton has a lovely voice and gave “Crossword Puzzle” from Starting Here, Starting Now the ingénue treatment early in the show. Tricky intervals in the song may not have always been clean but she was cute and the audience appreciated her self-deprecating humor. Her second number “The Bear, The Tiger, The Hamster and the Mole” – a song that had been cut from Baby along with the character who sang it before being put into Closer Than Ever– showed off her character belt and I could hear the makings of a dynamite Ado Annie waiting to happen. Linton also closed the night with “The Story Goes On” from Baby, a song that has special meaning for Kimmel since it is the one that introduced him to Liz Callaway.

    Kimmel narrated the evening while offering up a good bit of trivia and little known interesting facts about the songs. He even sang a touching version of “her Laughter in My Life from a Maltby & Shire musical about computer dating before there even was computer dating.

    All in all, another terrific night of entertainment at Michael Sterlings classy, cool supper club in North Hollywood. Next month Bruce Kimmels Kritzerland series, produced by Kimmel and associate producer Adryan Russ, will feature the music of Disneys Richard Sherman on November 3rd. For reservations, more information, and a complete calendar of all the upcoming shows at Sterlings Upstairs at the Federal visit http://www.msapr.net/.

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    OPENINGS: When You Wish: The Story of Walt Disney has its world premiere at the Freud Playhouse beginning Oct. 11. The inspiring musical is the story of how a young dreamer became the Walt Disney who changed the world. It features an original score with music and book by Dean McClure, direction by Larry Raben, and choreography by Lee Martino. Pat Boone co-produces with Dean McClure and Robert Rudolph. The cast of 20 includes Tim Martin Gleason as Walt Disney and Andy Umberger as Roy Disney, Brandi Burkhardt, Melissa Fahn, Norman Large, and Louis Pardo. Also featured are Kade Pait as young Walt and Jake Davidson who makes his Los Angeles theater debut as young Roy. The ensemble includes Jennifer Brausell, Kate Harvey, Aurore Joly, Lorenzo King, David Michael Laffey, Morgan Marcell,  Garett Marshall, Louis A. Williams (Dance Captain), Thomas Adoue Polk, Kirklyn Robinson, Nick Tubbs, and Salvatore Vassallo. Oct. 11 - Nov 3 with opening night on Wed, Oct. 16. Tickets: www.Ticketmaster.com or by call the UCLA Central Ticket Office at (310) 825-2101.

    Laguna Playhouse announces adjustments to its 2013- 2014 season. Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks starring Leslie Caron will move from its originally scheduled November opening to the Spring 2014 slot to accommodate Ms. Caron’s schedule. In its place the Playhouse will present the heartwarming musical, A Christmas Memory. Based on the beloved short story by Truman Capote, it features a cast of seven in a tender portrait of a rare friendship across generations, during a time when life was much simpler. With a musical score that will bring love and light to your hearts, this show is sure to you in the holiday spirit. Additionally, The Year of Magical Thinking (originally announced for April/May) will be included in the 2014-2015 season and Val Kilmer will join the Playhouse for five nights only, Nov. 21 – 24, to perform his one-man show, Citizen Twain, based on the life and writings of Mark Twain. Subscriptions are available to Laguna Playhouse’s season by calling (949) 497-2787 (ARTS) or online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com. 

    Theatre Americana presents Mary of the Avenue, an original musical about family and life on the streets in NYC, October 25, 26 & 27 at the Shakespeare Clubhouse, 171 So. Grand Ave., Pasadena. Featuring book and lyrics by Neil Scanlan, and music by Greg Wood. Directed by Donna Scarantino. Set during the dead of winter on the streets of New York City it follows Carrie, an eager and engaging young woman as she sets out from her Midwestern town to find her mother who, years before, left without notice. With some help from the local press, she connects with Mary who is now homeless. Determined to bring her mom back home, Carrie begins to explore life on the streets, as Mary introduces her to a cast of colorful characters. Tickets: $25 for reserved seating available at www.brownpapertickets.com or www.shakespeareclub.org

    The Grove Theatre announces the opening of Bye Bye Birdie on October 25. One of the most captivating musical shows of our time, it tells the story of Conrad Birdie, a rock and roll singer who is about to be inducted into the army. Conrad’s agent concocts one final national publicity stunt before his induction - Conrad will bid a typical American teen-age girl goodbye with an all-American kiss. Bye Bye Birdie is a satire done with the fondest affection and gives insight into the everyday life that is very much a part of us all. The show runs Oct. 25 – Nov. 10. For tickets call (909) 920-4343 or go to www.grovetheatre.com. The Grove Theatre is located at 276 E. Ninth Street, Upland, CA 91786.

    CABARET: Sacred Fools presents His Royal Hipness Lord Buckley one night only Monday, Oct. 14 at 8:00 pm. Don’t miss this swirling mix of comedy, be-bop and cabaret. Creator and star Jake Broder (co-writer & star of Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara) transports you back in time with his spellbinding portrayal of 1950s counter-culture icon American Comic Lord Richard Buckley. Emerging from the speakeasies of Chicago into the counterculture lounge scene of 1950s New York, Buckley’s charismatic hipster-aristocrat persona inspired generations of cultural icons including Bob Dylan, Ken Kesey, George Harrison, Tom Waits, Dizzy Gillespie, Robin Williams, Johnny Depp, Whoopi Goldberg, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Lenny Bruce. Tickets: www.sacredfools.org 

    Reminder that Miscast is back Monday, October 21 with songs from Phantom of the Opera, Grease, Spring Awakening and more. The show will star Mandy Kaplan, Todd Sherry, Jennifer Hall, Will Collyer, JP Karliak, Mandy Fabian, Chris Carlisle, Mona Chatterjee, Netta Most, Jeffrey Landman, Tom Metz III, and Brett Ryback. Reservations: (818) 754-8700. Dinner & drinks 6:30 pm, Show at 8:00 pm. Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal, 5303 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.

    Rockwell Table and Stage presents a one night only preview of Emily Bergl’s new cabaret show, Til I Get It Right, in at Rockwell Table and Stage Tuesday Oct. 29 at 8:00 pm. The show exposes the lengths we go to in our search for love and what we do when we don’t find it, or even more frightening, when we do. In her signature nouveau cabaret style, Bergl uses the past to illuminate the present, blending together Irving Berlin with Blondie, Rodgers and Hammerstein with Tracey Chapman & even Noel Coward with Britney Spears. You’ll be treated not only to an evening of diverse songs, but a full cast of characters all personified by this veteran Broadway actress. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets: www.rockwell-la.com or call (323) 661-6163. Rockwell Table and Stage, 1714 N. Vermont, LA 9002

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    **You know the story but spoilers ahead**

    Jay Armstrong Johnson and Talisa Friedman
    Photos by Matthew Murphy

    “Holy freak out, The Last Goodbye is hot! Dirty sexy and Jeff’s music suits it to a T.” That was my gut response and intermission tweet from the Old Globe on opening night. It was an hour into the re-mastered Romeo & Juliet story transformed by Jeff Buckley’s music into a heart-pounding, testosterone-driven assault on adolescence and love. Michael Kimmel’s adaptation may not have retained Mercutio’s famous Queen Mab speech (one of my favorites in the play), but he does give the character Buckley’s metal driven “Eternal Life” to end the first act after he dies. And that’s tradeoff enough for me.

    Hale Appleman, who plays Mercutio, delivers the prophetic lyric with such charismatic defiance and raw vocal energy that you’re still trying to wrap your head around the fact that he’s singing this amazing rocker ode and the guy’s just died. You might even think you’d imagined it if you hadn’t seen him knifed before your eyes.

    Hale Appleman as Mercutio

    Kimmel continues to mess with death later at the tomb when Romeo (Jay Armstrong Johnson) thinks that Juliet (Talisa Friedman) is dead and drinks poison to join her. As Shakespeare wrote it, he dies, and when Juliet awakens to find him dead, she kills herself with his dagger.

    But in Kimmel’s adaptation, Romeo drinks the poison, Juliet wakes up, and the two have a final scene together before he dies and she kills herself. It was so shocking and unexpected I could heard gasps from the audience when she sat up. It’s a bold departure from the story and I’d say that even if you know it’s coming, in the moment, it will still stun you.

    Is that taking too much liberty with Shakespeare’s text? For some, maybe. But it feels somehow appropriate for this sexually-charged, not-so-subtle version of the tale. It’s an R&J that young people will flock to – some driven to see if the play can possibly contain Buckley’s music and meet his fans’ expectations; others because word of mouth will surely be strong. Let’s face it, sex sells, and this beautiful, sleek cast is a head-turning seductive bunch. 

    Propelled forward by Alex Timbers’ insistent staging, Sonya Tayeh’s explicit choreography and Kate Waters & Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum’s athletic fight sequences, the actors ride this story fast and hard, fully aware that the journey of these two star-crossed lovers will be cut short in a mere two hours time.

    (foreground with swords, from left) Jeremy Woodard as Tybalt and
    Brandon Gill as Benvolio with the cast of The Last Goodbye

    The look is part gothic romance, part 90s leather-clad underworld. The location is simply listed as Verona, sans time period. Within this vision, stone arches part to reveal an onstage band led by musical director Kris Kukal, with front man Adam Cochran channeling Buckley’s presence in the raging musical grid. But a solitary twang of his guitar in the musical soundscape offers just as much wracking emotion as any of the big numbers.

    And what of Romeo and Juliet? Friedman and Johnson make a convincing pair, handling the text with resolute youthful intensity. Johnson also masters Buckley’s crazy vocal range, popping out falsetto riffs that ramp up Romeo’s tortured angst while paying homage to Buckley at the same time.

    Yet it’s tricky, this melding of Shakespeare and Buckley. Some scenes transition between music and text beautifully but others lack finesse. Romeo and Juliet’s duets “All Flowers in Time” and “The Last Goodbye” are two examples of the former but Capulet (Daniel Oreskes) singing “Corpus Christi Carol” was a mismatch from the get-go. While it does serve to cover the scene change it’s odd that it’s sung by Juliet’s father; the same father who earlier jumps up and down in a temper tantrum like a gangster from the Bronx when Juliet refuses to marry Paris. 

    Tonye Patano also seems to be dropped in from another place and time, making the much abbreviated appearance of the nurse more reminiscent of the television sitcom maids of the second half of the twentieth century. Even Broadway veteran Stephen Bogardus falls into a sing-song version of Friar Laurence that feels a little too Mr. Musical to fit with the overall style of the show.

    And though the end of act one left me on a high at intermission, The Last Goodbye’s second act could use another pass to smooth out its rough edges. Then the final “Halleluiah” would have the heartbreaking impact the show so obviously intends.

    The cast of The Last Goodbye

    Talisa Friendman and Jay Armstrong Johnson

    L-R: Bryan Scott Johnson (Montague), Wallace Smith (Prince)
    and Nancy Snow Carr (Lady Montague)

    THE LAST GOODBYE
    Sept. 22 – Nov. 3, 2013
    The Old Globe
    1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park
    San Diego, CA 92101 
    Tickets: (619) 23-GLOBE or www.theoldglobe.org 

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    OPENINGS: Ipso Facto Theatricals brings you the must-see theatrical Halloween show, Halloween Hullabaloo, conceived and directed by Kyle Nudo. Part theatre, part vaudeville – all rock n’ roll! The night will present 13 spooky and terrifying acts: singers, dancers, aerialists, clowns and everything in between. This is where musical theatre meets rock, where cabaret meets commedia dell’arte, and is THE must-attend Halloween party and show in Los Angeles. The cast will include Keythe Farley, Michael Shepperd, Kathy Deitch, Katherine Malak, Ashley Fox Linton, Nikki Tomlinson, Marliss Amiea, Heather Barr, Jane Noseworthy, Lorin Shapiro, Anna Dawahare, Caroline Gross, Evan Arnold, Michael Dunn, Jon Monastero, Brent Crayon, Gonzalo Palacios, Ameenah Kaplan, Ana-Maria Alvarez, and Kyle Nudo.

    Doors and pre-show entertainment at 9:00 pm; Show at 10:00 pm. Tickets are $25 for the night; $20 after 11:00 pm for the dance party and mayhem. Early arrival strongly suggested and all Halloween revelers are welcome, Costumes are A MUST! A Halloween dance party will follow spun by DJ Paul V. Best Costume contest - $200 cash prize. Click Here for tickets and for more event information visit www.IpsoFactoTheatricals.com. You can also check out the Indiegogo campaign HERE

    Direct from Broadway, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita will play the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood Oct. 23 – Nov. 10. Eva Perón used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady. Adored by her people as a champion for the poor, she became one of the most powerful women in the world - while her greed, outsized ambition and fragile health made her one of the most tragic. Evita tells Eva’s passionate and unforgettable true story, and features some of theater’s most beautiful songs, including “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” and “High Flying, Adored.” Directed by Michael Grandage and choreographed by Rob Ashford. Tickets: http://hollywoodpantages.com/evita
       
    CABARET:Ryan Black’s Don’t Tell Mama LA's October 16th lineup for Disney Songs, will feature performances by Lindsey Alley, Noel Britton, Jill Marie Burke, Ashley Cuellar, Kevin Earley,  Courtney Freed, Julie Garnye, Kim Huber, Ethan Le Phong, Jen Malenke, Meredith Pyle, Jessica Reiner-Harris, Daniel Tatar, and Aly Trasher. Featuring Greg Nabours as music director and on piano. There is no cover charge and seats may be reserved with a dinner reservation by calling (323) 380-7209. Open mic after the show. Tickets: HERE.

    Kritzerland present Supercalifragilistic expialidocious!The Songs of the Sherman Brothers Sunday, Nov. 3 at 7:00 pm, starring Brent Barrett, Kim Huber, Damon Kirsche, Jane Noseworthy, Jenna Lea Rosen, Sami Staitman, and special guests Susan Egan and Richard Sherman with music director Tom Griep. Dinner reservations are from 5:30 - 6:00 pm and can be made by calling (818) 754-8700. Cover charge $15 + $10 food minimum + $3 service charge. Sterling’s at The Federal, 5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. Click Here for more information.

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    Secondline Productions is producing a Halloween double bill featuring 30-minute musical parodies of two 80’s film classics, Teen Witch and Ghostbusters, Sundays through October 27 at Atwater Village Theatre. It’s a fun series of shows directed and adapted by Brooke Seguin and featuring music by Seguin and Dan Wessels. The team has previously spoofed such films as Showgirls, Jurassic Park, Road House and most recently, Independence Day, which was a big success at this summer’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. Repeat visitors are proof that it’s easy to get hooked and I can see why.

    I loved Independence Day, which was my introduction to the 30MM, and this time around I decided to treat the Halloween combo as a test. I know Ghostbusters inside and out but am not at all familiar with Teen Witch. The goal was to see if that made a difference in my ability to get the jokes and feel included in what was happening. Luckily, for a teenage fluff movie like Teen Witch you really don’t need to have seen it to get it because the story isn’t taxing and the characters are very familiar.  

    In a nutshell, plain-Jane Louise Miller goes from pathetic to popular on her sixteenth birthday when she assumes the magical powers that run in her family, thanks to Madame Serena and a mysterious amulet. Now the mean girls who tormented her all want to be her friend and the most popular boy in school only has eyes for her. Is it a recipe for success…or not?

    The characters are broadly drawn with easy traits to hang the humor on. Louise (Julianne Dowler) has big hair, no style and never gets a second look from her crush, football star Brad (Matt McConkey), but plenty of second glances from gal pal Polly, a terrific Lauren Flans who raps like a maniac and harbors a hilarious secret attraction to her best friend.

    Three rappers – Rhet (Clayton Farris) and his sidekicks JD Barton and Ryan Garcia bust all the 80’s moves with ferocious intensity and Tom DeTrinis all but walks away with the show (on his knees) as Madame Serena, originally played by Zelda Rubinstein. (You’ll remember her as the quirky medium from Poltergeist). There’s also plenty of teenage angst thrown in from the rest of the energetic ensemble. Voodoo dolls, Jordache, Les Mis and Kenny G references, along with a recurring “Total Eclipse of the Heart” theme will make you shake your head at the flashbacks.

    Teen Witch is a lot of fun but I think the even bigger accomplishment is Seguin’s distillation of Ghostbusters. The half hour parody lifts so many brilliant lines from the film and the actors’ impersonations are so spot-on that having seen this film definitely makes it a richer experience. 

    Matt McConkey and Clayton Farris are outstanding in their characterizations of Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman and Harold Ramis’ Egon Spengler. McConkey has Murray’s unique style, vocal inflections and self-confidence down to a T and Farris eerily channels Ramis and all the scientific quirks of a guy whose main interest is spores, molds and fungus. He’s hysterical with his understated, skittish mannerisms and lack of social skills around women...well, one woman in particular. The Ghostbusters’ secretary Janine (Brooke Seguin) has a thing for Egon andSeguin plays up her characters attraction for the awkward brainiac, spinning Annie Potts original interpretation in a more obviously flirtatious direction. 

    Best laugh out loud moment of the entire night however was Tom DeTrinis’ entrance as nerdy Louis Tully, played by Rick Moranis in the film. Tully is my favorite character and DeTrinis completely rocks Moranis’ rapid non-stop way of speaking and fixation on sexy neighbor Dana (Lindsay Wray). Hes got the body posture, the walk, and hes even got his bottom lip stuck out to ensure the dorky voice and pacing. Ingenious.

    Ghostbusters also includes a passel of sexy female dancing ghosts, a balloon-encrusted Gozer the Gozerian that’s a walking sight gag, a high-energy Ghostbusters montage, and a Stay Puft Marshmallow man surprise. Throw in a little “Girl from Ipanema” elevator music, some boogie-woogie, and a lot more fun at the film’s expense and this is one silly night of comedy.

    Only two more performances are scheduled, for October 20 and 27, so get your tickets now. Beverage alert: The bars open and you can take your drinks inside the theater. Tickets are $15 in advance and you can purchase them at: http://bpt.me/472397.

    Cast: Dan Alemshah, JD Barton, Natalie Cook, Tom DeTrinis, Julianne Dowler, Clayton Farris, Lauren Flans, Ryan Garcia, Matt McConkey, Tania Possick, Tania Reese, Brooke Seguin, Deus X. Scott, Kirby Slager, and Lindsay Wray.


    30MM: TEEN WITCH and GHOSTBUSTERS
    October 13, 20 and 27 at 8:0pm
    Secondline Productions
    Atwater Village Theatre
    3269 Casitas Ave.Los Angeles, CA 90027

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    Andy Umberger (Roy Disney) and Tim Martin Gleason (Walt Disney).
    Photos by Ed Krieger

    Twenty actors play fifty nine different characters in Dean McClure’s new musical When You Wish: The Story of Walt Disney premiering at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse. Walt’s family members, studio personnel, animators, and even the characters they draw, all find a place in this inspiring tale. Walt was a true visionary. Thanks to him we have Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio, Snow White, Cinderella, and hundreds of beloved characters who have become best friends, role models, and favorite pals to kids worldwide.

    For those, like me, who know little of his early life and career, the story is quite interesting. From a little boy of 6 who drew cartoons on toilet paper and listened to his mother talk about wishing stars in the sky, to the opening of Disneyland almost fifty years later, the musical shows how he overcame setback after setback to create a world no one had ever imagined before.

    He was the first to put a live girl in a cartoon in the Alice Comedies and the first to create a cartoon with synchronized sound (Steamboat Willie). He suffered the painful loss of his Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City and lost his closest staff members more than once. A move to Hollywood reunited him with his brother Roy, who had relocated because of his tuberculosis, and there a new studio was born named the Disney Bros. Studio.

    The musical highlights the brothers’ close relationship and I think it would be safe to say there would have been no Walt Disney without Roy. Roy was the businessman. Walt was the creative genius. Or as they say in the musical - Walt draws; Roy worries. They may not have always agreed on the best course of action but Roy had Walt’s back and because of that they made a great team.

    This brotherly bond is an important part of the musical and Andy Umberger (Roy) and Timothy Martin Gleason (Walt) convincingly capture the essence of their relationship. Gleason shows Walt to be a boyish, complicated, earnest man who was obsessively focused on his professional work. His credits include The Phantom of the Opera, and most recently, the new musical Sleepless in Seattle, and he’s a great choice for the role. Vocally strong and able to embody Walt’s childlike naiveté along with his passion, he carries the musical through this stage of its development.

    Umberger’s down to earth likeability gives the musical a folksy quality. He has the difficult job of making sense of some awkward writing in which he steps out of scenes to deliver narration, and with director Larry Raben’s assistance, makes the transitions as smooth as possible.

    Brandi Burkhardt and Tim Martin Gleason
      
    Also highlighted is Walt’s relationship with the woman he would marry. Lillian (charming Brandi Burkhardt) was a secretary who worked in the ink and paint department of the studio and fell in love with his somewhat bumbling manner. McClure gives the pair a lovely duet entitled “Someone in Love” to express their feelings and a perfect Hollywood proposal to go along with it. Another scene shows how Lillian would be instrumental in making sure Disney’s most famous mouse would not be called Mortimer, and later, a much needed vacation for the couple would result in Walt’s inspiration for the locations in his theme park.

    Norman Large (Maestro Carl Edouardo), David Michael Laffey (Pat Powers)
    and Garret Marshall (sound engineer)

    Norman Large has got to be the best utility player in town and his character work on the eight different roles he plays in When You Wish is as memorable as ever. You can pick your favorite but mine was his eccentric Maestro Carl Edouardo.

    The program touts this musical as a pre-Broadway production and though there are many things to like already in place, there is still work to be done. Isolated songs are terrific with the music for “Always a Wolf at the Door,” “No Limits on Me,” “Just Like the Good Old Day,” and the “Paper and Ink” buddy number very upbeat and fun. But the lyrics are mostly general and at times even monotonous.

    Case in point, “No Limits on Me” repeats the phrase “no limits on me” seven times within about 30 seconds. Ub (Louis Pardo) sings a pop treatment of “Someone Else’s Life” that contains the same thoughts he has just spoken in the scene before the song begins and the ballads, while pretty, don’t have enough individuality or sparkle to be remembered past the applause. Walt’s passionate “I’ll Buy Her Diamonds” musically felt like the high point of Act I but the scene naming Mickey Mouse followed. It was cute, but somewhat anti-climactic. 

    To McClures credit, it is a difficult undertaking to write a musical about Walt Disney that doesn’t include any of his iconic songs. Further development could eventually result in something wonderful but not without continued work. To title the musical When You Wish sets up an expectation that it will contain the kind of magic and music worthy of the Disney name, and unless you meet that expectation with the original songs, it cannot help but feel a little flat. The other trap is that by writing another song entitled “When You Wish” it is almost impossible not to compare it to the original “When You Wish Upon a Star” and find it lacking.

    The potential for this Disney story musical exists but it is too early to consider a move to New York without more development work and fine-tuning. Pulling back the animated curtain to see how Walt Disney became such a phenomenal success is worth the investment of time and resources to make it the best it can be. It is, after all, the story of one of the greatest entertainment icons Hollywood has ever seen. 

    WHEN YOU WISH, The Story of Walt Disney

    Book, Music & Lyrics by Dean McClure
    Directed by Larry Raben
    Choreography by Lee Martino

    Musical Supervisor: Darryl Archibald
    Oct 11 - Nov 3, 2013

    Freud Playhouse

    Tickets: www.whenyouwishmusical.com

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    MUSICALS: Chance Theater has announced its 16th anniversary season, which will be the first in its new home at 5522 E. La Palma Ave. in Anaheim, a space that is double the size of its current location. It’s a very musical season so here’s a look at what you can expect from Chance. 

    LYSISTRATA JONES (west coast premiere)
    Feb. 7 – March 9, 2014
    Book by Douglas Carter Beane, music & lyrics by Lewis Flinn
    Directed by Kari Hayter, choreographed by Kelly Todd

    Athens University is in the midst of a thirty-year losing streak, so Lyssie J. and her girl-power posse won’t “give it up” to their basketball-playing boyfriends until they win a game. The hilarious dialogue and upbeat score are an electric combination of Mean Girls, Glee and Pitch Perfect. 

    TONY AWARD-WINNING MUSICAL TBA
    July 3 – August 3, 2014
    This musical surprise is the winner of four Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and a potent reminder of the importance of chasing one’s dreams and finding where you belong. The Grammy award-winning score serves as the backdrop for a community with dreams of succeeding while at the same time holding onto your heritage.  

    SHE LOVES ME
    Nov. 28 – Dec. 28, 2014
    Book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, music by Jerry Bock

    Travel back to the 1930’s where you’ll meet Georg, the dull but adorable manager, and spirited new clerk, Amalia. This is the musical adaptation of the play that inspired such films as 1940 Jimmy Stewarts’ The Shop Around The Corner, the 1949 Judy Garland musical In The Good Old Summertime, and most recently as the 1998 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film You’ve Got Mail.

    STRIKING 12
    December 9 – 28, 2014
    By Brendan Milburn, Rachel Sheinkin, and Valerie Vigoda
    Directed by Oanh Nguyen

    New Year’s Eve in modern-day New York collides with 19th Century Denmark in this concert-with-a-story, sketch-comedy-meets-musical event for the holidays. While some choose to grumpily ignore the season, others choose to try and spread cheer - while selling full-spectrum holiday light bulbs. Inspired in part by Hans Christian Andersens The Little Match Girl, the show springs to life through an eclectic score of classical, musical theater, jazz and rock. See it once and it will become your new holiday tradition.

    In addition, plays on Chance Theater’s season include the Southern California premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play directed by Trevor Bishop (April 25 – May 25, 2014) and Jordan Harrison’s Maple and Vine (Sept. 19 – Oct. 19, 2014). For more information visit http://chancetheater.com/.

    A Taste of Red, a one-woman musical comedy starring Sabrina Miller continues Sundays at 7pm through Nov. 3 at NoHo Arts Center. Directed by James Mellon, it's a fun, lighthearted musical comedy that follows a girl on her journey to a better life. With the right intentions, her life takes her through hilarious and sometimes romantic distractions and self-sabotage. Eventually she must ask herself, “Is this a better life or just the same life in a better neighborhood?” This simple question forces her to look inside and discover her own patterns of behavior and self-sabotage.  Click Here for more information.

    This Clement World, a new musical theatrical work byCynthia Hopkins and her collaborators will have its west coast premiere at REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts Oct. 24 - 27. Performed live with a chorus and 15-member band, Cynthia Hopkins’ skillfully crafted This Clement World, is a soulful, musical theatrical performance that poetically, yet urgently speaks to the earth’s rapidly changing climate, with humor, artistry and immediacy. The full evening work interweaves documentary footage of stunning landscapes captured during Hopkins’ three-week Arctic voyage aboard a century-old ship, with an original avant-folk rock opera, and an extravagant narrative in which Hopkins portrays three fictional characters: the ghost of a Native American woman, a neutral visitor from outer space, and a child from the not-so-distant future who has traveled back in time. All act as tour guides for an imaginary exhibit of the wonders of our world, playfully conveying reflections on the current climate change, through a deeply idiosyncratic lens. Tickets: call (213) 237-2800 or visit www.redcat.org.


    EVITA will return to L.A. by way of Hollywood Pantages Oct. 23 – Nov. 10. Directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winner Michael Grandage and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Rob Ashford, it stars stars Caroline Bowman as Eva Peron, Josh Young as Che, Sean MacLaughlin as Peron, Christopher Johnstone as Magaldi, Krystina Alabado as Mistress and Desi Oakley serves as the Alternate for Eva Peron. Individual tickets for EVITA may be purchased at www.HollywoodPantages.com or calling 1-800-982-2787.

    Creating Arts Company presents The Boondoggles Adventure, Out of Boondoggle Central, which centers on Colton the cowboy, an imaginary friend who is determined to find his way back into the real world to find his boy Michael. Along the way he befriends a few of the imaginary friends that call Boondoggle Central home like Howard the monster, Crash the ninja, Fae the fairy, Jade the witch, Carmen the diva and even the Princess Taisie. He discovers that Barb the doll, Candy and Sandy the twins, Mosh and Leel the evil management will do everything they can to keep him from leaving their imaginary paradise. Overflowing with heart, humor, imagination and self-discovery, The Boondoggles is an extraordinary new children's musical that reminds us what friendship is all about. Now through Nov. 10 at Promenade Playhouse, 1404 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA90401. For more information call (310) 804-0223 or visit www.creatingarts.org.

    DANCE:Helios Dance Theater presents Puss In Boots: From Drawings to Dance Saturday October 26 at 11:00 am. You’re invited to take a peek behind-the-scenes as Helios artistic director Laura Gorenstein Miller and her dancers share the process of creating the choreography for the characters in DreamWorks’ Academy Award-nominated film, Puss In Boots. Drawings dance to life in styles from flamenco to contemporary as this award-winning company incorporates hand drawn story boards, choreography, video of the motion capture technology and finished film scenes from the movie. It’s fascinating for audiences of all ages to experience live dance in this new and innovative way using popular culture and the love of film. Following the show, stay for fresh cookies and milk and an artist meet and greet. http://thebroadstage.com/puss-n-boots

    CABARET/CONCERTS: On Friday, Nov. 15 at 7pm, GLEH and Chris Isaacson presentUpright Cabaret at GLEH; a monthly charitable cabaret series raising awareness of GLEH (Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing) through song. This performance will feature Danny Gurwin, whose Broadway credits include Little Women, Urinetown, The Full Monty, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Click Here for more information. 

    Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal has added a second performance of Supercalifragilistic expialidocious! The Songs of the Sherman Brothers at 3pm on Sunday Nov. 3. Call (818) 754-8700 for reservations. Lunch/Brunch seating is at 2:00 pm. The show starts at 3:00 pm and runs an hour and a half. www.msapr.net

    A tribute concert to Astor Piazzola will take place Nov. 3 at Sierra Madre Playhouse. The composer and musician, was famed as the creator of nuevo tango, which transformed traditional tango by infusing it with elements of jazz and classical music. On November 3, three Colburn Conservatory of Music students, Stephanie Ng (piano), Sang Yoon Kim (clarinet), and Kevin Lin (violin) will perform a concert in tribute to this important 20th century artist. This is the second concert in the ongoing Sunday Series featuring Emerging Artists at the Playhouse, a collaboration between Sierra Madre Playhouse and the Colburn Conservatory of Music 7:00 pm at Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Tickets: $20. Students (to age 21) and seniors (65+) $15. Reservations: (626) 355-4318 or www.sierramadreplayhouse.org.

    Ryan Black’s Don’t Tell Mama LA - An Evening with Diane Warren Oct. 23. There is no cover charge and seats may be reserved with a dinner reservation by calling (323) 380-7209. Open mic after the show. Tickets: HERE.



    Sarah Brightman has kicked off her North American 33-city fall tour in support of her new #1 album, Dreamchaser. This spectacular production will visit Southern California next week with two area shows -- Friday November 1st at Dolby Theatre followed by The Theatre at Honda Center on Saturday, November 2nd. Tickets: www.livenation.com or www.ticketmaster.com


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    Stephanie Renee Wall as Elle Woods and company.
    Photos by Isaac James Creative

    Sometimes a girl just wants to have fun and that’s when a big pink musical like Legally Blonde comes in handy. Based on the film of the same name by Heather Hach (book) and Laurence O’Keefe & Neil Benjamin (music & lyrics), it is the story of Elle Woods, who conquers Harvard Law School and the perception of others as only an underestimated sorority girl can. 

    3-D Theatricals will offer one more weekend of the vibrant musical at Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton before it transfers to Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center for a final three performances. Full of high-energy, upbeat production numbers and a cast of enthusiastic singers and dancers, it’s easy on the eyes and a fun time for theatre lovers of every age. Credit director David F.M. Vaughn with keeping this musical confection moving at every turn.

    I saw the original Broadway production starring Laura Bell Bundy about a month after it opened in New York and was amazed by the sheer amount of energy needed to put on this show. It’s an almost non-stop ride, with Elle leading the charge, and a star-making role for any young leading lady who steps into the role.

    3DT has found a gem in Stephanie Renee Wall, who fills the Jimmy Choos of her Broadway and film predecessors, (Bundy and Reese Witherspoon) as if they were made for her. Her version of the blonde in question is a little less ‘omigod you guys’ and a little more ‘I know I can do anything’ at the top of the show, which gives her less of a stretch in the overall journey, but she has loads of animated charm and a fresh appeal that makes this more intelligent version of Elle very engaging.

    Lindsey Alley and Cameron Sczempka
    Many of the key scenes from the film are musicalized like “So Much Better” when Elle realizes she’s on the list of interns to help Professor Callahan (Christopher Carothers) with Brooke Wyndham’s (Emma Degerstedt) murder trial, Elle’s “Bend and Snap” advice to Paulette (Lindsey Alley), and her transformation into serious student through an extended musical scene “Chip on my Shoulder” that shows the progression of her studies with Emmett (Matt Bauer) during the semester.

    There are also some smart and funny additions, like Paulette’s dream of “Ireland,” which has a great comic reprise later in the show when the joke comes home, and an athletically ambitious “Whipped Into Shape” by Degerstedt and ensemble featuring breathless choreography by Linda Love Simmons.

    Performances are mostly solid throughout. Alley and Cameron Sczempka, who plays UPS man Kyle, get a lot of comic mileage out of their scenes and Bauer goes through a terrific onstage transition from frumpy to suited-up and courtroom-ready-fabulous, in “Take It Like a Man.” Christopher Carothers nails “Blood in the Water” as power hungry Professor Callahan and Carly Nykanen and Matthew Benedict, as Vivienne and Warner, exhibit great vocal chops the few times they are featured. 

    The most challenging part of this production, however, is being able to understand the women’s ensemble. Plummer Auditorium really swallows the sound on this one and lack of diction plus thick character accents cannot be understood over the orchestra. It happens right from the top with “Omigod You Guys” and “Daughters of Delta Nu” but continues to be a problem throughout. Audience members around me at intermission were enjoying the show but all were commenting on the fact that they couldn’t understand what was being said. Best thing to do if that is still the case after a week and a half of shows is just to sit back and enjoy the overall sound and effect, knowing you’ll get the basics of what’s going on even if you can’t hear the words.

    So kick it in high gear and get your tickets now. This bright, happy musical, where the underdog wins and everything is lively and fun, will lift your spirits and make sure you have a rousing good time. 

    The Girls of Delta Nu

    Matt Benedict and Stephanie Renee Wall

    Brad Fitzgerald,  Stephanie Renee Wall and company

    Emma Degerstedt (center) and company

    Stephanie Renee Wall

    LEGALLY BLONDE
    Now through November 3, 2013
    3-D Theatricals
    Tickets: (714) 589-2770 x 1 or

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    MUSICALS:Casting has been announced for the Los Angeles return engagement of Disney’s The Lion King which will play the Hollywood Pantages Nov. 20, 2013 – Jan. 12, 2014. The production features Patrick R. Brown as Scar, L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa, Brown Lindiwe Mkhize as Rafiki, Nick Cordileone as Timon, Andrew Gorell as Zazu, Ben Lipitz as Pumbaa, Jelani Remy as Simba, Nia Holloway as Nala, Keith Bennett as Banzai, Rashada Dawan as Shenzi and Robbie Swift as Ed. The role of Young Simba is alternated between Jordan A. Hall andNathaniel Logan McIntyre, and the role of Young Nala is alternated between Nya Cymone Carter andZyasia Jadea Page. Tickets:  www.HollywoodPantages.com,www.Ticketmaster.com, or 1-800-982-2787. 

    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts presents the second show in its 2013-14 Programs for Young Audiences series, Story Pirates Greatest Hits Show. This 60-minute fast-paced, hilarious sketch comedy musical is recommended for audiences ages 4 and up. Performances are Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm. A collection of the best stories and songs adapted from stories written by elementary school students, Story Pirates will delight and surprise with puppets, enlivening songs and outrageous sketches, all the while motivating kids to pick up a pencil and write down their own fantastic adventures. Story topics run the gamut, from Kung Fu ninja babies fighting crime to cats flying and tickle monsters that rule the world. All seats are $8 for children and $12 for adults. For more info go to www.LaMiradaTheatre.com or call (562) 944-9801 or (714) 994-6310. The theater is located at 14900 La Mirada Blvd. in La Mirada, CA. Parking is free.

    The Old Globe has announced that its 2014 summer season will feature Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony Award-winning musicalInto the Woods, which made its world premiere at The Old Globe in 1986. This inventive reimagining by Fiasco Theater originated at McCarter Theatre Center and will run July 12 – Aug. 10, 2014. The musical masterpiece weaves together beloved fairy tales, then ventures into the unknown territory of life after “happily ever after.” DirectorsNoah Brodyand Ben Steinfeld conjure a mythical world of theatrical invention where an ordinary rope becomes Jack’s famous beanstalk, a ladder becomes Rapunzel’s enchanted tower, and the power of transformation creates a beguiling theater of the imagination.www.oldglobe.org

    Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is back for the holidays at San Diego Musical Theatre  December 12 - 22. The beloved movie comes to life at the Birch North Park Theatre featuring a lush Irving Berlin score played by an onstage 22-piece live orchestra. Call for tickets (858) 560-5740 or go to www.sdmt.org

    CABARET/CONCERT: Starr Quality – A Rick’s PicksActors Fund Benefit Concert and Musical Tribute to the life and legacy of Rick Starrwill take place Thursday, Nov. 21 at Hollywood’s Catalina Jazz Club. Doors open at 6:30 and the performance begins at 8pm. Come help salute renowned music historian Rick Starr, former manager of the legendary sheet music store Hollywood Sheet Music. Performers scheduled to appear include George Ball, Michele Brourman, Keith David, Nancy Dussault, Dianne Fraser, Julie Garnyé, Ilene Graff & Ben Lanzarone, Babbie Green, Evelyn Halus & Oliviana Marie, Bruce Kimmel & Adryan Russ, Michelle Lee, Gregg Marx, Amanda McBroom, Karen Morrow, Ali B Olmo, Joan Ryan and more, with musical director Tom Griep, Randy Landas on Bass, and Denise Fraser on Drums. Directed by David Galligan. All proceeds will be donated to The Actors Fund. Tickets are $50 for Ringside Seating, $30 General Admission, plus 2-drink minimum. Click Herefor tickets.

    MUSE/IQUEs “Uncorked Series” presents Girl/Band featuring a screening of documentary film The Girls in the Band and post-screening interactive panel discussion and musical interludes. With Rachael Worby/curator; Judy Chaikin/film director, Mindi Abair/saxophone and other artists TBA, Monday, Nov. 11. Cocktail Hour begins at 6 pm, with music by the Westridge High School Jazz Ensemble, followed by Film Screening at 7 pm. Avon Distribution Center, 2940 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91121. Tickets and more information: (626) 539-7085 or www.muse-ique.org.

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    Gordon Goodman as John Barrymore. Photos by Steve Anderson.

    It’s an art to be able to disappear into a role. Some actors never master the task and others, like Gordon Goodman, make it look so effortless that you’d never believe that countless hours of preparation and careful study had gone into creating each unique character. That it looks so easy is a testament to how good he is at his craft.

    He started his career at 16 as a soloist with symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. He was a founding member of the Musical Theater Guild here in Los Angeles. He’s well known in musical theater circles – locally and nationally – as the go-to man for classic baritone character roles, and with more than 100 film, television and live theater credits, you’ve probably seen him around.  

    Add to that the fact that Goodman has a doctorate in psychology and does academic research into what makes creative people tick with Dr. James Kaufman at the University of Connecticut, and you have to admit that he sounds like the perfect choice for Good People Theater Company’s next production.

    He’s in the process of becoming John Barrymore in BARRYMORE, which opens Saturday, Nov. 9 and during rehearsals I had the opportunity to speak with the show’s producing director, Janet Miller, as well as Gordon, to ask why Barrymore. And why now?

    This is Good People Theater Company’s second production. Why choose BARRYMORE as the follow-up to your opening musical, A Man of No Importance? 

    Janet Miller: We launched our new theater company back in June with a musical for a number of reasons. First, no one in Los Angeles had done a fully staged production of A Man of No Importance, so that gave us something unique to make our launch more noteworthy. Plus it was a play about doing plays, so it had a nice ‘valentine to theater’ storyline which felt right for our first season. And I’m known around town for musicals, given my history as a director & choreographer. So all that was pretty logical.  

    But ultimately none of that matters if you can’t get the casting right. If I wasn’t sure I had the perfect Alfie – the lead character in A Man of No Importance– then there was no way I would have launched the company with that show. It was way too risky to try filling that very special role with someone I hoped to find in open auditions. But I knew Dominic McChesney was the perfect Alfie, so we committed to the show. And he gave us such a beautiful, nuanced performance.  It really was a perfect match.  

    And it’s a similar story with BARRYMORE. This is another theater-about-theater show. And again casting is everything. You can’t present this piece without the right actor to play John Barrymore. It’s not an easy task, because you’re bringing the audience a well-known historical character.  

    Barrymore was incredibly famous back in the day. And for theatricals, Barrymore plays a major role in American theater history. He stunned New York audiences in the 1920s by giving them a shockingly naturalistic Hamlet. He immediately changed the way people saw the role, and after that run, Jack jumped from Matinee Idol to Serious Shakespearean. The point is, people know a lot about Barrymore – his sense of humor, his personal style, his legendary good looks. So if you’re going to do this piece, you must have the perfect person to play this part. And I was convinced Gordon Goodman was the ideal choice.  

    How did Gordon become involved with the production?  

    Miller: I asked him! I’ve known Gordon for more than 25 years.  I’ve seen him perform in musicals and straight plays many times and I think Gordon has amassed a brilliant body of work. He is a detailed and thoughtful actor as well as being charming and funny. I just love watching him on stage.

    As far as this BARRYMORE project, it’s sort of obvious that Gordon’s got the look and the wit, but more importantly, Gordon is authentically curious about Barrymore, and very compassionate about Barrymore’s difficulties in life. I really believe he is able to bring us not just Barrymore the Celebrity, but Barrymore the complicated human being. 

    So early on I was very clear: it was ‘get Gordon or pick another play.’ So I called him and asked if he had ever thought of doing BARRYMORE. The answer was yes. After some discussion, he agreed.

    Gordon Goodman: It was an interesting phone call. 
    Janet’s being very kind.  But it’s true what she’s saying about my interest in John Barrymore. It goes back many years. I remember seeing Barrymore in the movie Grand Hotel when I was younger and being struck by the charming ease of his performance. As I investigated his personal story, I learned he was enormously gifted in fine arts, in writing, and in acting. 

    For me, Barrymore became a very fascinating case study in the complexities of a truly creative – if slightly out of control – life. I saw Chris Plummer do it, and God, so brilliantly, and it became a character I really wanted to play, to get inside of, especially as I’ve gotten older. So when Janet called to suggest the project, it was as if she’d been reading my mind.


    Do you feel his story has relevance today? 

    Gordon: Absolutely. Look around. Walk by any magazine stand. Just try NOT to see some celebrity spinning out of control. They’re like shooting stars and they attract the attention of the media. Sure, people tend to remember Barrymore for his antics in his later years – the many wives, the alcohol, the blue sense of humor. It’s easy to typecast him as the cliché of an inebriated has-been. But that’s not the whole story. 

    People forget he was the youngest child in a family of super-star actors. His childhood was chaotic. He didn’t want to join the ‘family business’ of acting, yet he defaulted to the stage after a string of depressing false starts in other professions. He started drinking in his early years, and basically never stopped. He became the rage. He had an incandescent personality and a devilish charm. People were literally bewitched by him!  

    As an actor, Barrymore is still historically relevant because of the naturalism he cultivated on stage, especially in his Shakespearean roles. As Janet said, his style of acting was a true breakthrough in the 1920s and part of the movement into realism that was about to change the acting world.

    I think Barrymore’s life story can be read as a timeless fable about that monster that consumes so many celebrities. He had no place to pour his life, but back into itself. Nothing in his own life had meaning. He was one of the biggest stars of his day, and it basically ate him alive.  And that’s an important cautionary tale that’s still valid today. 

    Was there any special reason you wanted to tackle BARRYMORE now, at this point in your career? 

    Gordon: I honestly feel it’s an important project at a key point in my journey, because it allows me to apply the two halves of my professional skill set to the task. Besides acting, I have a Ph.D. in psychology because I’m fascinated by what makes people do the things they do. Normally, I don’t do 99-seat theater. I’m either too involved in new television projects, or working with clients on performance issues and faulty belief systems, or doing academic research in the field of media and entertainment.

    As an actor, I’m excited about bringing Barrymore to life in an authentic way. In preparing the role, I’ve gotten to know him and I think I understand what made him tick, from a psychological perspective. He’s a very attractive character.

    For example, in my research into Barrymore’s life, it is clear to me that he was honest. He was probably the first one to admit he wasn’t a good husband, that he was more interested in having fun than working. Acting was just something he landed in because of his family. But he was also extremely intelligent, and had a unique genius that captivated audiences, and other actors of his day, like Orson Wells or Lawrence Olivier.  He was shoved into celebrity as a kid, and the money started flowing in – and it’s almost impossible to get off that train once you’re on it. 

    So for me, John Barrymore is a particularly rich case study. He was so gifted and so conflicted – about his talent, about his tremendous celebrity, about his ability to love and be loved.  

    William Luce’s play gives the memory of John Barrymores redemption. It’s a beautifully written, loving character study that becomes an ideal vehicle for realism, for presenting the deeper dimensions of a real person’s life on stage. 

    To me, that’s what it’s all about: making a character three-dimensional. Showing the charm, along with the fears and the imperfections that made Barrymore pitiful, admirable, and loveable all at the same time. I’ve come to the point in my career as an actor, where I don’t want the audience leaving the theater talking about me. I’ve done my job if, as they leave, they’re talking about Barrymore. 

    *  *  *  *

    Presented by Good People Theater Company in association with Greenway Arts Alliance, BARRYMORE plays at the Greenway Court Theater, 544 N. Fairfax between Melrose and Beverly. Preview on Friday, Nov. 8 at 8pm, opening night on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 8pm, and running through Dec. 1 (Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm and Sundays at 7pm.) Tickets are $25 ($15 for the November 8 preview) and are on sale now at www.GoodPeopleTheaterCo.org or by calling the Box Office at 323-655-7679 x 100. Parking is free in the theater’s lot (entrance on Fairfax).

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    MUSICALS: San Diego’s favorite holiday tradition is back for its 16th incredible year when Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! returns to The Old Globe Nov. 16 – De. 28 (opening night is Nov. 21 at 70m). The Grinch is directed by James Vásquez with book and lyrics by Timothy Mason and music by Mel Marvin.  The original production was conceived and directed by Jack O’Brien with additional lyrics by Theodor S. Geisel, additional music by Albert Hague and original choreography by John DeLuca. The cast will include Steve Blanchard as The Grinch, Jeffrey Schecter as Young Max, Steve Gunderson as Old Max, and Taylor Colemanand Gabriella Dimmickalternating as Cindy-Lou Who. Also featured in the cast are Geno Carr (Papa Who), Bets Malone (Mama Who), Victor Morris (Grandpa Who), Eileen Bowman (Grandma Who), Isabelle Simone Pizzurro and Kaitlyn O’Leary (Annie Who), Caitlin McAuliffe and Remy Margaret Corbin (Betty-Lou Who), Brandon Saldivar and Imahni King-Murillo (Boo Who) and Luke Babbitt and Dylan Nalbandian (Danny Who). www.theoldglobe.org

    A Noise Within continues its family holiday tradition by presenting its production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the ultimate tale of forgiveness, opening Saturday, Dec. 7 and closing Sunday, Dec. 22. This is the second year that ANW has presented the timeless holiday classic, once again accompanied by a special fundraiser event, “Fezziwig’s Festive Holiday Tea” on December 8, which directly supports Classics Live! - ANW’s education programs. The event will feature a live auction hosted by NBC4’s Fritz Coleman. Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott co-direct Dickens’ masterpiece about the redemptive and transformative power of love with an adaptation by Geoff Elliott that uses Dickens’ remarkable words exclusively, as well as evocative original music by composer Ego Plum. The cast includes Geoff Elliott as Scrooge), Robertson Dean as the Narrator, along with Stephen Rockwell, Rafael Goldstein, Jill Hill, Mitchell Edmonds, Deborah Strang, Alan Blumenfeld, Alison Elliott, Diana Gonzalez-Morett, Brendan Haley, Georgia Miller, Jack Elliott Boy, and Marie Sullivan. www.anoisewithin.org

    Pasadena Playhouse has announced that Bruce Vilanchwill play Widow Twankey in Aladdin and His Winter Wish, starring previously announced Ben Vereen as The Genie, Jordan Fisher as Aladdin, Ashley Argota as The Princess and Richard Karn as The Sultan. Commenting on the announcement, lead producers at Lythgoe Family Productions, Kris and Becky Lythgoe said, “We are so thrilled to have Bruce Vilanch join the cast. Widow Twankey (Aladdin's Mother in British Panto) is a role that demands expert comedic timing and improv skill, a role played by the top comedians and actors in the UK – including Sir Ian McKellen. Bruce Vilanch with his musical theatre prowess and comedic finesse was born to play the role of Widow Twankey. Aladdin runs December 11 – 29, with a gala press opening on Wed., December 11 at 7pm. www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

    CABARET:Theatre West present The Face, Behind The Face, Behind The Face, opening Nov. 29. Created and performed by Anthony Gruppuso, it is directed by Calvin Remsbergand features musical direction by John Dickson. This cabaret-style entertainment was first performed at Theatre West last March as part of its Sunday Night Solo Series. Response was so favorable and strong that the show is returning for an additional three performances. In The Face, Behind The Face, Behind The Face, a performing artist confronts the ups and downs and struggles of his life and career and is led to the conclusion that his voice and his music are the keys to his success. Gruppuso will perform 19 musical numbers including favorites from the Broadway canon, pop standards, lesser-known gems, and some brand-new material. Tickets: $20. For reservations call (323) 851-7977 or visit www.theatrewest.org.

    Angel City Chorale kicks off the holiday season with Joyful, Joyful, its 20th annual holiday concert and sing-along, taking place over two nights the first weekend of December on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8 at Wilshire United Methodist Church. The 160-member choir will perform its unique mix of Christmas and Chanukah favorites, as well as original compositions, in the group’s eclectic combination of styles ranging from classical to pop, incorporating contemporary, world, and gospel beats. Both performances start at 7pm. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, with discounts for students and seniors. Wilshire United Methodist Church is located at 4350 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010. For more info visit www.angelcitychorale.org or call 310-943-9231.

    BENEFITS:Co-Producers Juliana Hansen and Jonathan White will present a one night only benefit performance, One Starry Night: Hollywood and Broadway Come Together to Fight ALS, on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 at 8 pm, hosted by The Pasadena Playhouse. The evening will also include a silent auction and VIP post-show meet-and-greet. Proceeds will provide critical funding for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter’s mission priorities in care services, public policy, and cutting-edge global research toward treatments and cure. Directed by Bruce Kimmel, with musical direction and orchestrations by Richard Allen, the evening will feature performances by Obba Babatunde, James Barbour, Kay Cole, Daisy Eagan, Crow Garrett, Jason Graae, Ilene Graff, Juliana Hansen, Melora Hardin, Jean Louisa Kelly, Jason and Nolan Livesay, Gary Morgan and The Flying Morgans, Karen Morrow, James Mulligan, Reagan Pasternak, Jonathan Pendragon, Christy Carlson Romano, Joan Ryan, Rex Smith, Charlene Tilton, and Terri White, with more to be announced. Tickets range from $25 - $100, with premium seating available at $250. The VIP post-show meet and greet is available for an additional $75. To purchase online go to www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org/onestarrynight or call (626) 356-7529.

    Not a musical but here’s another one that benefits a very good cause: Zombie Joes Underground Theatre Groupproudly presents the world premiere of Jeri Batzdorff's sweet and zany “pre-holiday” dramedy Bob Hopes Birthday, about a grandmother with Alzheimer’s whose caregiver leaves suddenly, bringing reluctant family members together to care for her. Written and directed by Jeri Batzdorff.  A benefit for Alzheimer's research. Sundays at 7pm, Nov. 3 – 24 at ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Tickets are $15, For reservations call (818) 202- 4120 or go to www.ZombieJoes.com.

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    The 24th Annual LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, celebrating theatrical excellence and achievement during the 2013 season, were presented on Sunday, November 3 at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse Thirty-five awards were bestowed upon 13 different Southern California theatre companies.

    Thirty-five awards were bestowed upon 13 different Southern California theatre companies. Leading the pack with 12 was Center Theatre Group (seven for The Nether at the Kirk Douglas Theatre; three for Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Mark Taper Forum; one for The Scottsboro Boys at the Ahmanson Theatre; and one for The Royale at the Kirk Douglas Theatre). CTG was followed by 3-D Theatricals with five awards (four for Parade and one for Shrek the Musical). The Chance Theater and La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts took home three awards each (including Best Season for La Mirada); Circle X Theatre Company, the Fountain Theatre, and the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble tied with two each.

    BEST SEASON
    LA MIRADA THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS 
    Boeing Boeing 
    Jekyll & Hyde 
    Next to Normal 
    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers 
    Spring Awakening

    BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY (INTIMATE THEATRE)
    DYING CITY 
    Rogue Machine

    BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY (LARGE THEATRE) 
    JOE TURNER‘S COME AND GONE 
    Center Theatre Group

     BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL (INTIMATE THEATRE)
    TRIASSIC PARQ - THE MUSICAL 
    The Chance Theater

    BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL (LARGE THEATRE)
    PARADE 
    3-D Theatricals

    BEST PRESENTED PRODUCTION
    THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS 
    Center Theatre Group

    ACTING ENSEMBLE FOR A PLAY
    The Cast of JOE TURNER‘S COME AND GONE 
    Center Theatre Group

    ACTING ENSEMBLE OF A MUSICAL
    The Cast of PARADE 
    3-D Theatricals

    CHOREOGRAPHY
    Ameenah Kaplan 
    THE ROYALE 
    Center Theatre Group

    MUSIC DIRECTION
    Taylor Stephenson 
    TRIASSIC PARQ - THE MUSICAL 
    The Chance Theater 

    BOOK FOR AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL
    Jim Leonard 
    BAD APPLES 
    Circle X Theatre Company

    LYRICS/MUSIC FOR AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL
    Rob Cairns, Jim Leonard and Beth Thornley 
    BAD APPLES 
    Circle X Theatre Company

    PLAYWRIGHTING FOR AN ORIGINAL PLAY
    Jennifer Haley 
    THE NETHER 
    Center Theatre Group

    DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
    Brian Kite 
    SPRING AWAKENING 
    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
    2013 

    DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
    Shirley Jo Finney 
    IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER 
    Fountain Theatre

    LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
    Jeff Skowron as Leo Frank 
    PARADE 
    3-D Theatricals

    LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
    Beth Malone as Milly 
    SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS 
    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

    LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY
    Glynn Turman as Bynum Walker 
    JOE TURNER‘S COME AND GONE 
    Center Theatre Group

    LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY
    Gigi Bermingham as Maria Callas 
    MASTER CLASS 
    International City Theatre

    FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
    Rufus Bonds, Jr. as Jim Conley 
    PARADE 
    3-D Theatricals

    FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
    Kellie Spill as T-Rex 2 
    TRIASSIC PARQ - THE MUSICAL 
    The Chance Theater

    FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
    Dakin Matthews as Doyle 
    THE NETHER 
    Center Theatre Group

    FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
    Brighid Fleming as Iris 
    THE NETHER 
    Center Theatre Group

    LIGHTING DESIGN (INTIMATE THEATRE)
    Jeremy Pivnick 
    CASSIOPEIA 
    The Theatre @ Boston Court

    LIGHTING DESIGN (LARGE THEATRE)
    Christopher Kuhl 
    THE NETHER 
    Center Theatre Group

    SCENIC DESIGN (INTIMATE THEATRE)
    Tom Walsh 
    ANNAPURNA 
    Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

    SCENIC DESIGN (LARGE THEATRE)
    Adrian Jones 
    THE NETHER 
    Center Theatre Group

    SOUND DESIGN (INTIMATE THEATRE)
    John Zalewski 
    THEATRE IN THE DARK 
    Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

    SOUND DESIGN (LARGE THEATRE)
    John Zalewski 
    THE NETHER 
    Center Theatre Group

    COSTUME DESIGN (INTIMATE THEATRE)
    Michael Mullen 
    DREAMGIRLS 
    DOMA Theatre Company

    COSTUME DESIGN (LARGE THEATRE)
    Alex Jaeger 
    THE NETHER 

    COMPOSITION FOR A PLAY
    Michael Redfield, 
    WALKING THE TIGHTROPE
    24th Street Theatre

    FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY
    Ken Merckx
    CYMBELINE
    A Noise Within

    PUPPET DESIGN
    Derek Lux and 
    Christian Anderson 
    SHREK THE MUSICAL
    3-D Theatricals

    VIDEO DESIGN
    Jeffrey Elias Teeter 
    ON THE SPECTRUM 
    Fountain Theatre

    For more information go to www.lastagealliance.com. Congratulations all!

    The ceremony was hosted by Michael McKean, and this year’s celebrity presenters included Ed Begley Jr., Erich Bergen, Amy Brenneman, Charlie Carver, Keith David, Barrett Foa, Val Kilmer, Sharon Lawrence, Wendie Malick,  Melissa Manchester, Ana Ortiz, Cathy Rigby, Jason Ritter, Susan Sullivan, and Steven Weber. They were joined by many local performers, city officials, union reps, artistic, managing, and executive directors, and other artistic personnel representing the wide and varied Los Angeles theatre community.

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    Zachary Ford as Dr. Frankenstein and Danny Blaylock as the Monster.
    Photos by Caught in the Moment Photography

    A big, splashy Mel Brooks musical has arrived in Long Beach and Musical Theatre West has created a monster of a good time to go with it. It’s Young Frankenstein, and this luscious regional premiere stars a terrifically talented cast, featuring Susan Stroman’s original direction and choreography recreated by Lauren Kadel. The combination is a high-energy recipe for fabulous that, like the lightning flashes that open the show, keeps the stream of jokes, sight gags, and song & dance specialties clipping along at a dazzling pace.

    The Producers may have made Mel Brooks a Tony Award-winning commercial success on Broadway but it is Young Frankenstein, his follow-up musical, that really scores big with fans…especially those who grew up on the 1974 black & white film written by Brooks and Gene Wilder on which it is based.

    The musical adaptation, by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, contains all the best quotables, like “What hump?” “What knockers!” “Walk this way” and “Put…the candle…back.” Several famous lines have even spawned complete songs to support their silliness. Inga’s “Roll in the Hay” and Frau Blücher’s “He Vas My Boyfriend” are two of the best, while Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ On the Ritz” remains the Broadway baby coming out number for Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster, accompanied by a sophisticated tap ensemble in top hats and tails.

    Classic jokes, like the horses whinnying every time Frau Blücher’s name is spoken and the scene where the Hermit pours hot soup in the Monster’s lap before lighting his thumb on fire instead of his cigar, instantly satisfy whether or not you’ve ever seen the film. It’s all one big campy transference of fun – Brooks style – served up with plenty of bawdy humor and innuendo, that never apologizes for being anything but a good time.

    In comedy it’s all about the timing and Young Frankenstein’s cast has it down to a science. Zachary Ford and Ben Liebert are Dr. Frederick Frankenstein and Igor, buddies who find themselves “Together Again for the First Time” following in the footsteps of their infamous ancestors. Ford makes the transition from mild-mannered, eccentric professor to full-blown mad scientist by channeling Gene Wilder when necessary and uses his own brand of quirky charm to create Herr Doctor the rest of the time. He spits out patter in “The Brain” with incredible precision and plays the straight man to every comic actor in the show beautifully. And when he needs to be funny, he is.

    Liebert takes on the role of Igor, stepping into the shoes of the incomparable Marty Feldman like he was his twin. It is a priceless moment when he drops the brain he’s been sent to fetch for the experiment. The resulting anticipation to the upcoming “Abby Normal” scene lingers in the air until he pulls up a floor and admits to the substitution. In a sea of leggy dancers and tall, beautiful characters, he is the pint-sized comedy capper you can’t get enough of.

    A trio of talented ladies are paired with Ford to create three uniquely comical relationships. As his self-absorbed girlfriend, Elizabeth, Rebecca Ann Jonson gets her laughs from her almost maniacal insistence that he doesn’t touch her while nubile Andi Davis plays up her innocence as his sexy assistant Inga, ready and willing to provide the goods that Elizabeth won’t. Tracy Lore is the hilarious housekeeper who will give you nightmares at the thought of her late night trysts with Frankenstein’s grandfather, Victor (John Racca). All have impeccable comic timing. 

    Danny Blaylock’s Monster finds plenty of laughs as the answer to The Hermit’s (Jeffrey Rockwell) prayer “Please Send Me Someone,” although the friendship is destined to end after only one meal. He also works some pretty impressive dance magic in his big specialty number featuring a larger than life dancing shadow, one of the many inventive dance numbers that trade on Stromans smart, creative mind.

    Matching the well-tuned direction and choreography is musical director Corey Hirsch’s clarity in the musical department. The singers and orchestra sound divine, know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, and do it. Effortlessly. Comically. Nothing feels forced.

    A Broadway blockbuster from beginning to end, the show is also packaged as a blockbuster technically, with all of its moving parts happily working in harmony. So many shows in town get the sound all wrong making it difficult to hear what’s going on onstage or over-compensating for weaknesses in the production. You’ll find none of those issues here, with Brian S. Hsieh’s sound design a dynamic mix of well-timed effects that serve to enhance the actors’ comedy. Robin Wagner’s scenic design and Jean-Yves Tessier’s lighting create everything from the Transylvanian Alps to a dark underground laboratory thats full of surprises and William Ivey Long’s costumes are a delicious mix that provide opportunities for humor as well.

    Young Frankenstein - the best ticket in town for guaranteed fun and frolic will continue in Long Beach through November 17. When a show like this comes together just right, you want to be there to enjoy the view...or to at least to see this behemoth of a monster come alive.

    Zachary Ford and Rebecca Ann Johnson

    Zachary Ford, Ben Liebert and Andi Davis

    Andi Davis, Zachary Ford, Ben Liebert and Tracy Lore

    Ben Liebert as Igor

    Danny Blaylock and Jeffrey Rockwell

    Andi Davis, Zachary Ford, Danny Blaylock, Ben Liebert, Tracy Lore
     and the cast of Young Frankenstein


    Zachary Ford and the cast of Young Frankenstein

    YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN
    Musical Theatre West

    Nov. 1 - 17, 2013
    Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center
    6200 East Atherton Street, Long Beach, CA 90815
    Tickets: www.musical.orgor (562) 856-1999 x 4 

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    OPENINGS:  Falcon Theatre is proud to present Troubadour Theater Company’s Walkin’ in a Winter One-Hit-Wonderland, directed by Matt Walker, as its holiday production Dec. 4 – Jan. 19, with opening night set for Friday, Dec. 13. This holiday cabaret “clip show” will feature one of the Troubies’ most beloved characters, Winter Warlock, who takes a walk down memory lane while crooning some chart-topping “one-hit-wonders” with his holiday friends. ‘Tis the season for fun and reflection, so head on down to the Falcon to hear the incredible story of the tallest Troubie this side of town. Tickets go on sale Nov. 13. Call (818) 955-8101 or go to www.FalconTheatre.com.

    Laguna Playhouse has announced the cast and creative team for A Christmas Memory, featuring book by Duane Poole, music by Larry Grossman, lyrics by Carol Hall, musical direction by Darryl Archibald and directed by Ovation Award-winner Nick DeGruccio. The cast will feature Tracy Lore, Ciaran McCarthy, Ton Shelton, Wills Spangler, Marsha Waterbury and Siena Yusi, with Pickle as “Queenie” the Dog. The design team includes D. Martyn Bookwalter (scenic design), Steven Young (lighting design), Bruce Goodrich (costume design), Phil Allen (sound design), and Don Hill (production stage manager).

    A Christmas Memory is a tender portrait of a rare friendship across the generations with a musical score that will bring love and light to everyone’s hearts for the holiday season.  Set in 1933 in rural Alabama, young Buddy is being raised by three eccentric cousins. He is closest to his elderly cousin Sook, still a child herself in many ways, and as Christmas nears, she and Buddy gather ingredients to bake holiday fruitcakes for those who've had a memorable impact on their lives in the past year. Sook’s sister Jennie is concerned that the time Buddy spends with Sook will cause him to grow up soft. Enlisting the aid of their bachelor-brother Seabon, she plots to separate the best friends for their own good. The show runs Dec 29 with opening night set for Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 pm. www.lagunaplayhouse.com

    A Christmas Carol adapted, directed and choreographed by Christina Harris opens at Sierra Madre Playhouse Nov. 29 and will run through Dec. 23. According to Ms. Harris, new touches for this year’s production include “costumes in a muted pallet that more closely resemble that of Dickensian clothing, vs. bright colorful costumes of the past. The set is no longer the faux backdrop of a Dickens street, but rather a manipulated space to create atmosphere that has an implied and whimsical feel to it. The sound, by John Zalewski, an extremely prolific sound designer, will create a whole new score to the show to enhance the story. The heart of the story is still there, peppered with wonderful music sung by our cast - but I have added a couple of new scenes, including one in which we meet Scrooge’s father to give us a clearer picture of who Scrooge was and how he became so hard.” 

    The cast includes Jolie Adamson, Anthony Bravo, Andrew Byer, MarLee Candell, Cadence Cole, Melody Cole, Jessie Ellico Franks, Georgan George, Mary Harmon, Scott Harris, Matthew Herrmann, Ranya Jaber, Zayd Jaber, Randy Wade Kelley, Kelly Kitko, Alison Lani, Amelia Maschek, Karl Maschek, Lisa Musser, Hector S. Quintana, Dale Sandlin, Olivia Schlueter-Corey and Tim Stafford. A gala champagne reception and light buffet follows the Friday, Nov. 29 performance. Tickets: (626) 355-4318 or www.sierramadreplayhouse.org

    AUDITIONS: Performance Riverside is holding auditions for SPAMALOT directed by Gary Krinkle, Dec. 8 & 9 at 7pm in Tech 107 on the RCC City Campus in Riverside. Lovingly ripped off the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot re-tells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table and features a bevy of beautiful show girls, cows, killer rabbits and French people. Did we mention the bevy of beautiful show girls? AEA Contract Tier 2 Guest Artist plus pay for non-union TBD. Rehearsals are Jan. 12 – Feb 16, 2014 in Riverside and the show opens Feb. 7. For a complete breakdown of roles go to www.performanceriverside.org. For more information call (951) 222-8399.

    Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks is holding auditions for In the Heights, featuring the original Tony Award-winning choreography of Andy Blankenbuehler, recreated by the show’s dance captain, Morgan Marcell, who will also direct the production. Darryl Archibald will musical direct and lead the Cabrillo Music Theatre Orchestra. The production will be supervised by Cabrillo’s artistic director, Lewis Wilkenfeld

    In the Heights runs March 28 – April 6, 2014. Rehearsals begin February 17 for non-Equity performers, and March 3 for Equity performers. All roles are open, and all roles are open to Non-Equity talent. 3 Equity contracts are still available, to be cast from among the following roles: Usnavi, Nina, Kevin, Camilla, Abuela Claudia, and Daniela. There is pay for all roles for age 18 and up. Although they encourage all ethnicities to attend the auditions, they are looking for actors who can play Latino. The look is specific for this show, and will be a consideration during casting.

    Cast limited to age 16 and above. Please bring picture and resume, and sheet music in the proper key, accompanist provided. Music in the style of show is strongly encouraged. No recorded music or a capella, please. Non-union please limit song to one minute. Note: Those auditioning for Graffiti Pete and ensemble dancers should attend a dance call, rather than a singing appointment. Dates:

    Thousand Oaks Auditions
    Hillcrest Center for the Arts, 403 W. Hillcrest, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
    Principal and Singing Appointments:
    Sunday, Nov. 10 – 1:00 -5:00 pm
    Tuesday, Nov. 12 – 4:00 -11:00 pm
    Dancers’ Call for all dance roles:  
    Sunday, Nov. 10 – 6:00 pm

    Los Angeles Auditions 
    Madilyn Clark Studios, 10852 Burbank Blvd., N. Hollywood, CA 91601 
    A.E.A. Principal Appointments:
    Monday, Nov. 11 – 10:15 am -1:00 pm
    Dancers’ Call for all dance roles:
    Monday, Nov. 11 at 2:30 pm

    All roles are open. All auditions are by appointment only. To schedule an audition, please call (805) 497-8614 x 3. When leaving a message, please include your name, role(s) for which you’d like to be considered, telephone number, and whether or not you’re a member of Actors’ Equity Assn. Please also leave your preferred date/time for audition.  Callbacks to take place on November 14, 18, & 19, and are by invitation only. Click here for complete breakdown of roles and information about an audition-preparatory Master Class, given by Morgan Marcell. 

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    MUSICALS: The Tony Award-winning musical NEWSIES will play an exclusive 4-week premiere engagement at Hollywood Pantages during the 2014-15 season. NEWSIES is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers. The stage version introduces seven brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” “King of New York” and “Santa Fe.” Information regarding engagement dates and how to purchase 2014-2015 season tickets, single tickets and groups will be announced at a later time. For information or to register for advance ticket access notifications, visit www.NEWSIESTheMusical.com/Tour.

    The Pasadena Playhouse has announced that STONEFACE, originally part of its 2013-2014 season and then postponed, has been reinstated, with its original star French Stewart in the performance of a lifetime. It is now scheduled to close the Playhouse’s season, June 3 - 29, 2014. Chronicled through the lens of his own silent films, STONEFACE recreates some of Buster Keaton’s most memorable gags live on stage, capturing the legend of a bygone era and telling the tale of the redemption of one of Hollywood’s greatest performers. It follows a successful engagement at Sacred Fools Theatre Company in 2012. Tickets are currently available with a 2013 – 2014 Season purchase; single tickets will be available at a later date. Call 626-356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse box office. For more information, visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

    Move over A Christmas Carol, Christmas is coming to town with 30 Minute Musical’s version of Home Alone starring Tom Lenk. The fast and furious romp features original songs and choreography, and clocks in at a breathtaking 30 minutes (not including time held for laughter). Premiering with Home Alone, is The Holiday Mashup, 30 Minute Musical’s take on a Christmas Special. Selections from Gremlins, Die Hard, Batman Returns, Citizen Kane, Steel Magnolias, and more all get the 30 Minute Musical treatment. Featuring: Chaz Bono, Brooke Seguin, Clayton Farris, JD Barton, Joey Acuna, KC Lindley, Lauren Leigh Barker, Lindsay Wray, Natalie Cook, Preston Lorio, Samantha Scanlan, Sarah Schrieber, Sean Persaud, Todd Masterson, Tom DeTrinis, and Tom Lenk. December 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 at 8pm at The Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information go to www.brownpapertickets.com/event/513439.

    Macha Theatre presents a revival of Marilyn – My Secret written by Willard Manus and Odalys Nanin, directed and produced by Odalys Nanin. This dramedy with music chronicles the life of Norma Jean from unwanted orphan, to bit player, to sex goddess including the untold story of Marilyn’s affairs with both female and male lovers – from her acting coach to the president of the United States. The show opens Saturday, November 16 at 8pm and runs through December 21. Note: There is Nudity. Cast includes Jennifer Lana Harper and Erin Gavin alternating as Marilyn, Hayley Farrell and Serah Henesey alternating as Lily St. Cyr, Merri Jamison and Lori Allen Thomas alternating as Natasha Lytess/Paula Strasberg, and Sean McCracken as Bobby Kennedy/Verge/MC. Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood 90069. Tickets: www.machatheatre.org or (323) 969-7482.


    The GLEE Season 5 Christmas episode will air Thursday, December 5 on FOX. Check out this video footage of Rachel (Lea Michele), Kurt (Chris Colfer), and Santana (Naya Rivera) performing “Here Comes Santa Claus” at the Burbank Town Center mall in L.A. on November 7.

    MUSICAL THEATRE WRITERS:The 2014 ASCAP/DreamWorks Musical Theatre Workshop directed by Stephen Schwartz will takes place in Los Angeles February 11, 12, 13, 2014 at DreamWorks Studios. Please submit the following: (Submissions will not be returned): 
    * CD of four (4) songs from your musical 
    * Lyric sheets for each of the 4 songs 
    * A brief description of each song as to its plot placement 
    * A brief synopsis of the musical. 
    * Biographical information for each composer, lyricist & book writer. 
    * Contact information (Email address, phone number, and mailing address) 
    Send your package to
    Michael A. Kerker , ASCAP/DreamWorks Musical Theatre Workshop, ASCAP, 1 Lincoln Plaza, New York, NY 10023. Submissions must be received in the ASCAP office by Tuesday, November 26, 2013. PLEASE NOTE: 
    1) Submit 4 songs only. If you send us a full recording, we will only listen to the first 4 songs. 
    2) Submissions do not need to be produced in a studio. We are looking for talent and potential, not production values. 
    3) If your musical is selected, you will need to present 50 consecutive minutes from the musical at the workshop. The 50-minute selection must include book and songs. 
    4) Those who have been accepted to present material in the workshop will receive a phone call by Friday, January 3rd, 2014. 
    5) Those who will be invited to audit the workshop will receive an email invitation. 
    6) Please do not call to ask if you have been selected. 
    QUESTIONS: Call 212-621-6264. Note: The workshop is being held in Los Angeles, but submissions are sent to the New York Address.

    AWARDS: The Nederlander Organization and Hollywood Pantages have extended an invitation to high schools in the greater L.A. area to participate in the 3rd Annual Jerry Herman Awards, to be held Sunday June 1, 2014 at Hollywood Pantages in Los Angeles. This is a local celebration dedicated to recognizing, encouraging, and rewarding achievements and excellence in high school musical theatre and the local award ceremony for The National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as The Jimmy’s™, which will take place at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway in New York City on Monday June 30, 2014. Every year two students are sent to New York to represent Los Angeles at The Jimmy’s to participate in a week long workshop and compete for the coveted Jimmy Award, named after the owner of the Hollywood Pantages: James M. Nederlander. Authorized High School representatives may still register their musical theatre productions for consideration by visiting www.JerryHermanAwards.com and filling out the participation form. Good luck!

    OPEN HOUSE:LA Stage Alliance is holding an Open House, Saturday, December from 2 - 5pm at its brand new LA Stage Space. This spring, LA Stage Alliance moved its offices from Downtown LA to Atwater Village in order to create LA STAGE Space - a collaborative center for performing artists in Southern California and this is the official opening. There’s a parking lot to the west of the building and ample free street parking. The event is free but RSVPs are encouraged Here. Come celebrate, mingle, snack, and toast. And learn more about LA Stage Space, the Warehouse Co-Op partnership. LA Stage Space, 4200 W. Chevy Chase Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90039.

    FUNDRAISERS: Come see the YADA Staff  Benefit Show, Beauty & the Beast on November 22 & 23 at 7:30 pm. All proceeds from ticket sales go toward the YADA scholarship fund, which helps approximately 100 students attend YADA who would otherwise not be able to attend. YADA, 8115 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Click Here for tickets or call (323) 655-9233.
    A Noise Within announces its annual family-friendly fundraising gala, Fezziwig’s Festive Holiday Tea! Catered by Peggy Dark & The Kitchen for Exploring Foods, this classic British Tea will feature whimsical twists on sweet and savory delights, champagne and, of course, steaming pots of hot tea. The holiday event will also include a live and paddle auction hosted by NBC4’s resident weatherman, Fritz Coleman, followed by a performance of A Noise Within’s original production of A Christmas Carol, based on Charles Dickens’ universal tale of forgiveness. Now in its second year, Fezziwig’s Festive Holiday Tea! will be held inside A Noise Within’s state-of-the-art theatre and will be replete with actors dressed in Fezziwig’s festive costumes, greeting the tea guests. All proceeds from Fezziwig’s Festive Holiday Tea! directly support Classics Live! - ANW’s core education program, which serves more than 12,000 Southern California students each year. Individual adult and youth tickets, as well as adult tables and family tables (for children and adults) are available. Tickets: www.anoisewithin.org/holidaytea.

    Save the Date for STAGE Goes to the Movies, a benefit for AIDS Project Los Angeles, Saturday, May 10, 2014 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. S.T.A.G.E. is the longest-running benefit for AIDS worldwide. In its decades-long history, more than 300 stars of Broadway, film, and television have performed music from the Great White Way while raising millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS organizations in the Los Angeles area. This year’s 30th Anniversary Spectacular will present music from the world of cinema performed by an All Star Cast.

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    Looking for a way to get into the holiday spirit? Check out this list of options to help you have a festive month and bookmark this page for handy reference. From Los Angeles to San Diego, Ventura to Riverside, you're sure to find just the right way to celebrate the season. Theres something for everyone! (To be updated with new shows as announced).

    Musicals/Plays/Stage Shows/Events


    *30 MM: Home Alone and The Holiday Mashup
    December 6 – 22
    Hudson Backstage Theatre
    www.brownpapertickets.com/event/513439

    *54th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration
    December 24 (3 - 6 pm)
    Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center
    www.HolidayCelebration.orgFREE

    *A Christmas Carol
    December 7 – 22
    A Noise Within
    www.anoisewithin.org

    *A Christmas Carol
    November 30 - December 22
    Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group
    http://zombiejoes.tix.com/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=4552

    *A Christmas Carol
    November 29 – December 24
    Glendale Centre Theatre
    www.glendalecentretheatre.com

    *A Christmas Carol
    December 7 - 15
    Lewis Family Playhouse
    www.lewisfamilyplayhouse.com

    *A Christmas Carol
    December 20 – 22 
    Long Beach Shakespeare Company
    www.lbshakespeare.org/show.php?id=15

    *A Christmas Carol
    Sierra Madre Playhouse
    Nov. 29- Dec. 23
    www.sierramadreplayhouse.org

    *A Christmas Carol
    November 30 – December 27
    South Coast Repertory
    www.scr.org/calendar/view?id=6337

    *A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens
    December 8 – 29
    Kirk Douglas Theatre
    www.centertheatregroup.org/tickets/A-Christmas-Carol-Twist-Your-Dickens/

    *A Christmas Carol with Charles Dickens
    December 5 - 22
    Independent Shakespeare Co.
    www.iscla.org

    *A Christmas Memory
    December 3 – 29
    Laguna Playhouse
    www.lagunaplayhouse.com

    *A Rubicon Family Christmas
    November 29 – December 8
    Rubicon Theatre, Ventura
    www.rubicontheatre.org

    *A Sinatra Christmas
    November 29 – December 29
    Encore Dinner Theatre
    http://encoredinnertheatre.com/shows/a-sinatra-christmas/

    *A Snowman’s Chance In Hell and Other Heartwarming Humbugs

    December 6 - 29

    The Mirror Theatre Company

    *A Tuna Christmas
    December 6 - 15
    Actors Co-op
    http://actorsco-op.org/

    *Aladdin and His Winter Wish
    December 11 – 29
    Pasadena Playhouse
    www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

    *Babes in Toyland for Toddlers
    November 30 - January 4
    Creating Arts Company, Miles Playhouse
    www.creatingarts.org

    *Because It’s Christmas
    November 30 – December 28
    Candlelight Pavilion
    www.candlelightpavilion.com

    *Bobs Holiday Office Party
    Pico Playhouse
    Dec.4- Dec. 22
    www.brownpapertickets.com/event/467753

    *Christmas 2
    November 23 – December 22
    SkyPilot Theatre Company
    http://skypilottheatre.com/

    *Christmas Is…
    December 7 - 21
    Haugh Performing Arts Center
    www.haughpac.com

    *Downtown Culver City Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration
    December 5
    Downtown Culver City in Town Plaza
    www.downtownculvercity.com FREE

    *Downtown Culver City’s Third Wednesday 
    Neighborhood-Wide “Holiday” Happy Hour
    December 18 (5 – 9 pm)
    www.downtownculvercity.comFREE

    *Dr. Pinch's Holiday Spectacular
    December 15
    Independent Shakespeare Co.
    www.iscla.org

    *Dysfunctional Family Christmas
    November 30 - December 21
    BrickHouse Theatre
    www.christmasfarce.com 

    *Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some)
    November 8 - December 14
    Little Fish Theatre
    www.littlefishtheatre.org

    *Fezziwig’s Festive Holiday Tea
    December 8
    A Noise Within
    www.anoisewithin.org

    *Fiesta Navidad
    December 15
    Caminos Flamencos at The Fountain Theatre
    www.fountaintheatre.com

    *Fiesta Navideñas: A Mexican Holiday Spectacular
    December 21
    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts 
    www.lamiradatheatre.com/posada.htm

    *Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings
    December 7 - 22
    Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center
    www.simi-arts.org

    *Holiday Spectacular
    November 9, 2013 - January 5, 2014
    Bob Baker Marionette Theater 
    http://bobbakermarionettes.com/

    *Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
    December 6 – 15, 2013
    Norris Center for the Performing Arts
    http://norriscenter.com/

    *Its a Wonderful Life
    November 29 - December 22
    Canyon Theatre Guild
    http://canyontheatre.org/

    *It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
    November 8 – December 14
    Kentwood Players
    www.kentwoodplayers.org 

    *It’s a Wonderful Life – a live radio play
    November 29 – December 29
    STAGEStheatre
    www.stagesoc.org/

    *KAWL Presents It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play for the Stage
    December 5 - 21
    The Belfry Stage Upstairs at the Crown
    www.theatreunleashed.com

    *La Virgen De Guadulupe, Dios Inantzin
    December 4 – 5
    LATC at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
    www.thelatc.org FREE

    *Ladybird 
    December 7 – 15
    24th STreet Theatre’s Teatro del Pueblo 
    www.24thstreet.org 

    *Little Miss Scrooge
    December 18 – 23
    Rubicon Theatre, Ventura
    www.rubicontheatre.org

    *Madeline’s Christmas
    December 6 – 15
    Theatre 360
    www.theatre360.org

    *Merry F***ing Christmas, YAll
    The Eclectic Company Theatre
    December 6 – January 5, 2014
    www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org

    *Miracle on South Division Street
    November 6 - December 26
    Colony Theatre
    www.colonytheatre.org

    *Miracle on South Division Street
    November 6 - December 26
    Colony Theatre
    www.colonytheatre.org

    *Mom's Gift
    December 6 – January 19
    The Group Rep
    www.thegrouprep.com

    *Mr. Potcher’s Holiday
    November 30 – December 14
    Kentwood Players
    www.kentwoodplayers.org 

    *Rented Christmas the Musical
    December 6 – 21
    Covina Center for the Performing Arts
    www.covinacenter.com

    *Santa and the Snowflake
    A Family Friendly Holiday Show
    December 6 – 22 
    Casa 0101
    www.casa0101.org

    *SANTASIA – A Holiday Comedy  
    December 6 – 24
    Whitefire Theatre
    www.santasia.com

    *Supernatural Dark Christmas
    December 7 - 29
    Encore Theatre
    http://encoretheatre.com/ 

    *The Eight: Reindeer Monologues
    December 5 – 21
    Complex Theatre
    www.alliancerepertory.org   

    *The Eight: Reindeer Monologues
    December 3 – 22
    Chance Theater
    www.chancetheater.com

    *The Elves and the Shoemaker
    November 30 - December 24
    West Valley Playhouse
    www.wvplayhouse.com
    *The Game’s Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays
    December 5 - 14
    Shakespeare in the Vines

    www.shakespeareinthevines.org

    *The Gift of the Magi
    November 29 - December 15
    Long Beach Shakespeare Company
    http://lbshakespeare.org/

    *The Holiday Gem!
    November 29 – December 21
    The Gem Theatre
    www.onemoreproductions.com

    *The Latina Christmas Special
    December 12 - 21
    Theatre Asylum - Elephant Space
    www.theatreasylum-la.com

    *The Queen Family's Very Special Holiday Special
    December 6  January 4
    The Actors Gang
    www.theactorsgang.com 

    *Walkin’ in a One-Hit Winter Wonderland
    December 4, 2013 – January 19, 2014
    The Troubies @ The Falcon Theatre
    www.falcontheatre.com

    *Yes, Virginia There Is a Santa Claus: A Mini-Musical
    December 1 - January 5
    Creating Arts Company, Miles Playhouse
    www.creatingarts.org

    Cabaret/Concerts

    *A Chanticleer Christmas
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    December 20
    www.laphil.com/tickets/chanticleer-christmas/2013-12-20

    *A Charlie Brown Christmas with David Benoit
    December 12
    Fred Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks
    http://toaks.org/cap/tickets/events/event.asp?eventID=2005

    *A Holiday Toast to Tinseltown
    December 6 – 8 
    Los Angeles Theatre Center
    http://lafollies.com/holiday

    *A Judy Collins Christmas
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    December 17
    www.laphil.com/tickets/judy-collins-christmas/2013-12-17

    *A Kritzerland Christmas III
    December 1
    Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal
    www.msapr.net/Sterling-s-at-The-Federal.html

    *Baroque Conversations
    December 5
    Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
    Zipper Hall
    www.laco.org

    *Christmas Caburlesque: Holidays at the Knock Shop!
    December 6 - 22
    Archway Theatre
    http://archwayla.com/Caburlesque.html

    *Festival of Carols
    December 7 & 14
    Los Angeles Master Chorale
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    www.lamc.org

    *Handel: Messiah
    December 15 & 22
    Los Angeles Master Chorale
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    www.lamc.org

    *Handels Messiah Sing-Along
    November 24
    Handel Society Chorus and Orchestra

    www.messiahsing.org

    *Holiday Candlelight with the Pasadena Symphony
    December 14
    All Saints Church
    www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org 

    *Holiday Sing-Along with Julie Andrews
    December 21
    The Music Center
    www.laphil.com/tickets/holiday-sing-along/2013-12-21

    *Holiday Spectacular - Festival of Carols
    December 14 & 15
    Gay Mens Chorus of Los Angeles
    www.gmcla.org

    *Hot Chocolate Nutcracker
    December 14 & 15
    UCLA’s Royce Hall
    www.thehotchocolatenutcracker.com

    *In the Holiday Mood with Dean Mora and his Orchestra
    December 18
    Colony Theatre
    www.colonytheatre.org 

    *Joyful, Joyful, Holiday Concert & Sing-Along
    December 7 & 8
    Angel City Chorale
    Wilshire United Methodist Church
    www.angelcitychorale.org

    *Los Angeles Children’s Chorus Winter Concert
    December 7 and 8
    Pasadena Presbyterian Church
    www.lachildrenschorus.org

    *Messiah Sing-Along (33rd Annual)
    December 11
    Los Angeles Master Chorale
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    www.lamc.org

    *Rejoice! A Ceremony of Carols
    December 8
    Los Angeles Master Chorale
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    www.lamc.org

    *Ryan Black’s 88’s Hollywood Holidays!
    Nov. 27, Dec 4, 11 & 18
    Don't Tell Mama
    www.facebook.com/ryanblacks88s 
    www.donttellmamaLA.comFREE

    *San Fernando Valley Male Chorus Holiday Concert
    December 11
    Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center
    www.simi-arts.org

    *Snow White Christmas
    December 6 & 7
    Men Alive, The Orange County Gay Mens Chorus
    www.menalivechorus.org

    *SPARKLE! An All-Star Holiday Concert
    December 13
    Acme Theatre
    http://bit.ly/SparkleLA2013

    *The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
    December 14
    Burbank Chorale at First United Methodist Church
    www.burbankchorale.org 

    *The Nutcracker with Gustavo Dudamel
    December 12 - 15
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    www.laphil.com/tickets/christmas-gustavo/2013-12-12

    *The Santaland Diaries
    December 6 – 7
    Rubicon Theatre
    www.rubicontheatre.org

    *The Songs of Christmas
    December 7
    Haugh Performing Arts Center
    http://tickets.haughpac.com/single/EventDetail.aspx?p=702

    *Thou Swell Noel 
    Starring Cortes Alexander and the Swell Girls
    December 23
    Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal
    www.msapr.net/Sterling-s-at-The-Federal.html

    San Diego Musicals/Plays

    *A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play
    November 29 – December 24
    Cygnet Theatre
    http://cygnettheatre.com

    *A Christmas Carol
    Solano Repertory Theatre
    December 7 - 22
    www.solanorep.com

    *A Welk Christmas Production
    November 21 – December 28
    Welk Resorts
    http://welkresorts.com/san-diego-theatre/schedule-of-shows/

    *Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas 
    November 16 – December 28
    The Old Globe
    www.theoldglobe.org

    *Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings
    November 23 - December 31
    New Village Arts Theatre
    www.newvillagearts.org 

    *Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
    December 12 - 22
    San Diego Musical Theatre
    www.sdmt.org

    *La Pastorela del Cielo
    December 12 - 22
    San Diego Rep at Lyceum Stage
    http://lyceumevents.org/ 

    *Mistletoe, Music and Mayhem
    December 5 - 15
    Ocean Beach Playhouse
    http://oceanbeachplayhouse.com/

    *Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge
    November 22 – December 22
    Patio Playhouse
    www.patioplayhouse.com/wp/

    *The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
    December 8 - 22
    AVO Playhouse, Vista
    www.broadwayvista.com/index_files/Page494.htm

    *The Nutcracker
    December 14 – 22
    San Diego Civic Theatre
    http://sandiegotheatres.org/

    Cabaret/Concerts

    *A Swinging Holiday Concert
    December 15
    Coastal Cities Jazz Band at
    Calvary Lutheran Church
    www.goldstar.com/events/solona-beach-ca/a-swinging-holiday-concert

    *Feliz Needemann
    December 5
    Martinis Above Fourth Table + Stage
    www.martinisabovefourth.com/calendars/felizneedemann/

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    MUSICALS: Rubicon Theatre in Ventura becomes Holiday Central this month with a sparkling array of more than 35 shows and events for all ages. Holiday Central launches on Friday, Nov. 29 with A Rubicon Family Christmas Concert, a musical revue of classic and contemporary songs-of-the-season conceived and directed by Brian McDonald and featuring Broadway stars along with a chorus of talented young singers. The production continues through Dec. 8. Also on the schedule is Little Miss Scrooge, a lovely new musical that sets the love story from Great Expectations and the ghost story from A Christmas Carol against the backdrop of the small town, recession-hit Pickwick, Ohio. Created by Paul Gordon, Sam Caird and John Caird, it runs Dec. 18 - 23 and features a cast of 15, including Rebecca Ann Johnson and Andrew Samonsky. Rubicon’s downstairs rehearsal room will also be magically transformed into Santa’s Village, and Rubicon elves will help arrange family photos with Santa, Frosty and Rudolph (bring cameras!). On the weekends, a professional caroling group (The Tinseltones) will appear in Dickensian costumes to serenade visitors, and Rubicon’s Merry Elves will perform 30-minute Tiny Tots concerts. A holiday boutique in the Village will feature one-of-a-kind, hand-made gifts by local artists, and gift certificates for tickets to Rubicon season shows will be available for purchase. For more information and a complete list of shows, call (805) 667-2900 or go to www.rubicontheatre.org.

    The Norris Center for the Performing Arts is celebrating the spirit of the season with the sparkling holiday musical, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Dec. 6 – 15. Based on the classic 1954 film starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, this lavish romantic comedy is an all-singing, all-dancing evening of theatre that includes many of the greatest songs ever written, and even a live snowfall on stage. The illustrious Irving Berlin score includes such timeless songs as “Blue Skies,” “Sisters,” “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” “Snow” and “White Christmas.” The production features a cast of 24 performers and stars Brent Schindele as Bob Wallace, David Lamoureux as Phil Davis, Gail Ellen Bennett as Betty Haynes, Tro Shaw as Judy Haynes, Polly Seale as Martha Watson, Michael Prohaska as General Waverly and Ashley Reynolds as Susan Waverly. The show is produced by James Gruessing and directed by Randy Brenner, with choreography by Kami Seymour and musical direction by Daniel Thomas. Tickets: www.norriscenter.com

    Chance Theater presents The Secret Garden – The Musical with book and lyrics by Marsha Norman, music by Lucy Simon, and directed by Casey Long and KC Wilkerson, Nov. 29 – Dec. 29. The enchanting classic is based on the popular novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Orphaned in India, an 11 year old girl returns to Yorkshire to live with an embittered, reclusive uncle and his invalid son. Her own personality blossoms as she and a young gardener bring new life to a neglected garden. This Tony Award winner is a treasure for children and adults alike. The cast includes Jillian Batt, Lindsey Campbell, Stanton Kane Morales, resident artist Laura M. Hathaway, James McHale, Brandon Sanchez, Ashley Arlene Nelson, Holden Ergdorf, Rachel McLaughlan, Robert Parkison, resident artist Sherry Domerego, Richard Comeau, Miguel Cardenas, Eloise Coopersmith, Katie Brown, John Scoggins and Jonathan Widen. Tickets: www.chancetheater.com 


    The Academy for New Musical Theatre presents a Concert Reading of the new musical City of Light Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30pm at the Colony Theatre, Burbank. The romantic musical comedy has a book by Gabrielle Wagner Mann, music by Jan Roper, and lyrics by Julie Weiner, and was written as part of ANMT’s Full Length Curriculum in the 2012-13 season. A few weeks before her wedding, Molly, in a moment of panic, flees the comforts of Pasadena and runs off to Paris to clear her head. What she finds there is more than she ever expected and when her fiancé shows up to bring her home, she is faced with a decision that could alter the course of her life. The reading will feature Noel Britton, Jordan Kai Burnett, Elise Dewsberry, Evelyn Halus, Erica Hanrahan-Ball, David Holmes, Mike Irizarry, Michelle Lane, Christopher Maikish, Suzanne Mayes, Paul Marchegiani, Sari Rose Poll, Andrea Press, Tedd Szeto, John David Wallis, Justin Michael Wilcox, and Jennifer Winkler; with music direction by Ron Barnett. www.anmt.org

    Where can you see A Christmas Carol this holiday season? There’s sure to be a production running in a theater close to you! Here are a few to choose from:

    A Noise Within: Dec. 7 - 22. Featuring Geoff Elliott, Robertson Dean, Stephen Rockwell, Rafael Goldstein, Jill Hill, Mitchell Edmonds, Deborah Strang, and Alan Blumenfeld. www.anoisewithin.org

    Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre: Nov. 30 - Dec. 22. Starring Josh T. Ryan as Scrooge and Zombie Joe as The Ghost of Jacob Marley, with Denise Devin, Vanessa Cate, Sebastian Muñoz, and featuring the Steam Punk Chorus:  Julie Fergus, Gloria Galvan, David Wyn Harris, Annalee Scott, and Corey Zicari. Tickets: (818) 202-4120, http://zombiejoes.homestead.com/ 

    Sierra Madre Playhouse: Nov. 29 - Dec. 23. Adapted, directed and choreographed by Christina Harris, with musical direction by Rich Dembowski. www.sierramadreplayhouse.org

    Glendale Centre Theatre: Nov. 29 - Dec. 24. Adapted by Brenda Dietlein and directed by Brenda & Tim Dietlein. www.glendalecentretheatre.com 

    Lewis Family Playhouse: Dec. 7 – 15. Adapted by John Jakes and presented by Rancho Cucamonga Community Theatre. www.lewisfamilyplayhouse.com 

    Kentwood Players presents a Kentwood Kids musical comedy, Mr. Potcher’s Holiday, featuring book & lyrics by Bob Silberg and music by Barbara Klaskin Silberg on Saturdays, Nov.30, Dec. 7 and 14 at Westchester Playhouse. Mr. Potcher has eliminated all extracurricular activities at the school. When a young student named Darcy tries to persuade him to reinstate them, he not only remains unconvinced, he decides to also do away with all the holidays as well. Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Cupid, Leprechaun, Jack o’Lantern and Thanksgiving Turkey conspire with Darcy to change Mr. Potcher’s mind. Featured in the cast are Dylan Bailey, Kenjo Cable, Tyler Cable, Melana Dix, Riley Dix, Drew Fitzsimmons, Logan R. Hannig, Sarah-V Harnden, Trevor Hart, Osric Holt, Stephanie Hotz, George Kondreck, Kobe Kubes, Steven Lerner, Fiona Okida, Katie Reinhold, Valerie Ruel, Jennifer Sperry, Hollister Starrett, Genevieve Thomas, Isabel van Aaist, Skylar Washington and Ja'von Willis directed by Drew Fitzsimmons and Melodie S. Rivers, with choreography by Lulu Peña. Tickets: www.kentwoodplayers.org 

    CABARET/CONCERTS:Tonight – Ryan Black’s 88’s, The Sound of Rodgers & Hammerstein, 8:00 pm at Don’t Tell Mama LA. Reservations: 323 380 7209.

    A Kritzerland Christmas: Sunday Dec. 1 at 7:00 pm starring Dan Callaway, Ashley Fox Linton, Lisa Livesay, Hadley Miller, Jenna Lea Rosen, Kelsey Scott, Sarah Staitman, and Robert Yacko, with special guest Terri White. Musical direction by Richard Allen. Reservations:  818-754-8700. Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal.

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    Thank You for the music, for the theatre, and for being a part of Musicals in LAI am grateful for everyone of you that I see onstage, in the audience, and behind the scenes, shining your light and making a difference with your gifts. Time for a little Holiday Hiatus. Be safe. Be kind. And keep a song in your heart. See you in December!


    OPENINGS:Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara begins its 2013-14 Season in its new home, the New Vic with A Little Night Music, inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night. Directed by Ensemble executive artistic director Jonathan Fox, A Little Night Music features one of Stephen Sondheim’s best-known songs, “Send in the Clowns.” The show will run Dec. 5 – 22 with opening set for Saturday, Dec. 7th. Local Santa Barbara musician David Potter will serve as musical director. The star-studded cast will include Piper Laurieas Madame Armfeldt, Stephanie Zimbalist as Desiree Armfeldt, andPatrick Cassidy as Fredrik Egerman. It will aslo include Carly Bracco (Anne Egerman), Max Miller(Henrik Egerman), Jordan Miller (Count Carl-Magnus), Heather Ayers (Charlotte), Misty Cotton (Petra), Michael Byrne (Frid), andDeborah Bertling (Malla). Erika Cummingsand Erika Foreman will alternate in the role of 13-year old Fredrika. Tickets: (805) 965-5400  www.etcsb.org.

    AUDITIONS:Chance Theater is holding open call auditions for Lysistrata Jones Tuesday, Dec. 3 and Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7:00 pm. To make an appointment for a later time slot, send your headshot & resume to casting@chancetheater.com by November 29. It will be directed by Kari Hayter, choreographed by Kelly Todd, and features music direction by Rod Bagheri. Athens University is in the midst of a thirty-year losing streak, so Lyssie J. and her girl-power posse won’t “give it up” to their basketball-playing boyfriends until they win a game. The hilarious dialogue and upbeat score from five-time Tony nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn is an electric combination of Mean Girls, Glee and Pitch Perfect.

    Please prepare a 16-32 bar cut from a pop/contemporary musical and bring a headshot, resume and sheet music. Accompanist provided. Rehearsals begin December 11 (weekday evenings and weekends). The show runs Feb. 7 - March 16, 2014, Friday 8pm; Saturday 3pm & 8pm; Sunday 2pm. Pay: $100 per performance week. For more information and a breakdown of roles, go to www.ChanceTheater.com/auditions

    BENEFITS:Star-studded holiday benefit SPARKLE! An All-Star Holiday Concert comes to Los Angeles for the first time with an exclusive and intimate performance at the Acme Theatre in Hollywood for one night only on Friday, December 13 at 7:30 pm. Proceeds will benefit the programs and services of The Actors Fund. Producer and host  Scott Nevinshas gathered an all-star cast of performers including Andrew Rannells, Sharon McNight, Ginifer King, Stacey Oristano, Milena Govich, Max von Essen, Shoshana Bean, Matt Zarley, Erin Quill, Constantine Rousouli, Julie Garnye, Emerson Collins, Blake McIver, Lexi Lawson, and Kelly King. The show will also feature a special reading of Twas The Night Before Christmas by the legendary Lainie Kazan. Scott Nevins hosts, with Jesse Vargas serving as music director and arranger. The evening is made possible by generous support from presenting sponsors Jim Burba and Bob Hayes. Tickets range from $35 - $100 (VIP package including priority seating and post-show meet and greet). To purchase, go to http://bit.ly/SparkleLA2013. The Acme Theatre in Hollywood is located at 135 N. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, 90036.

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