In less than a month, 36 short films from 14 different schools throughout L.A. County will be featured at the third annual Los Angeles Student Media Festival.
West Coast Performing Arts Presenters & Rock N Roll, Inc. bring to North Hollywood '3 Faces of the King: An American Legend,' a musical production celebrating the music, life and legacy of Elvis Presley, starring Shawn Klush, Cody Slaughter, The Sweet Inspirations and the Elvis Tribute Orchestra with the Tennessee Horns.
'THE STARS OF BEATLEMANIA' TO ROCK NORTH HOLLYWOOD'S EL PORTAL THEATER JUNE 30-JULY 1 from the Stars of Beatlemania
Billed as 'the #1 National Touring Show in America Celebrating the Music of the Beatles,' the theatrical production of 'The Stars of Beatlemania! ' will be presented at North Hollywood's historic El Portal Theater for a one-week only limited engagement starting June 30. The musical revival, starring members of the original Broadway production, is the story of the Beatlemania phenomenon as told through the music that influenced generations of music lovers and musicians.
Thus far in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, illegal immigrants - code for Mexicans and people of Mexican descent - have been castigated more often than homosexuals or abortion, which may be a first. When Texas Governor Rick Perry backed the idea that deserving children of illegal immigrants should be eligible for federal aid to help pay for college, you'd have thought from the response of his competitors that he had called for a ban on hunting.
CoActive Content, Stacey Martino, Founder/Artistic Director, and American Latino Theatre Company, David Llauger-Meiselman, Artistic Director, will present a new co-production of the critically acclaimed play, "The King of the Desert," written by Stacey Martino, performed by René Rivera, and helmed by award-winning director, Sal Romeo, all Lifetime Members of The Actors Studio. The co-production will be presented in the Forum Theatre at the El Portal Theatre; 5269 Lankershim Boulevard (at Weddington Street), North Hollywood, CA 91601 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m., October 28 - December 4, 2011.
"The King of the Desert" is a play depicting a Mexican American boy's journey of self-discovery through adulthood and the realization of his dreams. This co-production is made possible in part through the generosity of The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol and Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7 FM. A portion of the proceeds from performances throughout the run of the show will benefit the National Latino Children's Institute, The Oscar De La Hoya Foundation and The Youth Policy Institute. A Talk Back Question and Answer Session with members of the play's cast and crew will be held at the conclusion of each Sunday matinee performance. Concurrently throughout the run of the play an art exhibition celebrating Mexican American culture by artist Maja will be on display in the lobby of the Forum Theatre at the El Portal Theatre, along with Milagros (artwork created by young Spanish children representing their dreams and aspirations). This unique and extremely interesting production caught my interest and I wanted to know more about Rene Rivera, Stacey Martino and Sal Romeo.
René Rivera (Performer) (of Los Feliz), a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio, has appeared on Broadway at Circle in the Square in "Salome" starring and directed by Al Pacino, a production in which Rivera played the role of the Page of Herodius, with Al Pacino playing the role of King Herod. Rivera's Off-Broadway credits include: "Richard II" and "In The Jungle of Cities" at The Public Theater in New York, Huntington Theatre in Boston and on PBS; "The Way of the World" directed by David Greenspan at The Public Theater; "Romeo and Juliet," "Macbeth" and "As You Like It," all directed by Estelle Parsons at The Belasco Theatre. Rivera's film credits include: "Disturbia;" "Before Night Falls;" "Bordertown;" "Oranges;" "Break A Leg;" "Lords of Dogtown;" "The Salton Sea;" "Me and Him;" "Light Sleeper;" "Carlito's Way" and "It Could Happen To You," among others. He is currently filming a new movie entitled "Smash" directed by Television credits include appearances on: "Prison Break" (FOX); "Shark" (CBS); "NYPD Blue" (ABC); "Thieves" (ABC); "Law and Order" (NBC); "The X-Files" (FOX); "E-Ring" (NBC); "Profiler" (NBC); "ER" (NBC); "Nash Bridges" (CBS); "Brooklyn South" (CBS); "The Out of Towners" (NBC); "Miami Vice" (the final episode - NBC); "The Old Man and The Sea" (NBC); "Hamlet" (PBS); and "Monsignor Martinez" (Pilot for FOX), among others.
What advice would you give an aspiring actor?
Rene: I would say many things, but I would probably start off by saying to never stop having faith in yourself as a person, to love and be faithful to yourself, to love and be faithful to your family, to take care of yourself, and all those you love. Also, to read the great plays of the world.
You came from humble beginnings. Can you tell us how you got into Julliard?
Rene: It was suggested I audition by my drama teacher in high school, Mark Blakney, and by a friend, Kathy Griffith who also attended Juilliard, and another friend, Steve Bailey. The three were mentors and guides for me. I auditioned in New Orleans at Tulane University. Steve Bailey and I drove from San Antonio, TX about 400 miles. I auditioned doing Brecht and Shakespeare. Two months later I found out I had been accepted when my dear mother called me at a local college I was attending, she haltingly read the acceptance letter over the phone. As she read, I just couldn't believe it, and immediately wondered if this was some kind of perverse prank, because it was April Fools Day!
If you had to pick your favorite theater role, what would it be and why?
Rene: All of them! Just kidding. I think I would probably say the character of "Poins" in "King Henry the IV parts 1 and 2" by William Shakespeare. He is a man who is friends with Prince Hal and Falstaff, who loves life, believes in helping people in need, loves mischief, drinking ale all night, understands the politics of the kingdom, he always stays faithful to himself, to his friends, and when he finally loses his best friends because of hypocrisy, he silently, and tearfully releases them from afar, only to continue his life of mischief and helping those in need of help. All while helping a few wenches here and there along the way.
Stacey has taught acting privately for the past 12 years in Los Angeles. She has also taught in Germany at the prestigious Neuschwanstein Theater in Münich. Stacey Martino (Playwright and Co-Producer) "The King of the Desert" has merged her passions for art and activism by writing, performing and producing plays, films and events focused on creating a world that works for everyone. As a writer, Martino has just completed her first book, in a series of children's books entitled, "Footlz," which teaches children discipline through empathy and compassion rather than a system of rewards and punishment. Other projects include: "If Not Me," a collection of poems about America and "Damage Assessment," a short story about her experience with The Red Cross during the 2005 hurricane season and a solo play entitled "Refuge."
Have you ever found combining social activism and art to be difficult?
Stacey: Yes, it can be difficult for several reasons. Art must always be entertaining as well as compelling and activism must compel people to action first and foremost. So striking that balance is vital in combining the two. Someone said to me early in my career, "If you want to send a message use Western Union." As much as I've always believed that theater is the most powerful tool for social change, I understood what they were saying. It is so important to provide audiences with more than a message or call to action; we must also provide an evening of entertainment. It can also be difficult sometimes because the social justice and "showbiz' worlds are often very different. Navigating the needs, etiquette and people of these two worlds without sacrificing the best of either can present many opportunities for creative solutions. When the merging of the two worlds work there is no more exciting or rewarding thing I can imagine. In the end, we are left with audiences impelled to act, artists sharing their gifts and both money and awareness raised for an important cause.
Which project you have completed is most dear to you?
Stacey: Sometimes particular projects are more successful in one area. One project may move audiences to get involved in a cause immediately and yet as an artist I may feel it was not my best work. Other times, it's a terrific creative venture but the call to action doesn't feel loud enough to the activist in me. The King of the Desert is the best of both worlds to me. It is so deeply personal as an writer, wife and mother that it holds a very special place in my heart. After the first production of this play I saw that it touched people from so many different walks of life and united audience members from divergent backgrounds. Seeing the differences melt away in a darkened theater has been one of the most treasured experiences of my life. This new production will be performed for many Latino youth from east LA and to see my husband open hearts and change lives in the next generation makes this play the most dear to me.
Sal Romeo an award-winning director, esteemed acting coach, and Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio started out an impassioned political science student in the early 60s. His first success in directing was the West Coast premiere of "Viet Rock" in 1969 - an anti-war play. Romeo went on to direct dozens more shows, winning over 30 Critic's Awards. By the late 1980s, the Stanislavski system became Romeo's passion, as did teaching. Currently Romeo can also be found coaching, teaching and directing students at his two theatres, The Sidewalk Studio Theater (Toluca Lake) and (North Hollywood). Romeo takes great pride in and has a deep love for his students, some of whom have gone on to win Academy, Golden Globe, Emmy and Grammy Awards, including Tamara Braun, Sarah Brightman, Gregory Norman Cruz, Avital Dicker, Ricky Martin, Kelly McGillis, Dustin Nguyen and Euginio Zanetti.
You have traveled the world producing and directing Theatre. How do you like operating Sidewalk Theatre in Toluca Lake?
Sal: I love working at The Sidewalk Studio Theater in Toluca Lake. Every time I walk in the door I am greeted by by all of the sweat, tears and joy that has been invested by the wonderful artists who have given a piece of their soul to make the Sidewalk all that it is. It's love is enveloping. As for Toluca Lake, we are on a tree lined block from another era with wonderful neighbors and Priscilla's, a great Coffee Shop with an artist clientele of every kind.
Considering the US is still at war would you consider bringing back "Viet Rock"?
Sal: What a brilliant question. In 1974, five years after I did the west coast premiere of Viet Rock I thought it's day had come and gone. Yet when the "shock and awe" campaign started in Iraq and I saw a little girl no older than 12 run for her life as the bombs bursting in air hit her home I re-read Viet Rock. Because of the style of the play and the very specific references I didn't feel it would play today. Since that day I have re-read it three more times each time hoping for a different feeling but it didn't come. So I had to find a different way to protest the wars. The play Home Front does a good job and it has been done often.
Editor's Note: A show worth seeing! http://nohoartsdistrict.com/theatre/now-playing/Theatres-in-North-Hollywood/El-Portal-Theatre/The-King-Of-The-Desert/details
Information and tickets are available online at www.elportaltheatre.com and www.thenvitational.com or by calling 818-508-4200 or 866-811-4111
After 10 years of hosting a variety of dance companies and performances, El Portal Directors Pegge Forrest and Jay Irwin wanted to create a unique dance event that would celebrate the incredibly high level of talent and versatility in the Los Angeles dance community. They approached choreographer Dee Caspary with the idea of a dance invitational/festival. Based on Caspary’s successful creative background at El Portal with his IV Dance Company and his national exposure on shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance,” they decided to team up and focus the spotlight onto this 21st century, vibrant, and artistically energizing dance population!
The Nvitational will be a series of collaborative events featuring dance from America’s best, boldest, edgiest, and fiercest choreographers including the festival’s Artistic Director, Dee Caspary and notables Marty Kudelka, Mandy Moore, Kitty McNamee, Ryan Heffington, Bubba Carr, Peter Chu, Tabitha and Napoleon, Tovaris Wilson, Kevin Maher, Eddie Garcia, Justin Giles, Scott Hislop, Terry Beeman, Jennifer Hamilton, Dana Wilson, Adam Parson, Nina McNeely, Helene Phillips, Erica Sobol, David Moore, Tessandra Chavez, Mark Meismer, Amanda Leise, Gustovo Vargas, CJ Salvador, Kim DelGrosso, Wes Veldink, and more to be announced.
These choreographers and their work have been seen worldwide on music videos and concert tours; on stage for operas and musical theatre; and the hit American television shows “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing With the Stars,” and “America’s Best Dance Crew.” For the first time, these choreographers will collaborate on world premiere dance pieces with each other, featuring dancers from their own companies as well as 75 hand-picked dancers from across the country.
These 75 dancers are the “invited” artists culled from dance workshops, intensives, master classes, and competitions throughout North America. Each choreographer has been given a limited number of invitations to offer to top dancers the opportunity to participate in this first-of-its-kind event. These selected artists will work with the star choreographers in group classes and individually every day, fully immersing themselves in each specialized dance style. In the afternoons the dancers will study with acting teachers, talent managers, photographers, and image consultants to prepare themselves for the professional life of a dancer. On the weekends, the dancers will then display their technique, artistry, and talent onstage as featured performers in the El Portal Theatre MainStage collaborative performances.
Additionally, the festival will host RARE one-hour “pre-show” performances in the intimate Forum Theatre by the choreographers themselves. For the first time, you can see the dances performed by the people who created them. Weekday performances in the Forum, titled A Night at the Piano, will feature a live pianist in the center of the room with the choreographers improvising in their respective styles to the live music. Because of the unique nature of these performances and the limited seating (99), we anticipate that these performances will sell out very quickly. The artistic vibe will spill over to the Skyy Vodka Lounge in the lobbies, where live musicians, fashion designers, and artists will share ideas, libations, and fun!
Information and tickets are available online at www.elportaltheatre.com and www.thenvitational.com or by calling 818-508-4200 or 866-811-4111
The Nvitational Dance Festival
Dee Caspary, Marty Kudelka, Mandy Moore, Kitty McNamee, Ryan Heffington, Bubba Carr, Peter Chu, Tabitha and Napoleon, Tovaris Wilson, Kevin Maher, Eddie Garcia, Justin Giles, Scott Hislop, Terry Beeman, Jennifer Hamilton, Dana Wilson, Adam Parson, Nina McNeely, Helene Phillips, Erica Sobol, David Moore, Tessandra Chavez, Mark Meismer, Amanda Leise, Gustovo Vargas, CJ Salvador, Kim DelGrosso, Wes Veldink, and more.
JULY 29 – AUGUST 14, 2011
Thurs, Fri, Sat - JULY 29, 30, 31 AUGUST 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14
Forum Pre-Show 6PM
Skyy Vodka Lounge Performance 7:30PM
Mainstage Showcase 8PM
Mon, Tues, Wed - AUGUST 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10
A Night at the Piano 7PM
Skyy Vodka Lounge Performance 7:30PM
Mainstage Showcase 8:30PM
Forum Theatre Show 6PM: $15 in advance, $20 at the door
A Night at The Piano 6:30PM: $15 in advance, $20 at the door
Mainstage Showcase 8PM: $25 in advance, $30 at the door
For Tickets call:
Or order online: www.elportaltheatre.com
"Boomermania", at the El Portal Theatre, inserts new lyrics into a slew of classic pop songs from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The two-hour musical has no obvious story, and six characters, described in the program as Man 1, Man 2, and Man 3, and Woman 1, Woman 2, and Woman 3. After it's over, you will depart the theater no more or less wise than when you entered.
Yet despite its lack of ambition, "Boomermania" plays quite well, combining songs such as "Stay", "Mony, Mony", "I Can't Help Myself", The Beat Goes On", "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Staying Alive", with economical, engaging choreography, and seductively self-satisfying performances from each cast member. Most of the songs spoof rampant consumerism -- frozen food, fast food, big television sets - pop culture fads, disco above all, and, student protests. The creators of "Boomermania", Debbie Kasper and Pat Sierchio, have substituted several clever rhymes for lyrics that will be known by the majority of audience members 50 or over, and probably many younger ones as well.
Kasper and Sierchio risk inciting a riot by turning Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" into a song about cell phones (rhymes with "stoned") but the night I attended, no one in the audience booed or walked out. On the other hand, they deserve the highest praise for choosing the "Na, Na, Na, Na" opening from "Land of a Thousand Dances" for the audience sing-a-long; that version was first recorded by East LA's own Cannibal and the Headhunters in 1965. The show is fast-paced and loud, like bubblegum hits of the 1960s and early 1970s. On occasion, it can be too much, especially the spoken interludes involving whiny teen-agers and their clueless parents. At these times, we are especially grateful when the excellent, three-piece group plays the opening bars of another familiar song, and the actors can go back to being singers and dancers.
The only number that should be immediately removed from "Boomermania" is a straightforward rendering of the mournful ballad "Reflections", which occurs as the obvious images - Dallas, Vietnam, Memphis, the Ambassador Hotel, race riots, Chicago, Woodstock - are projected on a screen above the stage. The somber tone and message are so different from the rest of the two-hour production that one wonders if "Reflections" was added at the insistence of a nervous producer, who wanted to ensure that politics was not overlooked.
Boomermania's superb cast consists of Daniel Amerman (#1 man), Paul Lange (#2), Dylan Vox (#3), Susan Huckle (woman #1), Kimberly Wood (#2), and Alison Friedman (#3). The choreographer is Edward Carignan; Mary Ekler, who plays keyboards in the accompanying band, also serves as musical director.
"Boomermania" runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. through May 15th. Tickets are $42 for all performances.
The El Portal Forum Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood.
For tickets, call 866-811-4111 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com
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