Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog

Channel Description:

Your Musical Theatre Resource for Southern California!

older | 1 | .... | 4 | 5 | (Page 6) | 7 | 8 | .... | 27 | newer

    0 0

    Stephen Brunson, Nathan Yates Douglass & Romaine Rachline 
    Photos by Ed Krieger

    Jukebox musicals come in all shapes and sizes. Some find a way to integrate the songs of a particular group or singer in such a way that the end result is more than satisfying as an evening of theatre. Jersey Boys, for example, tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from the viewpoint of each of the band members and offers terrific insight into the arc of the iconic 1960’s singing group, while Mamma Mia!, one of the most successful jukebox musicals of all, uses the pop songs of ABBA to comically punctuate the tale of a young bride in search of a father to walk her down the aisle.

    Others rely on the music itself to create the experience, rather than supplementing it with a typical story line. Such is the case with Ring of Fire, The Music of Johnny Cash, which offers biographical data and stories interspersed between thirty-four of the Man in Black’s hits. The show plays out more like a tribute concert than a theatrical production – a choice that can still have a powerful effect, especially if the treatment of the material honors the source. With Johnny Cash, that means not backing down from the depth of emotion and underlying heartache present in many of his songs. 

    Instead, as directed by Steve Steiner at Laguna Playhouse, it looks and feels more like a cruise ship revue or county fair variety show. Happy singers with perky smiles take over the stage, shouting their lines with exuberance and great diction as they show the audience a grand good time. Given that Steiner is taking Ring of Fire on tour to play a 3-month stint at a Reno casino next, it’s no wonder that this is the director’s style of choice. The downside, however, is that it doesn’t allow the audience to experience the full breadth and power of Johnny Cash’s music.

    Cash had demons, and they all found their way into his songs. He grew up poor, working the cotton fields with his family in the years following the Great Depression. The loss of his brother, Jack, in a sawmill accident would cause him a great deal of guilt for not acting on his intuition, and in his later years, addiction to drugs and alcohol, brushes with the law, and a divorce from his first wife would contribute to a rambling unrest. He championed the downtrodden and sang to remind us of our humanity, and for that he became an American icon. But there is little of that complexity to be found in Laguna Beach.

    Still, this is first time I’ve seen the show where all ten members of the cast play multiple instruments and sing, rather than having lead singers who play some guitar but let the band do most of the instrumental work. Vocal ability is a mixed bag, with intonation and stamina being an issue the night I saw the show. Several of the lead singers seemed vocally tired and after a while, even a smile doesn’t do enough to carry a song that needs more driving intensity, though there are some lovely choral sections to be found within some of the songs.

    You’ll hear haunting harmonica work by Nathan Yates Douglass and hot guitar solos by Zach Sicherman. Sicherman, Logan Farine and Romain Rachline give “Egg Suckin’ Dog” a great comic spin and all the men deliver a powerful “Going to Memphis” with chain gang staging and strong choreographed movements. “All Over Again” shows off Courtney Rada’s pipes and the “Big River” trio of Douglass, Rachline and Stephen Brunson is a winner. Amberly Rosen also displays some fine fiddle playing.

    The costumes and set design fit with the modern presentational style of the show. Contemporary western clothing accents and two versions of the “man in black” looks are featured. The duo level stage houses the main band members up on its second level leaving the main floor as the performance area for most of the songs. 

    Serviceable but predictable, there are no surprises in this straightforward production of Ring of Fire, and for some, that may be just fine. For me, I would have preferred a little more kick and a whole lot more heat.

    Justin Droegemueller, Allison Fund, Courtney Rada & Amberly Rosen

    L-R: Romaine Rachline, Allison Fund, Amberly Rosen, Logan Farine,
    Courtney Rada and Nathan Douglass Yates

    Stephen Brunson, Amberly Rosen, Zach Sicherman & Courtney Rada

    Jan.7 - Feb. 2, 2014
    Laguna Playhouse
    606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach
    Tickets: (949) 497-ARTS (2787) or 

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    The contestants in their opening number from A Chorus Line

    Contestants in LA’s Next Great Stage Star competition had an exciting second week on Sunday, January 12th. The theme for this round was Breaking New Ground – A Little New Music, and featured songs from some of today’s most up and coming musical theatre writers. Unlike the first week in which each singer chose his or her own material, a song was given to them to learn by associate producer and new musical theatre expert, Peter Welkin. Peter is part of the producing team for the cabaret series A Little New Music at Rockwell Table and Stage and has many years of experience developing musicals for the Academy of New Musical Theatre.

    By its very nature, new music is less familiar than the standard catalogue of Broadway musical songs and that can make it challenging for a young singer appearing in front of a panel of judges for the first time. This week’s industry judges included TV, film & theatre casting director Michael Donavan, choreographer & director Lee Martino, and award-winning director David Galligan, who offered their professional opinions following each performance.  

    So how did the contestants do? At the end of the day Welkin said, “I think they did remarkably well. It was a mixed bag of responses from the audience and judges but I think that the singers got a lot of benefit out of it. Last week much of the feedback was about their acting. The judges commented that there was a lot of beautiful singing but they wanted them to think more about their interpretation: where’s this moment, where’s the emotion, who are you talking to… all of the acting homework you have to supply as the actor singing the song that makes it connect to an audience.

    This week I thought they actually dug in deeper and found their acting moments much more clearly than they had before. I think the first week they were going on assumptions about how things should be played. This time they had to figure them out for themselves, and as a result, they received feedback on their performance in the room that was very specific. They weren’t being compared to anyone else who may have sung the song previously.” 

    Bryan Blaskie, music director for week 2, and also a producer & music director for A Little New Music, added that the experience was an unusual one for him. “I’ve had the privilege of already playing all of this new music as part of our Rockwell series but what’s weird is sitting at the piano while everyone is being critiqued. I’m watching the actors take all this information in, knowing the rehearsal we’ve put into their songs, and knowing whether or not the comments addressed things we worked on in rehearsal or if they were about something we didn’t even think about. A lot of times there were choices we made that directly contradicted the feedback from the judges. When I work with these actors in rehearsal I tell them these are all suggestions. You’re not going to please everybody so do what you think is best and go with it. We’re all going to disagree. You even saw some of the judges disagree with each other. With only 3½ minutes to impress the audience, every decision counts.”

    Round 3 of LA’s Next Great Stage Star competition continues on Sunday, January 19th and will feature the music of Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart. For reservations call (818) 754-8700. For more information about LA’s Next Great Stage Star and Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal, visit

    And if you’re interested in the contestants new songs presented this week, here’s what you missed. 

    Jessica Apperson: “Alive” by Curtis Rhodes (music) & Leslie Becker (lyrics) from A Proper Place

    Alexandra Arthur: “Get Out There and Dance” by Craig Bohmler (music) & Marion Adler (lyrics) from All The More To Love

    Michael Byrne: “Caralee” by Ryan Scott Oliver (music & lyrics) from 35MM

    Matthew Campanella: “The Man I Never Knew” by Chris Miller (music) & Nathan Tysen (lyrics) from The Burnt Part Boys

    Cy Creamer: “That Was Me” by Erik Prztylski (music & lyrics)

    Sevan Dekmezian: “Where Nobody Knows Your Name” by Jay Kuo (music & lyrics) from Wrrk

    Jordan Michelle DeLeon: “Here We Go Again” by Gregory Nabours (music & lyrics) from The Trouble With Words

    Katrice Gavino: “Saturday Alone” by Barry Wyner (music & lyrics) from Calvin Berger

    Kimberly Hessler: “She’s Lovely” by Matthew Levine (music) and Hillary Rollins (lyrics)

    Jade Johnson: “Pretty Funny” by Benj Pasek (music) & Justin Paul (lyrics) from Dogfight

    Amanda Knight: “A Lasting Impression” by Zoe Sarnak (music & lyrics) from A Lasting Impression

    Brandon Hynum: “Global Warming” by Drew Fornarola (music & lyrics)

    Jennifer Kranz: “Summer Fling” by Jeff Thomson (music) & Jordan Mann (lyrics)

    Travis Leland: “Flying Round the Moon” by Michael Finke (music & lyrics) from Caroline & George

    Daniella Painton: “I’ll Be Here” by Adam Gwon (music & lyrics) from Ordinary Days

    Kathleen Porter: “Still I Rise” by Carmel Dean (music) & Sarah Underwood (lyrics) Project: Song Blog

    Cameron Sczempka“Town Goes Boom” by Chris Miller (music) & Nathan Tysen (lyrics)

    Katherine Tracy: “The Things We’ll Never Do” by Will Collyer (music) & Molly Reynolds (lyrics) from The Gingerbread Pimp

    Adrienne Visnic: “All of My Friends: by Drew Fornarola (music & lyrics)

    Jared Andrew Warren: “No One Goes to An Amusement Park Alone” by Carmel Dean (music) & Sarah Underwood (lyrics) Project: Song Blog

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    MUSICALS: The Festival of New American Musicals will present a reading of Going Hollywood on Jan. 22 & 23 starring Vicki Lewis, Adam Wylie, Anneliese Van Der Pol, and Tim Martin Gleason. Going Hollywood is a jolly, hilarious and very musical version of the brilliant Kaufman and Hart comedy, Once in a Lifetime, featuring book by Joe Leonardo & David Zippel, lyrics by David Zippel, and music by Jonathan Sheffer. The reading will be directed by Joe Leonardo, with musical direction by Gerald Sternbach. To reserve FREE tickets, email with date you’d like to attend (January 22nd or 23rd) and the name(s) of each person in your party. You will receive an email confirmation. Showtime is 7:30 pm at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre 4800 Hollywood Blvd. LA 90027. (2 blocks West of Vermont Ave.)

    A one-night-only concert performance of Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera has been set for Tuesday, February 4 at 8:00 pm at Hollywood’s legendary King King Club. The concert will take place just a few days before the start of the 2014 Olympics, which is also the 20th anniversary of the lead pipe assault heard ‘round the world and their subsequent skate-off at the 1994 Winter Olympics. The librettist is Elizabeth Searle and music is by Michael Teoli. The concert version of Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera will be choreographed and directed by NAACP and Ovation Award-winner Janet Roston. Proceeds from the evening will go to support Celebration Theatre. 

    This high energy and darkly comic show takes the audience on a wild, hilarious, and insightful ride. The true over-the-top tale contains operatic themes with twists so outrageous they seem invented as the piece explores our celebrity-crazed-society, the public’s hunger for salacious scandal, and the media’s drive for tabloid fodder. The concert staging will include a full rock band, vocals, and visuals and star Michael Ballestero, Jordan Kai Burnett, Sarah Chaney, Joe Donohoe, Michael Shaw Fisher, Maegan McConnell, Jesse Merlin, Suzanne Petrela, Michael Shepperd, Jeff Sumner, and Laura L. Thomas. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the show. Doors open at 7pm for bar service. A live DJ will be spinning before and after the performance. The King King Club is located at 6555 Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood, 90028. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased online at or by phone at (323) 960-9234.

    The west coast premiere of the new musical Battledrum will take place March 7 – April 19 at Sierra Madre Playhouse. Gala opening nights are Fri., March 7 and Sat., March 8 at 7:00 pm and include a champagne reception. Set during the Civil War, Battledrum depicts the stories of three drummer boys serving in the Union Army. There’s Rufus, a Kentucky war orphan recruited after his home has been burned to the ground; Jackson, bound into service by his parents; and George Washington, a runaway slave who got lost on the path of the Underground Railroad. Drummer boys were pivotal to the conduct of a skirmish, but the three lads are nonetheless youths, thrown into the heat of the bloodiest conflict ever conducted on American soil. Battledrum embraces an important segment of American history, a traumatic chapter when courage, brotherhood and patriotism could keep you alive.

    Book & lyrics are by Doug Cooney and music is by Lee Ahlin. Battledrum is directed by Christian Lebano and is double-cast. The company includes Joseph Ahearn, Tara Bopp, Will Cespedes, Kaitlin Cornuelle, Patrick Dillon Curry, DJ Harner, Jon Monastero, Mark Ostrander and Alexandra Wright. Each performance will include a post-show talk led by a historian on California’s role in the Civil War and featured actors from the show. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024.

    GENE KELLY: The Pasadena Playhouse Theatre is pleased to present Gene Kelly: The Legacy, An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly for two performances only – Saturday, March 1 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, March 2 at 2:00 pm. During a unique evening, Patricia Ward Kelly - his widow, biographer and the person who knew him best - presents an intimate portrait of this dynamic and innovative artist who created some of the most memorable and iconic scenes in film history. Patricia Kelly’s compelling presentation combines rare and familiar film clips, previously unreleased audio recordings, personal memorabilia, and insights culled from her hours of interviews and conversations with her husband. Tickets are priced from $15 - $70. Also, available is a VIP ticket which includes a Preshow Meet & Greet with Mrs. Kelly and a reception for $150.00. For tickets call (626) 356-7529 or go to Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.

    WIN TICKETS:The Book of Mormonis giving you an opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the show by participating in a social media scavenger hunt on Saturday Jan 18 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm PST. They will be sharing clues on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram teasing the locations of hidden doorbells around Los Angeles. To play along, follow The Book of Mormon on Twitter (@BookOfMormon), Instagram (TheBookOfMormon) or Facebook (TheBookOfMormonOnBroadway) and the hashtag #BOMHunt. One entry is allowed per person. Winners must show valid ID at The Pantages box office.

    AUDITIONS:Director/choreographer Miriam Durrie-Kirsch is having another day of auditions for the role of JIMMY in Conejo Players Theatre’s upcoming production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. You don’t even need to prepare a song (although having a selection in your back pocket is always a good idea). Just head over to Conejo Players on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 10:00 am. You’ll learn some of Jimmy’s music, as well as a short dance combo. Come ready to move, or bring a change of clothing. There may also be some cold reading from the script. Character description: Jimmy Smith: (Male mid 20s-40s) Self-assured, quick-witted, and charming with a good sense of comedic timing. Tenor with solid high A. Good mover; dancer a

    CABARET/CONCERTS: Ryan O’Connor and Musical Mondays Los Angeles have announced the upcoming appearance of Broadway’s Eden Espinosa(Wicked, Brooklyn, Rent) in a Free performance at Eleven Nightclub in West Hollywood on Monday, January 20 at 10:00 pm. Espinosa is making appearances throughout the U.S. to celebrate the release of her award winning debut solo album , Look Around, now available on iTunes, Amazon, Cd Baby, and Eleven Nightclub is located at 8811 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. For more info visit

    Upcoming concerts at the Grove Theatre in Upland include legendary Grammy Award winner Bryan Duncan, on February 1 at 7:00 pm. Duncan brings his powerful voice and charming humor to a family-friendly concert featuring classic hits like “Maybe Im Amazed” and “Love You With My Life” along with new songs like “I See You.” Then on February 8, R&B singer Virgil Gibson headlines Remember the Magic, a concert that brings back the great sounds of the doo-wop era featuring tunes like “Only You,” “Up On The Roof,” “In The Still Of The Night,” “You Send Me,” “My Girl,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” and many more.

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    MUSICALS: Davis Gaines will star as Professor Harold Hill and Gail Bennett as Marian Paroo in Musical Theatre West’s production of The Music Man at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center Feb. 14 – March 2nd. Meredith Willson’s timeless musical features musical direction by Corey Hirsch, choreography by John Todd and is directed by Jeff Maynard. Con man Harold Hill promises a boys’ band to counteract the possibility of a pool table coming to River City. His persuasive patter fools everyone except the town librarian, Marian Paroo. The cast will also feature Ashley Anderson (Zanetta Shinn), Maguire Balleweg (Amaryllis), Paige Brinskele (Pick-a-Little), Emzy Burroughs (Oliver Hix), Peyton Crim (Olin Britt), Joey D’Auria (Mayor Shinn), Jon Hand (Constable Lock), Emilie Lafontaine (Gracie Shinn), Cathy Newman (Mrs. Paroo), Jenny Moon Shaw (Pick-a-Little), Rebecca Spencer (Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn), Bryan Vickery (Jacey Squires) and Matt Walker (Marcellus). Tickets: (562 856-1999 x. 4 or

    Skylight Theatre Company presents the world premiere of The Wrong Man, an underground musical written by Ross Golan, directed & choreographed by Lee Martino and starring Ross Golan and Jennifer Brasuell, Jan. 25 - March 1st. The Wrong Man is an acoustical tale of what happens when the wrong man meets the wrong girl in the wrong place at the wrong time. Framed for murder, his ill-fated circumstances spiral out of control, leaving him at the mercy of a flawed judicial system. Tickets:

    ADDED PERFORMANCE: Due to high ticket demand, a second concert performance of Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera has been set for Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 8:00 pm at Hollywood’s legendary King Kong Club. The February 4 & 5 concerts will take place just a few days before the start of the 2014 Olympics, which is also the 20th anniversary of the lead pipe assault heard ‘round the world and Tonya and Nancys subsequent skate-off at the 1994 Winter Olympics. With libretto by Elizabeth Searle and music by Michael Teoli. Proceeds from the two evenings will go to support Celebration Theatre. Tickets: (323) 960-9234 or

    Theatre Unleashed and artistic director Carlos Martinez have announced their 2014 season, which will include the west coast debut of Justin Moran’s original satirical musical, POPE! An Epic Musical, in September/October. In it, an idealistic young Pope is framed for a heinous crime and banished from the Vatican. The people, blinded by the media frenzy, allow a tyrannical archbishop to seize power. As this new Pope tightens his iron fist, the people are disheartened and in despair, and the world is crying out for a hero…can Pope reclaim his glory to become the hero the world needs? The season will also include Tartuffe in March/April directed by Jeff Soroka, 25 Plays Per Hour and Friends Like These in June at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and KAWL Presents It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play for the Stage in December.

    CABARET/CONCERTS:Independent Shakespeare Co. seduces you with an eclectic evening of music, scenes, poetry, and comedy on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 pm. From Chaucer to Cole Porter, In and Out of Love, a Passion Play will look at love from the top, the bottom, and everywhere in between. Performers include all of your ISC favorites, plus some great guests. This is a one-night-only event in the Independent Studio, 3191 Casitas Ave. #168, Los Angeles, 90039. Tickets:

    Ryan Black’s 88’s is back by popular demand withThe Songs of COMPANYby Stephen Sondheim on Wednesday, Feb. 5th at 8:00 pm. Open mic after the show 10pm – 2am. Seats may be reserved at (323) 380-7209. Ryan says, “We’ve had an amazing time over the last 30 shows, but I’m moving on to other projects. Please come celebrate with us!” Free - No Minimum. For more information go

    Kritzerland at the Movieswill take place Mon. Feb. 3 at 8:00 pm at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. The show starsBrennley Brown, Emma Degerstedt, Dennis Kyle, Lisa Livesay, John Sloman and Shannon Warne, with special guests Andrea Marcovicciand Richard Sherman, and musical direction by Shelly Markham. From Oscar-winners, to musicals written especially for the screen, you’ll hear songs by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, Marvin Hamlisch, Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen, Burt Bacharach and more. To RSVP, call (818) 754-8700.

    The Grove Theatre celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the British Invasion with Beatles vs. Stones - A Musical Shoot Out, courtesy of tributes Abbey Road and Jumping Jack Flash when they return to The Grove on Saturday, February 22 at 8 pm. Tickets are $20 - $50 and may be purchased online at or by calling (909) 920 - 4343. The show is appropriate for all ages. The Grove Theatre is located at 276 E. Ninth Street in Historic Downtown Upland.

    DIRECTORS LAB: The 2014 Directors Lab West will take place May 17-24th in residence at the Pasadena Playhouse. The Lab will continue its tradition of bringing together dedicated theatre directors, choreographers and master artists for a week of intense discussions and exploration of the art form. Attendance is by application only and there is no cost to participate in the Lab. Applications to attend the Lab and further information may be found at Deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, Feb. 28th by 5:00pm PST. In the last 14 years, over 100 acclaimed artists have given their time to the Lab including Jason Alexander, Julie Arenal, Luis Alfaro, Paris Barclay, Cirque Berzerk, Kay Cole, Gordon Davidson, George Furth, Ming Cho Lee, Marc Masterson, Janet Miller, Randy Newman, Vincent Paterson, Carey Perloff, Stephen Wadsworth and Charlayne Woodard.

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    The cast of James Joyce's THE DEAD.Photos by Eric Neil Guttierez

    When a show moves me like this one did, it’s worth raving about. Minus the bombardment of glitz  and flash so often shoe-horned into modern day musicals, the remount of Open Fist Theatre Company’s James Joyce’s The Dead is instead that rare production that breathes life into our hearts with its singular connection to our humanity. By revealing the flaws in our perception of the world around us, it finds the beauty in the ordinary and elevates it to something fine. For that reason, it is my first must-see musical of 2014.

    Before it even begins, the quaint old-fashioned tone is set by musical director Dean Mora (on piano) and his musicians (Eden Livingood on violin, Jennifer Richardson on cello, and Kelly De Sarla on flute), playing in the parlor onstage. It is the parlor of the Missus Morkans and it will soon be filled with family and friends as they celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany during their annual Christmas party. Time and place: Dublin, near the turn of the century.

    What is most appealing about the cast is that this group of actors doesn’t feel like actors playing members of an extended family, they actually feel like a family. Sit close, if you can, to fully experience the intimacy of the moments. Their silent asides and subtle glances reveal so much more about the characters than what they say out loud and the way they are staged capitalizes on the ambience of the Greenway Court’s elegant theater, accenting the nostalgic mood of the piece.

    You also want to sit close to fully appreciate Rob Nagles magnificent narration. He has a gift for making you feel like youre the only person in the room when he speaks to the audience and his soul-searching honesty reveals a poignant self-awareness of his character’s shortcomings perplexed by a world that, to him, lacks the respect of days gone by. His beautiful speech searching for “the words that can express one’s heart” also reveals a reticence in communication that, often repeated, has now become habit, and by this stage in his marriage is a pattern too confounding to change. 

    Not that his wife Gretta (Margaret Demson) hasn’t realized it. The secret she reveals this night is not what Gabriel would have anticipated and, like the passing of the torch within the hierarchy of the family, its impact will surely be felt in the days and years to come. A luminous Demson, who is also Open Fist’s artistic director, moves through the play with the grace of a woman who knows and accepts the picture of her life yet, when prompted by a song from the past, cannot forget the pain of younger days.

    The party is a microcosm of life; tensions rise, missteps are made, and yet there is joy threaded through every fiber of this quiet, careful portrait. Infectious laughter ripples through the room as guests take their turn gifting the others with a song. Niece Mary Jane (Melissa Sullivan) and Michael (Devon Armstrong) sing a charming ode to “Kate Kearney” while already inebriated guest Freddy (John LeMay) makes a splash with his jaunty pub song. Later, he and the ensemble stomp to “Wake the Dead,” much to the annoyance of the downstairs neighbor. Gretta’s haunting “Goldenhair” is the catalyst for Gabriel’s epiphany to come and the two also sing a poignant “Adieu to Ballyshannon.”

    Each in his turn offers the gift of a song, always sung from the heart, and none more touching than “When Lovely Lady Stoops to Folly,” sweetly tendered by the elderly Aunt Julia (Jacque Lynn Colton). Though her wandering mind can no longer hold the lyric, it is clear that she is a woman well-loved by her family and Colton is enchanting in the role.

    The Dead (book by Richard Nelson, lyrics by Nelson and Shaun Davey, and music by Davey) is based on James Joyce’s final novella in “The Dubliners,” a compilation of short stories about the Irish middle class, written at the turn of the century when Ireland was at a crossroads and nationalism ran high. As such, an undercurrent of restlessness is evident beneath the surface of Joyce’s work. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems and no one will be more conscious of that fact than Gabriel by the evening’s end.

    Kris Knekt’s tastefully appointed scenic design and Dan Reed’s subtle lighting create a comforting backdrop for the rich reds and earthy tones of A. Jeffrey Schoenberg’s period costumes and Bruce Dickinson& Ina Shumaker’s heirloom furnishings are a functional mix. When combined, these elements create a necessary normalcy that promises, however fleeting, to be a respite from the chilling winter wind outdoors and the unavoidable changes that loom ahead.

    A finer evening of theatre you will not find in Los Angeles. The delicacy of the storytelling and profound simplicity of the words leave a lasting impression, one that should be experienced. 

    James Joyce's THE DEAD
    January 18 - February 22, 2014

    The Open Fist Theatre Company
    Original directions by Charles Otte
    Greenway Court Theater

    544 N Fairfax
    Hollywood, CA
    Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm
    Tickets: (323) 882-6912  or 

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    Jennifer Shelton, Marc Ginsburg and Lindsey Alley. Photos by Suzanne Mapes

    International City Theatre opened its 29th season this past weekend with the California premiere of Let’s Misbehave: The Music and Lyrics of Cole Porter. The relatively new musical by Karin Bowersock (book) and Patrick Young (musical arrangements) weaves together more than thirty Cole Porter standards in a story that could easily have been created from one of the composers own lyrics.

    Porter wrote musicals for both Broadway and Hollywood during the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, as well as hundreds of stand-alone songs that solidified his place in the history of American music. Known for his ability to craft a song with unparalleled wit and sophistication, only he could possibly think to rhyme a word like “provincial” with “Walter Winchell” and get away with it (from the song “Let’s Fly Away” from The New Yorkers).

    The conceit of Let’s Misbehave is, of course, love. Three longtime friends bask in the afterglow of one of Dorothy’s fabulous New York parties, dishing about the guests who have just left and commiserating on the sorry state of their own love lives. Determined to end their fabulous-but-single status, they make an agreement to fall in love before the fourth of July. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that, before long, this trio of friends will be part and parcel of a love triangle that threatens to break at least one heart along the way.   

    Porter’s songs provide the storytelling aspects of the show, which rely heavily on the comedy to move the story forward. Lindsey Alley is Dorothy, the smart, sassy, society gal reminiscent of the leading ladies of the 1930’s and Jennifer Shelton the beautiful ingénue who would rather find “the one” than continue to be set dressing on the arm of a wealthy older man. Marc Ginsburg (Walter) fills the role of the humble artist; a painter without the pedigree to mingle with the elite, were it not for his rich and fabulous friends. 

    Vocally the singers have a sublime command of the music. Shelton handles the difficult intervals and fast patter of her songs beautifully (and that isn’t easy), plus, she has plenty of opportunities to show off her shimmering soprano notes. Alley scores big with showstoppers that sit in the sweet spot of her voice allowing her to soar with emotion, and Ginsburg is a convincing leading man who holds his own with the ladies, though he stiffens up when the second act reaches romance territory. 

    Director Todd Nielsen cleverly stages the show to enhance the comic opportunities Cole Porter’s songs provide and manages to fit some smart living room choreography into the story. It’s well-executed by the cast but the focus alternates between a story playing out between the three characters and a show being presented for the audience that doesn’t always fit smoothly together.

    Added to that is an onstage pianist (Brian Baker) who we assume is the accompanist from the party but who doesn’t interact with the characters except for a couple of awkward moments that come out of nowhere. He is featured so prominently onstage that it’s hard not to wonder why he isn’t participating with the singers or what he did all night while the three of them fell asleep tangled up on the fainting couch. He doesn’t have a noticeable interaction until near the end of the musical and by then it just seems out of place. That aside, he plays beautifully, and that’s what we really want to hear. Thanks to him, Cole Porter’s music sparkles like a champagne bubble about to burst.  

    JR Bruce’s spacious art deco apartment features clean lines and a polished New York skyline detail enhanced by Donna Ruzikasjewel-toned lighting. Kim DeShazo’s costumes are particularly glamorous, with Shelton’s eye-popping satin gown and Alley’s jewel-encrusted black number the epitome of high society.

    Spending two hours with International City Theatre in the company of Cole Porter’s music is a rare delight. Let’s Misbehave gives the audience a distinctive opportunity to relish Porter’s smart humor and the intoxicating refrain of a delicious melody like a true Manhattanite. As they say, “it’s de-lovely!”

    LET'S MISBEHAVE: The Music and Lyrics of Cole Porter
    January 22 - February 16, 2014
    International City Theatre
    Long Beach Performing Arts Center
    300 E. Ocean Blvd.
    Long Beach CA 90802
    Tickets: (562) 436-4610 or

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    MUSICALS:China: The Whole Enchilada, a provocative musical comedy that sheds light on the absurdity of ignorance and intolerance will open a mid-week run at Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood on Tuesday, Feb. 4th at 8:00 pm. The irreverent comedy musical condenses the 5,000 year history of China into a 90 minute show performed by three people. One loves China, one is paranoid that China is going to overthrow the world at any moment, and the third keeps getting China confused with Japan. In this new production of Mark Brown’s award-winning book and lyrics, director Allison Bibicoff fuses her unique artistic intellect with Sacred Fools foundation of experimental comedy, resulting in a multimedia hurricane of humor from actors Andi Dema, Gregory Guy Gorden, and Gina Torrecilla.  Tickets are $15 at or by calling (310) 281-8337.

    La Jolla Playhouse has added the U.S. premiere of the musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame, written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, featuring a book by Peter Parnell and directed by Scott Schwartz to its 2014/15 season. Produced by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, the musical will run Oct. 28 – Dec. 7 in the Mandell Weiss Theatre. Based on the Victor Hugo novel and featuring the Oscar-nominated score from the 1996 Disney animated classic, it features a lush, emotionally rich score. This brand-new production highlights the music’s orchestral power and choral beauty in an intimate retelling of the famous love story. Peter Parnell finds a bold, highly-theatrical take on the moving tale of the scorned bell-ringer Quasimodo, the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda and the dashing Captain Phoebus in 15th century Paris. The creative team also includes Josh Bergasse, choreographer; Michael Kosarin, music supervisor and arranger; Michael Starobin, orchestrator; Alexander Dodge, scenic design; Alejo Vietti, costume design; Howell Binkley, lighting design and Gareth Owen, sound design. Tickets to the 2014/2015 season will be available in mid-February through a subscription purchase only by calling the Patron Services Department at (858) 550-1010 or

    CONGRATULATIONS: At Saturday’s grand opening of Chance Theater’s new home, Wylie Aitken, a major arts supporter and chair of the California Arts Council, announced that he has made a $250,000 contribution to name the new home of the Chance after his lovely wife, Bette Aitken. The new name will be the Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center. The official dedication ceremony will be scheduled soon. For those who want to support the Chance’s efforts to complete its capital campaign fundraising, there are still naming opportunities available, ranging from the theater stage to the sound system. You can even adopt a chair in the new theater for $2,500. To make a pledge, or for more information, call Chance Theater’s Development Director Erika C. Miller at (714) 970-0592.

    The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle has announced its 2013 nominations and special awards for excellence in Los Angeles, Orange County and Ventura County theatre. The 45th Annual LADCC ceremony will take place on Monday, March 17, 2014 at The Colony Theatre in Burbank. Tickets are $40 (plus service fee) and are available online at Doors open at 6:30pm for pre-show appetizers and a no-host bar, and the ceremony begins at 7:30pm. Special award recipients include The Ted Schmitt Award for the World Premiere of an Outstanding New Play (Kemp Powers), The Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre (LA Theatre Works), The Joel Hirschhorn Award for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre (David Elzer), The Milton Katselas Award for Career or Special Achievement in Direction (Bart DeLorenzo), and a brand new award, The Kinetic Lighting Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatrical Design (Angela Balogh Calin). For a complete list of nominees and more information, go to

    Congratulations to the 2013 BroadwayWorld/Los Angeles Award Winners announced today. For a list of winners, go to

    CABARET/CONCERTS:Noted cinema expert, critic and host of TV’s “Turner Classic Movies,” Robert Osborne will host the 30th Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.) S.T.A.G.E. Goes to the Movies, being held on Saturday, May 10th at the historic Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. David Galligan directs for the 30th time with John McDaniel returning as Musical Director. A celebration of cinema, S.T.A.G.E. Goes to the Movies promises to be a spectacular event highlighting many of the most memorable musical moments in Hollywood’s vast film library. Hollywood celebrity columnist Rona Barrett will narrate a stunning costume cavalcade of remarkable cinematic  creations, long-time critic Rex Reed will a take a turn as a performer along with recording legend Helen Reddy and Saturday Night Fever’s Donna Pescow. Additional performers include Obba Babatunde, Mary Beth Black, Patrick Cassidy, Mary Jo Catlett, Carole Cook, David Engel, Julie Garnye, Bill Hutton, Heather Macrae, Pat Marshall, Donna McKechnie, Patricia Morrison, Janis Paige, Valarie Pettiford, Jake Simpson and Kevin Spirtas. Tickets:

    AUDITIONS: San Diego Musical Theatre will hold auditions for Annie Get Your Gun on April 21st and 22nd. Director: Todd Nielsen. Choreographer: John Todd. Musical Director: Don LeMaster. Please prepare a brief song from traditional musical theatre repertoire showing your vocal range. Have second piece available if asked. Bring sheet music in your key and two headshots and resumes. An accompanist will be provided. To schedule an appointment, please email Specify if you will be coming to the Singer Call OR the Dance Call and if you are Equity or Non-Union. Singer Call will be Friday, Feb. 21 from 5:00 - 10:00 pm. and Saturday, Feb. 22 from 2:00 - 5:00 pm. Dance Call will be Saturday, Feb.22 at 10:00 am and some may be asked to sing. Children attend Singer Call only. Callbacks are Sunday, Feb. 23rd from11:00 am - 5:00 pm. Audition location: San Diego Musical Theatre, 4652 Mercury Street, San Diego, CA 92111. For a complete breakdown of roles and more information, go to

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    Scott Dreier, Roger Befeler, Jeffrey Scott Parsons and Kurtis Simmons
    Photos by Ed Krieger

    Four guys who know there’s nothing better than being inside a good tight chord are working their extraordinary vocal magic in Stuart Ross’ Forever Plaid at Cabrillo Music Theatre. With incredible musicianship and a flawless blend, these clean-cut dapper lads are a dream for the roughly 90-minutes they cover some of the greatest hits of the 1950’s. 

    These are the good guys, Frankie (Roger Befeler), Sparky (Jeffrey Scott Parson), Jinx (Kurtis Simmons) and Smudge (Scott Dreier), who spent their formative years singing in four-part harmony like their idols, The Four Freshmen and The Four Aces, and dreaming of the day they’d be able to cut their own records. They were on the verge of their big break when a busload of Catholic schoolgirls on their way to the Ed Sullivan Show to see the Beatles’ U.S. debut broadsided the boys and they were killed instantly.

    Now, due to a metaphysical rift in the Ozone Layer, and who knows what other harmonically converged circumstances, the boys have been deposited back on earth, fifty years later, for the show they never got to do in life.

    Once they realize it, the cavalcade of hits never stops and in between, we get to know them better, quirks and all. Jinx is the shy one with the sweet tenor voice, prone to nosebleeds if he sings too high, and Simmons makes a lovable wallflower. His stepbrother, Sparky, is an energetic spark plug who wears a retainer and loves to joke around. When Parsons is in the groove he’s an adorable comedian who knows how to get a laugh, though there are times he works a little too hard for the joke and it comes off less than genuine.  

    As the Plaids’ leader, Frankie, Befeler’s boy-next-door charm works beautifully to keep the guys moving through their big show while also cluing the audience in on their back story. His personal affliction is asthma, which hits whenever things get going too fast, but it never keeps him down for long. Before you know it, he’s back with a big grin and a lead-in to another terrific song. Smudge makes the most dramatic change over the course of the show and Dreier plays him with a dead serious intensity that is hilarious. He worries about everything, can’t keep his choreography straight, and is sure he has an ulcer. When he finally busts out in “Rags To Riches” near the end of the show it is incredibly satisfying for the audience to see him come into his own.

    Plaid expert Larry Raben (one of the original Plaids) directs the Cabrillo production with the kind of masterful insight that only an insider can bring. His keen eye for precision makes the intricate staging seem effortless and its efficiency highlights the comedy inherent in each character. Add to that the exquisite sound that musical director Alby Potts achieves and this show is guaranteed to melt hearts.

    Rarely have the use of dynamics and a group’s ability to color words been so instantly rewarding for an audience. When they lock in on the close harmonies, the sound vibrates like one shimmering voice, making songs like “Moments To Remember,” “No, Not Much,” “Shangri La,” and “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” trigger an immediate visceral response. If you love music, this is a musician’s dream come true.

    Innocent, smart, earnest and lovingly retro, the show is a breath of fresh air that turns back the dial from our more cynical modern day point of view and allows for a good-natured evening of fun. Best moments range from intimate stories like Smudge telling the audience how he got his 45 record collection, and the story of Perry Como and the golden cardigan, to a tough guy medley that includes “Sixteen Tons” and “Chain Gang.”

    In one of the funniest scenes, the boys reenact the crazy novelty acts and entertainers on the Ed Sullivan show in short, almost manic, sequences that baby boomers will especially appreciate, and in another, giant bathroom plungers become the prop du jour for a song that they never got to rehearse with real microphones when they were alive.

    Best of all, you can see Forever Plaid more than once and find it just as funny and heartwarming as the first time. With its many charms, this forever foursome is a match made in musical heaven.

    January 31 - February 9, 2014
    Cabrillo Music Theatre

    Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
    2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd in Thousand Oaks
    Tickets: (805) 449-ARTS (2787) or

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    Amanda Pajer, Michael Faulkner, Doug Harvey and Josey Montana McCoy
    Photos by Ed Krieger

    An hour and a half east of L.A. in Rancho Cucamonga, The MainStreet Theatre Company puts on a Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) season at Lewis Family Playhouse. Of that season, one of the shows is specifically chosen for the very youngest audience members and this year it’s The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. During the curtain speech, the producer asked who was familiar with the book and a room full of hands shot up in the air. It would be an exciting day for these young people who were eager to see how the company would bring their beloved Stanley to life.

    Based on the wildly popular book by Jeff Brown, the musical follows the adventures of Stanley Lambchop (Doug Harvey), a normal young boy whose only desire is to “travel the world doing things no one has ever seen before.” One night while clowning around with his brother, Arthur (Josey Montana McCoy), Stanley makes a wish and a star falls in the sky, bringing the bulletin board above his bed to life. It falls on him while he’s asleep and, in the morning, he magically wakes up flat as a pancake.

    Soon Stanley is off to see the world, thanks to the postal service, and his new ability to fit in an envelope. On his journey he meets a director in Hollywood, helps catch an art thief in Paris, and films a surfing movie in Hawaii. Everything is great…until he realizes that he misses his family and really wants to go home.

    Harvey has a natural charm and a bright singing voice that makes him a likable main character. His relationship with McCoy provides some of the best comic moments in the show as they spar with lightsabers, pretend to have super powers, and make each other laugh as only little boys can. The standout musical number is their enthusiastic duet, “I Wish I Were,” an energetic pop rock song that expresses the boys’ desire to be a hero and do something great. Another is McCoy’s Hollywood Agent production number “Talent,” which is his advice to Stanley about what it takes to make it in Hollywood, complete with hats and canes and a big finish. (All of the cast members, except for Stanley, play several roles.)

    The show is a perfect piece for a young audience, bringing the source material to life with broad strokes both in design and performance. The brightly colored set is a bold mix of geometric shapes made of dual-functioning movable pieces with surprising touches. Dwight Richard Odle is responsible for the versatile set as well as the three-dimensional and flat costumes. Stanley is a sight gag best viewed from the front so sit toward the middle of the house if at all possible. From the sides the optical illusion doesn’t have quite as much impact unless Stanley is further upstage, and his flatness is too much fun to miss.

    The direction is crisp, dialogue and lyrics are easily understood, and there is enough audience interaction that the one-hour musical moves at a pace brisk enough to keep the kids engaged. They loved the physical jokes and the abundance of laughter throughout the show was proof positive that Stanley had succeeded in making its target audience happy.

    The cast and creative team also includes Michael Faulkner (Mr. Lambchop), Ann Marie Lee (Mrs. Cartero), Amanda Pajer (Mrs. Lambchop), Janice Rodgers Wainwright (musical director), Kevin Cochran (director), Lisa Hopkins (choreography), Tom Ontiveros (lighting design) and Kevin Williams (prop designer).

    Josey Montana McCoy, Doug Harvey, Amanda Pajer and Ann Marie Lee

    Doug Harvey as Flat Stanley

    Josey Montana McCoy, Michael Faulkner, Amanda Pajer, Doug Harvey and Ann Marie Lee

    February 1 - 16, 2014Mainstreet Theatre Company
    Lewis Family Playhouse
    12505 Cultural Center Drive
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
    Tickets: 909-477-2775 x 5 or

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    MUSICALS: The Los Angeles Philharmonic has announced its 2014 Summer Series at the Hollywood Bowl, which will include the Tony-winning musicalHAIR, August 1 – 3. The cast and director will be announced at a later date. Additional musical performances include a Grease Sing-A-Long hosted by Didi Conn on July 13, and Sing-A-Long Sound of Music hosted by Melissa Petermanon Saturday, Sept. 20. Also included is DreamWorks Animation in Concert - Celebrating 20 Years, featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Thomas Wilkins on July 18-19, hosted by Jack Black will host.

    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts has announced its March Madness schedule, which will includeIn The Mood: A 1040s Musical Revue (March 22 – 2pm & 8pm) andFloyd Collins (March 27 - April 13). More than a concert, In The Mood is a big band theatrical swing revue celebrating the music that moved the nation’s spirit! It’s the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and all the greats of the 1940’s featuring the In The Mood Singers and Dancers with the sensational String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra.

    Then, get up close and personal with Floyd Collins, part of the new onstage series at La Mirada Theatre. A new, intimate theatre experience has been created by placing 199 audience seats on the stage. With a large cast and live musicians, feel the adventure of Floyd Collins’ dream of fame and fortune as he is trapped in a narrow cave 200 feet below the surface. See how his goal of creating a tourist attraction becomes a reality, with him as the main attraction. With music and lyrics by Adam Guettel (The Light in the Piazza) and book & lyrics by Tina Landau, this haunting musical tells the transcendent tale of a true American dreamer. For a complete schedule of March Madness events visit

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will celebrate its Hollywood Pantages premiere with a limited three week engagement; June 3 – 22 (opening night is Wed. June 4). As previously announced, husband-and-wife team Diana DeGarmo (Narrator) and Ace Young (Joseph) will head up the cast, which will feature Paul Castree as Simeon, William Thomas Evans as Jacob/Potiphar, Brian Golub as Reuben, Will Mann as Judah and Ryan Williams as Pharaoh. The ensemble will include Chip Abbott, Amanda Braun, Jonathan Burke,Claire Camp, Richard Cerato, Vincent D’Elia, Lisa Finegold, Lili Froehlich, Sasha Hollinger, Brandon Hudson, Patrick John Moran, Mark Roland, David Rossetti, Leigh Scheffler, Christine Cornish Smith, Brett Stoelker, Tricia Tanguy, Matthew Tiberi and Katie Whetsell. Joseph will be directed and choreographed by Tony® Award-Winner Andy Blankenbuehler. For tickets, which go on sale to the general public on March 30, or more information please visit

    The world premiere of the new musical The Wrong Man has been extended and will now run January 25 – March 16 at Skylight Theatre. The production is written and performed by Ross Golan, directed and choreographed by Lee Martino. The Wrong Man is a powerful acoustical tale of what happens when the wrong man meets the wrong girl in the wrong place at the wrong time. Framed for murder, his ill-fated circumstances spiral out of control, leaving him at the mercy of a flawed judicial system – innocent and alone, as he awaits his execution.

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    Jay Brian Winnick (Max Bialystock) and Jeff Skowron (Leo Bloom)
    Photos by Isaac James Creative

    3-D Theatricals has rapidly become the hot destination for Broadway musical theatre entertainment in Southern California. Want to make sure your money will buy you a ticket to a show that includes top-notch talent in all departments? Go to 3DT. With a stellar string of hits that includes Funny Girl, Parade, Shrek the Musical, and Avenue Q, they have proven that whether the scale is big or small, they know how to produce a show the audience will love. 

    This time the property is Mel Brooks’ The Producers, winner of 12 Tony® Awards and a musical that so refuses to be politically correct you can’t do anything but shake your head and go along for the ride. Brooks’ stock in trade has always been his ability to know what’s funny, especially the kind of funny that relentlessly skewers its subjects. The Producers exemplifies that at every level.

    Jay Brian Winnick (Max Bialystock) lands Brooks’ one-liners with the kind of confidence that comes when you’re completely living inside a character, and this one’s a doozy. Only a guy like Max would scam his investors by producing the worst Neo-Nazi musical in history to make sure it would be a flop. And yet Springtime For Hitler, full of every stereotype and bawdy joke possible - lascivious little old ladies, an over-the-top gay director, chorus girls revolving in the shape of a swastika, and Adolf Hitler as the leading man - does exactly the opposite. It becomes a smash hit. Oy!

    Max’s initially unwilling partner in crime is insecure accountant, Leo Bloom, played brilliantly by Jeff Skowron. Drawn in by the realization that his life couldn’t possibly get any worse, he quits his job and signs on to be a producer with Max. From there it’s one big series of hilarious situations as the pair goes about the business of mounting a flop.

    As a comedy team, Winnick and Skowron are firing on all cylinders, each with his own unique rhythm and attack. It’s impressive the way Skowron can set up a gag and draw it out until the last possible moment before letting the comic tension release, and quite a departure from his previous Ovation Award-winning role as Leo Frank in 3DT’s Parade. He can sing beautifully, dance like Fred Astaire, whine like a toddler when provoked, and go from deadpan wimp to sweet leading man in short order.

    Winnick plays the conniver with a relentless determination that drives this fast-moving production forward while grounding it in a reality all his own. This is his stage, his show, his hit, and he owns it from beginning to end. Nowhere is that more evident than his delirious 11 o’clock number “Betrayed,” a showstopper that recaps the entire musical in just over 4 minutes and brings down the house.

    Wonderfully eccentric characters make up the supporting cast. Norman Large (comically terrifying as Franz Liebkind), David Engel (in a raucously flamboyant performance as Roger De Bris), and Leigh Wakeford (Roger’s common law assistant Carmen Ghia) are a crazy trio. Wakeford has mastered the art of the slow burn and how to exit a room to such a degree that every move the tall, lanky actor makes is met with gales of laughter, and Swedish bombshell Ulla (Hilary Michael Thompson) is enough to make every straight man salivate within miles.

    This buddy musical pitches one big production number after another, all recreated with Susan Stroman’s original direction and choreography by David Lamoureux and Linda Love Simmons, respectively. It’s a huge undertaking and boy does it work. The entire company’s ‘got it’ and you can watch them ‘flaunt it’ full out in every number. Little old ladies dancing with walkers get their due, as do 6-foot tall showgirls wearing bratwurst on their heads and tankards of beer on their hips while being serenaded beautifully by tenor Caleb Shaw in full Nazi uniform. A Broadway musical has never looked or sounded better.

    That’s due in part to the technical work of sound designer Julie Ferrin and lighting designer Steven Young. Ferrin has the seemingly easy, but actually monumental, task of balancing the sound so lyrics can be understood and all of the rapid fire jokes can be heard. It’s a critical element in a musical comedy like The Producers and her work here is exemplary. Young alternates the overly bright, shiny world of Broadway with the dilapidated real life scenes in between so seamlessly that you may not even realize how it transforms the whole feel of the set. Plus, his recreation of the final iconic stage picture is the perfect final button.

    If life really is about not taking anything too seriously, as Mel Brooks would have us believe, then do yourself a favor and see 3DT’s production of The Producers. It may be politically incorrect but its the funniest version of this musical Ive ever seen and it will push you to have a good time in spite of yourself. Yes, it’s another one of my must-see musicals of 2014. 

    Hilary Michael Thompson, Jay Brian Winnick and Jeff Skowron

    Jay Brian Winnick and company

    Jeff Skowron and Hilary Michael Thompson

    Kim Arnett, Tracy Lore, Bonnie Kovar and the company of The Producers

    The company of The Producers

    David Engel as Roger De Bris

    Leigh Wakeford as Carmen Ghia

    Jay Brian Winnick and Jeff Skowron

    Jan. 31 - Feb. 16, 2014
    Plummer Auditorium
    201 East Chapman Avenue

    Fullerton, CA 92832

    Feb. 21 - March 2, 2014
    Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
    1935 E. Manhattan Blvd
    Redondo Beach, CA 90278
    Tickets to both locations:

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    MUSICALS: Cabrillo Music Theatre has announced its 2014-2015 season: “Musical Adventures Around the World…. And Right Next Door,” which will include three shows in the larger Kavli Theatre and one in the more intimate Scherr Forum. Tickets and info: (805) 449-2787 Here’s the rundown:

    MEMPHIS (Regional Premiere) November 14-23, 2014
    Inspired by actual events, Memphis is about a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break.

    MARY POPPINS (Local Premiere) April 17-26, 2015
    Disney’s immortal classic, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, comes to Thousand Oaks for the very first time in a glorious new production. The timeless tale of love and family is more popular than ever. 

    OKLAHOMA! July 17-26, 2015
    Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration revolutionized musical theatre into the art form it is today, and Cabrillo Music Theatre’s all-new production marks a return to the Civic Arts Plaza stage for the first time in nearly 20 years.

    COMPANY(in the Scherr Forum) January 23 – February 8, 2015
    Sondheim’s  first-ever “concept” musical is by turns funny, pointed and hopeful. His score is packed with some of his best-known tunes, and the honest and witty look at love and relationships is as contemporary as ever.

    Obama Spy Drama opens February 15 at Acme Comedy in Hollywood. The world premiere musical comedy is written by Nicholas Zill with additional dialogue by Derek Jeremiah Reid and Karen Zill. Caitlin Hart directs a cast that includes Dan Amerman, Natascha Corrigan, Matthew Harris, Max Lawrence, Guillermo Lozano, Kim Mulligan, Arielle Siler, and Christopher Robert Smith. With the Winter Olympics upon us, and recent attempts to reign in NSA spying, the time is ripe for musical comedy with a Russian accent, and that’s what this new show from City in a Swamp Productions provides in abundance. More than anything, President Obama wants NSA leaker Edward Snowden brought back to the U.S. Obama Spy Drama reveals just how he accomplishes that. Feb. 15 - March 30. Tickets: (626) 864-3173, or

    La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts continues this season’s Programs for Young Audiences series with American Family Theater’s original telling of The Wizard of Oz. This fun-filled musical is recommended for audiences ages 4 and up. Performances are Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm. Follow the yellow brick road with Dorothy and her friends in the favorite musical journey of all time in this sparkling production bursting with energy, unforgettable songs and special effects. The Wizard of Oz is directed by David Leidholdt and stars Chelsea Stotter, Shannon Agnew, Stephen Szymanski, Chris Shore, Philip Bolton, and Grace Allen. Tickets:

    CONCERTS: Broadway @ The Broad presents Megan Mullally, with special guest Nick Offerman, star of Parks and Recreation, featuring Seth Rudetsky as pianist & host on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 5pm and 8pm. Musically gifted and endlessly entertaining, Megan Mullally is a force of nature. Famous for her iconic role as Karen Walker on the hit TV series Will & Grace, Mullally has also starred on Broadway in Grease, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Young Frankenstein. For tickets call (310) 434-3200.

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    OPENINGS:Santa Monica Playhouse is celebrating over a half-century of theatre by bringing back, for a very limited engagement - the award-winning musical Author! Author! An Evening with Sholom Aleichem. It is the longest running Jewish musical in L.A. theatre history (4½ years in its initial run), and it returns for four weeks only, March 8 – 30. The musical features members of the Playhouse Actors’ Repertory Theatre with Chris DeCarlo reprising his award-winning portrayal of Sholom Aleichem, featuring music by Evelyn Rudie and the late Ben Weisman. Author! Author! is set in the early 1900s, as Sholom Aleichem, the most beloved of all Eastern European humorists, the man affectionately referred to as “The Yiddish Mark Twain,” arrives in New York to have his plays produced on the U.S. Stage. It seamlessly weaves the story of his American experience with his own tales of the human condition. For reservations call (310) 394-9779 x 1 or go to

    Ebony Repertory Theatre will present Phillip Hayes Dean’s powerful and moving play Paul Robeson, staged by Dean in his Los Angeles directorial debut. Two-time Emmy Award-winner Keith David will star in this one-man play accompanied by pianist/musical director Byron J. Smith. Performances will run March 12 – 30, with an official press opening on March 14 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (4718 West Washington Boulevard) in Los Angeles. A powerful chronicle of the life of Paul Robeson, Dean’s play takes us from his childhood in New Jersey to his adult life around the world. An All-American athlete and a lawyer with Columbia Law School credentials, Robeson faces the racism prevalent in society in the early part of the twentieth century. He strives to rise above, and it is his triumph in that struggle that turns Robeson into a modern day hero. Tickets: or (323) 964-9766.

    AWARDS: Congratulations to The Old Globe on their San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Awards. The Globe’s world premiere production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, now playing on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre, led all winners with five awards: The Old Globe’s awards include:
    Outstanding New Musical – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
    Outstanding Direction of a Musical – Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
    Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical, Male – Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
    Outstanding Orchestrations – Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
    Outstanding Scenic Design – Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
    Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play, Male – Miles Anderson, The Merchant of Venice
    Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play, Male – Don SparksPygmalion
    Outstanding Lighting Design – York Kennedy, Other Desert Cities
    In addition, Randall Dodge received an award for Actor of the Year for his body of work in 2013, which included his role in the Globe’s 16th annual production of the holiday musical Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

    CONCERTS/CABARET: The Broad Stage and Mark Cortale present Broadway @ The Broad: Adam Pascal, featuring Seth Rudetsky as pianist/host, Sat. March 29 at 8:00 pm. Pascal first achieved fame as the original Roger in the iconic musical Rent, a role that earned him a Drama League award, an Obie award, and a Tony nomination. Tickets: Call 310.434.3200 or visit

    Next up in Chromolume’s Cabaret Series is
    The Princess & the Cowboy, starring Amanda Leigh Pickard and Keith Kraft. The special Valentine’s Cabaret will be a night of Broadway and Country Love Songs on February 15 at 8:00 pm. Tickets: $12 Pre-sale, $15 At the door. (2 tickets for $20 if you purchase by Feb. 12). Tickets: 

    For more Musicals in LA news:

    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    Davis Gaines stars as Professor Harold Hill and Gail Bennett as Marian Paroo in Musical Theatre West’s production of The Music Man at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center Feb. 14 – March 2nd. Meredith Willson’s timeless musical features musical direction by Corey Hirsch, choreography by John Todd and is directed by Jeff Maynard. Tickets: (562 856-1999 x. 4 or

    Bryan Vickery (Jacey Squires) and Davis Gaines (Harold Hill)
    Photos by Caught in the Moment Photography

    Davis Gaines and cast

    Gail Bennett as Marian Paroo

    Rebecca Spencer as Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn and cast

    Donna Louden and Matt Walker as Marcellus

    Davis Gaines and the cast

    Gail Bennett and Davis Gaines

    Davis Gaines and the cast

    Gail Bennett and Davis Gaines

    Maguire Balleweg as Amaryllis and Kevin Ciardelli as Winthrop

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    OPENINGS: Cabrillo Music Theatre has announced initial casting for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, to run March 28 – Apr. 6 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Cabrillo’s production will showcase the original Tony Award-winning Broadway choreography of Andy Blankenbuehler, recreated by the national tour’s dance captain, Morgan Marcell, who also directs. Brian Baker musical directs, with music supervision by Darryl Archibald. The cast of 23 includes Lano Medina (Usnavi), Ayme Olivo (Nina), Frank Authello Andrus Jr. (Benny), Robert Ramirez (Sonny), Celina Polanco (Camilla), Benjamin Perez (Kevin) and Tami Dahbura (Abuela Claudia).

    The Musical of Musicals, the Musical! returns to Chromolume Theatre for a limited engagement March 7 – 23, directed by Kristin Towers-Rowles with musical direction by Richard Berent. In this hilarious satire of musical theatre, one story becomes five delightful musicals, each written in the distinctive style of a different master of the form, from Rodgers & Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim. The cast includes Jean Altadel, Eduardo Enrikez, Jason Kennedy and Christina Morrell.

    CONCERTS/CABARET: The 30th Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event, S.T.A.G.E. Goes to the Movies AIDS benefit concert, will be held Sat. May 10 at 7:30 pm at Beverly Hills’ Saban Theatre, directed by David Galligan, with musical direction by John McDaniel. A celebration of cinema, the show promises to be a spectacular event highlighting many of the most memorable musical moments in Hollywood’s vast film library. Robert Osborne will host the evening which also features legendary celebrity columnist Rona Barrett who will narrate a stunning cinematic costume cavalcade. Performers include Cheyenne Jackson, Betty Buckley, Lainie Kazan, Richard Chamberlain, Mitzi Gaynor, Jason Gould, Obba Babtunde, Mary Beth Black, Debby Boone, Patrick Cassidy, Mary Jo Catlett, Carole Cook, David Engel, Julie Garnye, Nicholas Hosking, Bill Hutton, Dale Kristien, Heather MacRae, Pat Marshall, Donna McKechnie, Patricia Morison, Janis Paige, Helen Reddy, Rex Reed, Jake Simpson and Kevin Spirtas.

    Kritzerland presents The Prince and the Showtune: A Tribute to Harold Prince Monday, March 2 at 8:00 pm. The show stars Josh Grisetti, Jean Louisa Kelly, Ashley Fox Linton, Jenna Lea Rosen, Sami Staitman, Robert Yacko, and special guest Terri White, with music director Richard Berent, Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal, 5303 Lankershim Blvd., in North Hollywood. Dinner reservations: Doors open at 6:30pm. Show starts at 8:00pm. Click Here for more information. 

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    It’s coming. Yes, it’s really coming. 50 Shades! The Musical is about to open in Los Angeles on February 25th and audiences have never been crazier over a show than this one. Based on the wildly popular book, 50 Shades of Grey, the musical parody takes the audience into the world of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele through the eyes of a group of book club ladies who read the book together. The production is a collaboration between a team of comedy writers that includes Al Samuels, Emily Dorezas, Amanda Blake Davis, Jody Shelton, Ashley Ward and Dan Wessels, and it was written in an unconventional manner. Before it arrives, I had a chance to talk to writer, Emily Dorezas, who is also a producer and the show’s touring director, and Tiffany Dissette, who plays Pam, about how the musical got started and what we can expect to see.

    Emily Dorezas: 50 Shades from A Writer’s Perspective

    What inspired you to write a parody of the book 50 Shades of Grey?

    I think it was a couple of things. All of the writers come from a comedy background and whenever there’s a phenomenon, be it political or cultural, we know it’s ripe for comedy. Some of us hadn’t even read the book yet but there was such a frenzy around it that we realized there could be something to have fun with there. I think the juxtaposition of the material, which was provocative, and who was reading the material - conservative housewives - seemed to be something we wanted to make fun of.

    Who came up with the idea to do a parody?

    E: I’m also one of the producers, along with Marshall Cordelland Al Samuels, and one day Marshall said he had seen a news story about hardware stores running out of rope after the book came out. He’s this crazy entrepreneur and he was thinking maybe he should invest in a rope factory in China, but in the meantime, he said we should think about making fun of this. So even though Marshall isn’t one of the writers, it was definitely his idea. And then I think it was Al who said, let’s do a musical!

    Did you all get together in a room to write, comedy sketch style, or did you work individually and then bring ideas in?

    E: It was very much a complete collaboration because we had a very short amount of time to write it and put it up. Initially, the idea came in July 2012 and then, while we were in Scotland for something else, we got a date for the show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. That was three weeks after the idea came to life. We went from starting in a room together, to working on Google docs from an apartment in Scotland while some of the writers were writing in L.A. It was crazy. So in terms of writing style, it was much more like a TV show - all hands in - than it was a typical musical that takes longer to develop and workshop before it comes to life. Usually a musical takes a couple years with fewer writers. This took a team and we got it up fast.

    How have audiences responded? Was there anything that surprised you?

    E: The male reaction was the biggest surprise for me. As the tour went on, we would get these private messages via Facebook or our emails with guys thanking us because they had no idea what their wives and girlfriends were reading before they came to the show. They knew it was erotic but I think they thought the show would be ‘just a chick flick on stage’ and I’m quoting a guy on that. I think that is how most guys really come to the show. They’re kind of dragged there. One guy said the party hasn’t stopped since we got home last week, so I think it starts the conversation. These guys aren’t going to necessarily read the book but they’ll come and they’ll laugh together at a show and then realize… you’re into that? Okay, I had no idea.  

    What should the audience expect to see? 

    E: It’s a musical parody and it is definitely in the style of a Book of Mormon treatment of 50 Shades of Grey. We’re all deep in that world of Family Guy musicals and South Park musicals and SNL…that style of comedy, so it’s really fast and in your face. It’s not your typical musical comedy. This is funny first, and we have some great songs too. It’s not for kids but there’s no nudity. There’s a lot of suggestive body placement and there’s a ton of innuendo, and obviously there are a lot of terms that we did not shy away from that are in the book. But it’s a good laugh. You might not want to watch it with your parents...but your parents will have a great time at it. 

    How did you find the way to key into the story?

    E: We wanted to make light of all of our friends and family that have read 50 Shades of Grey and so we felt the best way to do that was the book club. The culture of book clubs is really everybody hanging out and having a couple drinks and maybe you talk about the book and maybe you don’t. We wanted to have that kind of feel open the show and we also use the book club to frame it. If an audience member hasn’t read the book, like a husband or a boyfriend, we wanted something to guide them through.

    Have you had book clubs and groups come to see the show?

    E: Oh, yeah. We get a lot of large groups and group sales folks but we also get groups of 6 or 8, about the number you can fit in a minivan. They’re book clubs or girlfriends that maybe wouldn’t necessarily go to a theatre show but this is their night out.

    Do you have a favorite moment that didn’t get left in the show?

    E: We had a song that used to close the show called “B*tthole in Control” that isn’t in the show any longer. We had already hit those marks and we felt like it wasn’t the right way to end the show. It just wasn’t the right tone, but we all liked the song. So even though it doesn’t exist in the show anymore, it is on the digital version of the album because we all loved it so much. 

    How many productions do you have out right now?

    E: The New York company opens about the same time we come to LA. It’s at the Electra Theatre in Times Square and in Los Angeles we’re at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. We also have shows in Paris and Holland, we’re about to open in Germany, and we’re also with Broadway Asia.

    How does that feel?

    E: Awesome! (she laughs) It’s the best. We have a great management partner, Act Five, and we could not be happier about those licenses because, while we have control over it, we give them a lot of flexibility to discover new things with the show; things that maybe we hadn’t thought of or maybe they’ve heightened different elements, so it’s really fun. I saw the Paris show and there was much more nudity than I ever dreamed of but that’s fine. 

    Have you had to deal with any censorship issues in any of your tour cities?

    E: Not yet. People know that this is a pretty racy book. They know what they’re getting into. We’ve played the Bible belt and it’s just as crazy as anyplace else in terms of the audience reaction. They’re totally in it. If we do get a walkout or two it’s usually because people thought they were coming to a musical that was an exact representation of the book. I have found that there are certain folks who are so passionate about this book that they don’t want to laugh about it. It awakens them, for whatever reason, and I respect that. I just always like to be clear. It is a parody. It isn’t going to be an exact replica of the book you read.

    Is there audience interaction in the show?

    E: Not really. There are a few times the actors talk to the audience but there’s no audience reaction back. We don’t take anyone up on stage.

    Have you had anything wild happen with audience members? 

    E: We’ve had some people grab at Christian and he gets underwear and other things thrown at him. I can’t remember where we were, but it was definitely what I would consider a pretty conservative area of the south. I was in the ladies room and I came out and realized that the men’s room also had ladies in it. I peeked in and there were some super straight-laced soccer moms that were loading up their lipstick vibrators that they just got. It was like the craziest concert but it was a musical theatre show. It was insane. They were all drunk, probably 50 of them in there, 4 of them using a urinal, 2 of them trying to figure out their lipstick vibrator and I was just thinking…you guys have to all go to church and see each other after this. You live in this town together.

    Sounds like they had a great time! Do you have any idea what you'd like to do next after this show?

    E: I’m based in LA and I did comedy in Chicago and toured colleges. I come from a stand-up background and when I moved to LA I never thought I was going to be doing a live musical tour. When I moved to LA I was definitely on a TV trajectory with the goal of being a show runner one day, so I’m going to be coming off the tour soon and I’m going to pick up where I left off with that.

    Tiffany Dissette: 50 Shades from An Actor’s Perspective

    Tiffany, what a crazy show to be part of. Are you having fun playing Pam in the show?

    Tiffany:Yes! It’s such a blast of a show. Pam is the one in the book club who introduces 50 Shades of Grey to the other two ladies and the book club helps narrate the story. If you haven’t read it, you’re following the story along with the book club ladies. They’re good liaisons for the audience because all three of them are caricatures of typical housewives that a lot of audience members can relate to.

    Who are the other two ladies?

    T: There’s Carol, who is the one who doesn’t really get it and she’s a little bit reserved, a little appalled by everything that’s happening. Bev is totally into it and she’s the one who’s a little drunker on the side. And then there’s Pam, who I’d say is the most sexually charged, sexually aware one of the housewives. She’s the one urging the other ladies to go on this adventure with her and really experience the story; she really opens up our eyes to this whole other world that exists that a lot of people don’t know about. It definitely has some raunchy elements to it but it’s a parody so it’s all in fun. 

    Has anything surprised you about the audiences that have come to see the show?

    T: It’s interesting because it’s almost like the women who come to see the show are cult followers. You’ve heard of the Harry Potter fans or the Twilight fans…A lot of the people who come see the show are huge fans of the book. Many of the women will come in groups. It’s ladies night out and they’ll come dressed in masks with gray ties and riding crops. It can get wild. 

    Have you had any unusual experiences either onstage or after the show?

    T: We’ve had ladies in the front row tapping the stage with their riding crops or throwing panties at Christian. It’s hilarious. We also adapt certain parts of the show to each city we’re in and some of the audiences go crazy for that.

    Why do you think the 50 Shades trilogy has become such a phenomenon?

    T: There have been erotic novels in the past but I think it’s the way it’s written. It’s very nonchalant. I think it started out as this naughty little secret and a woman would say to her girlfriend, have you read this book? Have you experienced this 50 Shades? And then it became more and more popular. Then book clubs started to read it and then it just took over and became this phenomenon - this story of an innocent sweet girl being completely taken over by this world. There are a lot of people that walk into the theater being very reserved and walk out feeling completely comfortable talking about some of the subject matter. It’s a good conversation starter!

    How would you describe the style of the music?

    T: It’s all original music, mostly contemporary musical theatre, accompanied by a 3-piece band. We do a couple of parodies of some well-known musicals like Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables so people who are knowledgeable in musical theatre will get those references as well.

    Performances of
    50 Shades! The Musical begin February 25 (opening night Feb. 26) at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 W. Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA. Click Here for tickets or call (213) 972-4488. 

    Performance Schedule:
    Tues. Wed., Thurs. & Fri. 8:00pm,
    Sat. 5pm & 9PM, Sun. 1pm & 6:30pm

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    L-R: Jennifer Kranz (winner); Travis Leland (2nd place); Adrienne Visnic (third place);
    Daniella Painton (4th place); Jade Johnson (5th place); Kimberly Hessler (6thplace).
    Photo Credit:  Peter Welkin.

    Congratulations to USC student Jennifer Kranz, who was named the winner of LA’s Next Great Stage Star® 2014 competition last weekend at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. Kranz is a senior at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles majoring in Theatre and minoring in Musical Theatre. The blonde, blue-eyed Jennifer Kranz began performing when she was 8 years old and has since studied with John Rubenstein, Gerogia Stitt and others at USC. Her win follows six weeks of intense competition conducted before live audiences who were also part of the voting process.
    As part of her winnings, Kranz was awarded a cash prize of $1000; an upcoming paid headlining concert engagement at Sterling’s Upstairs; a vocal demo recording session from Tom Griep’s Audition Trax; a photo session with Isaac James; and is already in the process of scheduling meetings to be signed and represented by one of the competition’s Equity Agent/Judges as the first step toward a professional career in musical theatre, television and film. 

    Additionally, the young Ms. Kranz will receive audition opportunities from such major, regional producing entities as Cabrillo Music Theatre which presents at the Fred Kavli Theatre in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks, CA; Julia Flores Casting, which represents the Pasadena Playhouse, Boston Court Theatre and McCoy/Rigby Entertainment at the La Mirada Performing Arts Center; and other similar regional auditions. 

    Upon her return to Sterling’s later this year with her own concert, she will also receive an overnight stay in a Luxury VIP Suite and dining for two at the iconic Sheraton Universal Hotel. Known as the “Hotel of the Stars” for 45 years, the Sheraton is nestled between the Hollywood Hills and the San Fernando Valley and overlooks the world renowned Universal Studios. Ms. Kranz has also been invited by Stage Star judge Bruce Kimmel to be featured in an upcoming Kritzerland Records live stage event during 2014 at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal.

    Now in its 8th consecutive year as the only musical theatre competition of its kind, LA’s Next Great Stage Star® 2014 also shined its spotlight on Travis Leland who placed 2nd and was the first  ever “saved” contestant by the Finale’s judging panel of eighteen theatre professionals. A former student at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy/Los Angeles; and UCLA’s Theatre, Film, and Television Class of 2012, Leland was joined by top ranking finalists Adrienne Visnic (3rd Place), Daniella Painton (4th Place), Jade Johnson (5th) and Kimberly Hessler (6th). All twenty contestants ranged in age between 18 and 28.

    The only competition of its kind, 8 former competitors have since made their Broadway debuts; one of whichis Derek Klena (top finalist/LA’s Next Great Stage Star 2011) who recently co-starred on Broadway as Fiyero in the 10th anniversary production of Wicked; and is currently co-starring in The Bridges of Madison  County. Additionally, over 80 out of 160 former competitors are now working professionally in either U.S. National Tours, sit down productions in Las Vegas Hotels, major regional theatres productions, and television.

    LA’s Next Great Stage Star® 2014 has been executive produced by Michael Sterling of Michael Sterling & Associates in Los Angeles since 2007 and was created by Michael Sterling and Tony Monsour. Preceded by serving as producer of LA’s Next Great Stage Star® since 2012, author, speaker, performer, business woman and arts philanthropist, Barbara Van Orden, joined Sterling this year as co-executive producer Writer/Performer Peter Welkin was assigned duties as associate producer for his second year; with James Lent returning as musical director for his fifth consecutive year. Bryan Blaskie assumed responsibilities as associate musical director for his first year; and Jackie Evans rounded out the creative as choreographer for her second year.

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    OPENINGS: Harmony, A new Musical by Barry Manilow& Bruce Sussman is about to start performances March 4 at the Ahmanson Theatre. Harmony is inspired by the true story of The Comedian Harmonists, six young men in 1920s and 1930s Germany who rose from unemployed street musicians to become world-famous entertainers, selling millions of records, starring in over a dozen films, and selling out the most prestigious concert halls around the world. Yet while The Comedian Harmonists’ sophisticated music, paired with hilarious comedy, made them the brightest of stars, the group’s mixture of Jews and non-Jews put them on a collision course with history. The musical celebrates this extraordinary group of friends and ensures their quest for true harmony in the most discordant chapter of human history will never be forgotten. It is directed by Tony Speciale and stars Matt Bailey, Will Blum, Hannah Corneau, Chris Dwan, Shayne Kennon, Leigh Ann Larkin, Will Taylor and Douglas Williams. Tickets: (213) 972-4400 or

    The Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora presents SIRO A: The Technical Digital Comedy Experiment, on Friday, March 14 at 8:00 pm (Doors open at 7:00 pm) at the Haugh Performing Arts Center, 1000 W. Foothill Blvd. in Glendora. SIRO-A is a new and varied, innovative and pretty crazy, energetic, cool, and extremely entertaining troupe who have been compared to The Blue Man Group. The beat of their electronic digital music (EDM) hits a visceral nerve and their visual effects, grand illusions, and perfectly choreographed routines are masterfully woven together to create a totally new live experience. SIRO-A has broken the language barrier with their non-verbal performance art and physical theatre, dazzling audiences across generations. It is the ultimate expression of the collaboration between humans, technology, and music. Tickets:

    Kentwood Players presents Fiddler on the Roof with book by Joseph Stein, lyrics by Jerry Bock, and music by Sheldon Harnick March 14 - April 19 at the Westchester Playhouse. The production is directed by Harold Dershimer, with musical direction by Catherine Rahm, and choreography by Isabella Olivas. Featured in the cast are Kayla Atkinson, Jason Bornstein, Paul Callender-Clewett, Kryzstofer Charles, Ria Erlich, Marty Feldman, Nathan Fleischer, Samuel Goldman, Barbara Haberman, Trevor Hart, Osi Holt, Spencer Johnson, Andy Kallok, Kirsten Krieg, Carly Linehan, Susie McCarthy, Bradley Miller, Trish Miller, Kelsey Nisbett, Fiona Okida, Roy Okida, Gabrielle Olivas, Joseph Olivas, Jennifer Richardson, Judy Rosenfeld, John  Russell, Michael Sandidge, Bruce Schroffel, Ethan Schyman, Hollister Starrett, Jessica Stone, Jennifer Sperry, Jenny Torgerson, and PJ Waggaman. Tickets:

    VARIETY: Artisans Union: Love, a variety show of young musicians, actors, directors, comics and performers will take place on March 1st at 8:00 pm at Fremont Centre Theatre. The evening will consist of short performance pieces linked together by the theme of Love. Artisans Union is the collection of artists of various disciplines creating new work for performance. Created by Jed Reynolds, the show will focus on pieces between 10-20 minutes including music, improvisation, standup comedy and plays. Performances include To The Curb by Jerre Dye, directed by Jed Reynolds. Even rash action has its reasons. A comedy about a mother’s harsh, loving message to her son; Bust a Move directed by Michael Le Blanc. Heartbreak is so hard to heal, but therapy can help. A comedy about neurosis and love; Mister Town City, The house improvisational team at the Upright Citizens Brigade; Michaelann Cervantez, hilarious comic and actor and MC of the show; Daniel Cummings, musician, actor and member of YouTube group New Feelings Time; Soda Pop, artist and band member of LA Bus Fair. Tickets: $10. Call (866) 811-4111 or go to

    The Echo Theater Company presents XXXander’s Kids! A zany, cutting edge late-night variety hour for 3 performances only at Atwater Village Theatre. Saturdays at 10:30 pm March 1-15. In this zany, fantastically bizarre variety hour, Alexander Oakwood III unselfishly hosts the first-ever live “telethon” to support “Xander's Kids.” Myriad performers and celebrity guest appearances will help raise funds for Alexander and his “charity.” (Disclaimer: this is not a real charity event). Featuring Mark Teppum, Misty Seger and the Atwater Village Dance Squad, Pickles “Matt” Stevens, Alphonso Prefontaine, Dylan, celebrity guests and more. Tickets: 310-307-3753 or

    BENEFIT: The Pasadena Playhouse will host its annual fundraiser entitled Premiere Gala – Take The Lead at the Playhouse on the stage of The Pasadena Playhouse Sunday, May 4 at 5:30 pm. This year’s event will celebrate dance and choreography at The Pasadena Playhouse and will honor the Lythgoe Family: Nigel Lythgoe, Bonnie Lythgoe, Simon Lythgoe, Kris Lythgoe, and Becky Lythgoe. The choreographers and dancers of The Pasadena Playhouse represent some of the greatest talent in the field, and The Playhouse is thrilled to celebrate their work on this magical night featuring scrumptious food, the best party in Pasadena, and a sampling of surprise performances. Corporate, patron, underwriting and other sponsorship opportunities are available from $1,000 -$25,000. Single ticket prices will be announced at a later date.

    CABARET/CONCERTS: A Little New Music returns to Rockwell Tuesday, March 4 at 8:00 pm with featuring fresh music with Broadway and local talent. Guest host will be Tony winner Daisy Eagan and the evening will showcase songs by award-winning writers Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, Miller & Tysen, Lisbeth Scott, Carner & Gregor, Dean & Underwood, Mallamud & Bright, Bohmler & Adler, Joshua H. Cohen, Braverman & Hassler, Johnson & Rollins, Katie Thompson, Barry Wyner, Rosser & Sohne, and Ross Golan. Performances by Matt Caplan, Ashley Fox Linton, Zachary Altman, Katherine Washington, Curt Bonnem, LaVance Colley, Sari Rose Barron, Lisbeth Scott, Joe Donohoe, Heather Lake, Payson Lewis, Matt Musgrove, Katrice Gavino, Daniel Amerman, Matthew Daniel Gordon, Ross Golan, Gabrielle Wagner, and Eric B. Anthony. Musical director Bryan Blaskie joins on keys alongside the band. Tickets:

    For more Musicals in LA news:

    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    Musical Theatre West has announced its 2014-2015 “Big Broadway” season of shows. Season tickets are available now by calling (562) 856-1999 x 4 or online at The season will include:

    BIG FISH (first production since its Broadway debut)
    Oct. 31 – Nov. 16, 2014
    Book by John August, Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
    Based on the film by Tim Burton
    Featuring the original Broadway sets and costumes

    Feb. 12 – March 1, 2015
    Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein
    Book by Oscar Hammerstein and Joshua Logan

    April 10 – 26, 2015
    Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer
    Book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg

    July 10 –26, 2015
    Based on the MGM Film with
    Choreography by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly

    The new revue Wild Songs and Naked Souls(an evening of music and poetic license) will have its world premiere at T.U. Studios in North Hollywood March 1 – April 6 (opening night Sat. March 8th at 8:00 pm). Gloria Gifford directs the production which features the writings of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Sand, Isadora Duncan, Lord Byron, Omar Khayyam, Sei Shonagon and Wanda Gag, with music by John Scott and Gloria Gifford. It is produced by Jamaica Moon Productions and The GGC Players. Wild Things features dramatic interpretations of classic musings on love and life from great writers and poets of the past few centuries, along with some songs. It’s an evening of romance and fun, and despite the title, there’s no nudity involved…only the emotions are naked here. The cast includes Lauren Plaxco, Chad Doreck, Jade Warner and Bill Stevenson, as well as a revolving cast of other members of the GGC Players. Tickets: (310) 366-5505 or

    The Torrance Theatre Company will present A Man of No Importance written by Terrence McNally, with music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Mar 14 – Apr 12, directed by Glenn Kelman. Musical direction is by Jared Scott. A Man of No Importance tells the story of Alfie Byrne, a bus driver in 1964 Dublin, whose heart holds secrets he can’t share with anyone but his imagined confidante, Oscar Wilde. When Alfie attempts to put on an amateur production of Wilde’s Salome in the local church hall, he must confront the forces of bigotry, shame, and the fears of others. It is a tender and beautifully woven tale of love, friendship, and coming to terms with who we are. There will be a Q&A session following the April 10th performance with the cast following the show. Tickets: (424) 243-6882 or

    The upcoming west coast premiere of the new musicalBattledrum at Sierra Madre Playhouse will feature a double cast. The “Gettysburg” cast includes Joseph Ahern, David Crane, Will Cespedes, DJ Harner, Donzell Lewis, James Simenc andAlexandra Wright. The “Vicksburg” cast includes Tara Bopp, Will Cespedes, Chris Clower, Kaitlin Cournelle, Patrick Curry, Mark Ostrander and Damone Williams. Drum master and choreographer is Ovation Award winnerAmeenah Kaplan. Performances place March 7 – April 19 at Sierra Madre Playhouse with gala opening nights on Fri., March 7 and Sat., March 8 at 7:00 pm. Book & lyrics are by Doug Cooney and music is by Lee Ahlin. Battledrum is directed by Christian Lebano. Each performance will include a post-show talk led by a historian on California’s role in the Civil War and featured actors from the show.

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

    0 0

    The Pasadena Playhouse Theatre will present Gene Kelly: The Legacy, An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly for two performances only – Saturday, March 1 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, March 2 at 2:00 pm. During a unique evening, Patricia Ward Kelly - his widow, biographer and the person who knew him best - presents an intimate portrait of this dynamic and innovative artist who created some of the most memorable and iconic scenes in film history. Her compelling presentation combines rare and familiar film clips, previously unreleased audio recordings, personal memorabilia, and insights culled from her hours of interviews and conversations with her husband.

    Patricia Ward met Gene Kelly in 1985 in Washington, D.C., where she was the writer for a television special about The Smithsonian for which he was the host and narrator. Soon after, he invited her to California to write his memoir. They fell in love, married, and were together until his death in 1996.

    I never knew that about him. -- that’s one of the most common things I hear from people following my show. Even the newspaper in Gene’s hometown of Pittsburgh responded with the headline: ‘And we thought we knew Gene Kelly,’” says Patricia Ward Kelly. 

    “Many people know and love the person they see up on the screen, but few know the many dimensions of the man and his work. They do not know that he was fluent in French, was a Shabbos Goy who spoke Yiddish, studied economics, memorized and wrote poetry, frequently read a book a day, did The New York Times crossword puzzle in ink. That’s one of the things that is most rewarding for me about doing the show - sharing the little lower layers that make Gene come to life for people in new and interesting ways.”

    Currently, Patricia Ward Kelly serves as sole trustee of The Gene Kelly Image Trust and as Creative Director of Gene Kelly: The Legacy, a corporation established to celebrate Kelly’s artistry worldwide. She lives in Los Angeles where she is completing the definitive book about her late husband.

    Tickets are priced from $15 - $70. Also, available is a VIP ticket which includes a Preshow Meet & Greet with Mrs. Kelly and a reception for $150.00. For tickets call (626) 356-7529 or go to Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.

    For more Musicals in LA news:
    Become a Fan on Facebook
    Follow Musicals in LA on Twitter
    Click Here to return to home page

older | 1 | .... | 4 | 5 | (Page 6) | 7 | 8 | .... | 27 | newer