Reviews for North Hollywood Theatres, Burbank Theatres and shows now playing in Los Angeles and Hollywood theatres. Theatres include: Los Angeles Valley College, J.E.T. Studios, El Portal Theatre, Actors Forum Theatre, Madrid Theatre, ZJU, and many more.
directed by John McColgan
@ Pantages Theatre
through November 20 only
From the top Riverdance is defined as journey...that takes us from land to water and back, or from land to sky and back, from one land to another, even... from one life to the next... oh, what awesome journeys Riverdance enfolds! Incorporating dance, song and music, both traditional and contemporary, the show began in 1994 as a salute to these art forms but not without an abundance of variety. According to director John McColgan, it would be impossible to represent Irish dance without presenting ballet or Spanish flamenco, and so the Irish Dance Troupe includes dancers from Australia, Great Britain, and Spain. One great highlight of Act I is the Firedance with Flamenco soloist Marita Martinez-Rey...
who stops the show with her dazzling display of fast, graceful footwork and inspired beauty. Footwork of the flamenco style certainly has a lot in common with the steadily heavy footwork of Irish dancing, but you must see both to appreciate how one may have influenced the other. Dance as a part of culture must be appreciated by future generations in order to be maintained, and thus in journeying to new lands, it acquires new steps and further growth. In Act II, no greater example of this change is to be seen than in The Harbour of the New World sequence where the baritone soloist Michael E. Wood trades taps with Irish dancer Craig Ashurst.
Styles have assuredly changed but they merge beautifully when represented side by side. Other highlights of this spectacular evening include: Thunderstorm, where the Irish male dancers let off steam as well as some gutteral primal screams, The Countess Cathleen by the lasses, and the title number the colorful "Riverdance" as the Act I finale. Within the song segments my favorite is "Heal Their Hearts-Freedom" by the baritone soloist Michael E. Wood who so magnificently shows off his double skill with singing, then dancing Trading Taps immediately thereafter. The 5 musicians are all terrific: the Irish Piper gives us "Lament", then the fiddler, the flautist, and those sensational drummers, whose loud and thunderous beats add so much vibrancy to the harmonious sounds of the tapping shoes, offer equally mesmerizing solos. Drums and taps combined create an indescribably electric energy that literally drives you to the edge of your seat.
Bravo to the lead dancers Craig Ashurst, Caterina Coyne, Alana Mallon, Padraic Moyles, Jason O'Neil and Chloey Turner and to the other 18 of the dance ensemble. Kudos as well to the Riverdance Band with musical director Declan Masterson, Piper Matt Bashford, fiddler Pat Mangan, drums Mark Alfred and saxophonist Dave McGauran. To tappers Michael E. Wood and Ben Mapp and to all the glorious singing members of the company, a hearty thank you.
Dancing, singing and music keep a culture alive and all peoples thriving and happy. Without them...well, let's hope they never die. Go see Riverdance and come alive through this Sunday November 20 only!
From the clever and inventive brain cells of David P. Johnson comes a witty and spooktacular musical, "Sally Spectre". Five year old Sally met her demise at the end of a hatchet, circa 1900 New Orleans. We find her trapped in a purgatory of her own mind, a place constructed by her memories, a child's bedroom with a few of her favorite toys. She cannot open the door--- she is trapped. When she looks out the window, the neighborhood kids scream and run away. She has nasty headaches now and then--- probably due to the hatchet that is embedded in her skull, which she is completely unaware of. She has accepted her fate of isolation and confinement, though she realizes that something is very wrong. Why has she not grown up or aged these last fifty years? Why can't she go outside? Why does her head hurt?
She copes with all this because her toys talk to her, they love and support her. They realize that she doesn't know the truth, but they also know that only she can face the facts--- they can't do it for her. The covered mirror by the toy box proves that she is not ready for the truth---yet.
Will she face the image in the mirror and free herself from this web of uncertainty?
This tasty book by David P. Johnson is reminiscent of Tim Burton's spooky stories. Designed for adults over about 9, it is a perfect balance of pathos, comedy, songs and fun. Replete with toy characters and wraiths, the fully talented cast is clearly Broadway caliber. The music is sophisticated, complex, and perfectly structured. Stephen Sondheim is lurking about within the bars, beats, and melodies of this delightful libretto. Enticing melodies, sweet harmonies, and clever lyrics make every song a show-stopper. The orchestra is comprised of Johnson at the keyboard, and his musical skills are nothing short of genius. Not one wrong note the entire evening, and it was completely memorized!
Janet Miller's direction and staging is tight and pithy. Every move and beat is exactly right. The costumes were designed by a cadre of experts, and perfectly enhances the fantasy. The simple set is a focused design that really placed us in the little girl's imagination.
Perfect for the halloween season, this show is a must-see. Strange and wonderful, sweet and macabre all at once, with rich and alluring music, this truly heartwarming fantasy beckons. Don't miss this. It evaporates on November 20.
Sally Spectre the Musical
4934 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
General Tix $25.00
Fridays at 8:30 pm
Saturdays at 8 pm
Sundays at 7 pm
Crown City Theatre Presents
Written by John Patrick Shanley
Directed by John McNaughton
This is not your ordinary love story. Bringing together two troubled souls in DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, author John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, Moonstruck, Joe vs. The Volcano) shows us how an unlikely relationship that we don’t think has a chance in hell of working out …seems to. This latest play from the Crown City Theatre Company is full of raw anger, desperation, and performances by two superb actors.
Roberta (Juliet Landau) and Danny (Matthew J. Williamson) meet in a sleazy bar in the Bronx, where, over a pitcher of beer, we witness these stranger’s emotional and sometimes physical stories. Each of them is haunted by their pasts. Danny, bloody and bruised from almost beating a man to death, is incredibly out of control and full of rage. Roberta is struggling with family issues. Not threatened by Danny’s wildness and intensity, she reaches out to him for companionship. She draws him back to her room in her parent’s house where they end up spending the night, coming together in their loneliness.
Juliet Landau (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANGEL, ED WOOD) is spectacular as Roberta. Matthew J. Williamson (SEDONA, HELTER SKELTER) is fantastic as Danny. Each of these excellent actors transports us into the emotional lives of two incredibly damaged people, and how love and hate collide between two strangers.
Director John McNaughton has engulfed us in the lives of Danny and Roberta, and the set and lighting design only intensifies our relationship with the characters.
This was a very hard show for me to watch. Yet, I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage. I didn’t even realize there was a stage because I was so caught up in the lives of these two struggling, painfully disturbed people. As I said at the top of this review, this is not your ordinary love story. But it is a love story nonetheless. It is full of offensive language and intense anger. It is also full of redemption and release. It is also a play you must see!
Cast: Juliet Landau and Matthew J. Williamson
Director: John McNaughton
Produced by: Crown City Theatre Company – William A. Reilly, Kimberly Bullock, Ben Rovner, Gary Lamb, Joanne McGee
Set Design: Keiko Moreno
Costume Design: Tanya Apuya
Lighting Design: Gary Lamb
Lighting Consultant: Tony Potter
Production Stage Manager: Kimberly Bullock
Production Photos: Deverill Weekes
Publicity: Deverill Weekes and Gary Lamb
Crown City Theater (located on the campus of St. Matthew’s Church)
11031 Camarillo Street
North Hollywood, CA 91602
Previews: October 18th & 19th
Performances: October 21st – December 18th, 2011
Plays: Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm
Tickets: $20 for previews, $25 general admission
For more information: www.crowncitytheatre.com or 818.605.5685
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.
"This review was first posted on http://www.ArtsBeatLA.com"
Justin Tanner’s Voice Lessons drops us into a strange relationship between a deluded community theatre wanna-be actress and the uptight and overeducated vocal coach she hires to make her a star.
This comedy starts off quite crazy and becomes increasingly manic over the course of its breakneck 50 minutes.
A strapped-for-cash vocal coach (French Stewart) enters into a nerve-fraying bargain when he accepts a large fee and agrees to give a psychotic woman (Laurie Metcalf) singing lessons. Their weekly “lessons” become increasingly bizarre as all sorts of unexpected situations emerge. Justin Tanner’s excruciatingly funny one act play also stars Maile Flanagan (also currently appearing in Tanner’s Day Drinkers at the Odyssey Theatre, recently extended for three weeks through Sunday, November 20, 2011.)
We all know someone who is opinionated, tactless and uncomfortable to be around; someone who lacks a filter between their mind and their mouth. Tanner has fashioned a character that is so outré, you simply cannot believe the verbal diarrhea that gushes forth. Metcalf as Virginia is so garrulous, gauche and obnoxious, she’s agonizingly hilarious to watch. Complementing this character’s outrageous, line-crossing behavior are her increasing outlandish outfits. Short scenes and quick changes see Metcalf reappearing in odd printed dresses, velour athletic ensembles and even a yellow catsuit teamed with a black beret. Her electric blue eye shadow is icing on the crazy cake.
Meanwhile, Stewart’s character Nate struggles to maintain composure throughout, yet even he has his breaking points as we see his sarcasm beginning to leak out. Some of the play’s best surprises are his bitter outbursts and his similarly skewed fashion sense. Maile Flanagan is equally fantastic as a peripheral character whose presence infers some amusingly contentious back story.
Now in its third LA staging, this acclaimed comedy trio is reuniting once again for this season at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, under the direction of Bart Delorenzo. Previous productions include an extended run at the Zephyr Theater in West Hollywood early 2009, and a highly successful run at Sacred Fools Theatre earlier this year. Additionally, French Stewart is a multiple Ovation Award nominee this year for his performance in Voice Lessons and also in Watson – The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes, Sacred Fools Theatre).
Voice Lessons is a perfect case of comedic writing teamed with riotously zany performances – do not miss this play!
Photo credit: Ed Krieger.
13500 Ventura Boulevard,
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Runs until Sunday, November 6, 2011
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.;
Sundays at 7:00 p.m.
Approximately 55 minutes, no intermission
Human beings are imbued with a sense of historical inevitability. Once an event happens, we believe it had to have happened, and in just that way; the rise of Hitler, the fall of the Soviet Union, the toppling of Arab dictators in rapid succession.
The Group Rep presents Agatha Christie’s Classic Murder Mystery
Directed by Shira Dubrovner
Produced by Linda Alznauer for the Group Rep
It’s Fall, and the evenings are cooler. Halloween is upon us. What could be more perfect but a classic “whodunit”! The Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre brings us AGATHA CHRISTIE’S Classic Murder Mystery, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, wonderfully directed by Shira Dubrovner and produced by Linda Alznauer for the Group Rep.
by Nancy Bianconi, Editor
When people say theatre goers are usually over 40, they need to come to NoHo. The Sherry Theatre was packed with "20 something people" enjoying a stage production creatively interwoven with film. I don't want to give away the plot of the story but I will say "Don't miss this thought provoking play about power, greed and horrifying evils of insane asylums today. The question that stayed with me after the show was..."What is normal when it comes to the human condition?"
By The Visceral Company
The Historic Lankershim Arts Center
5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA. 91601
Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm.
Sunday matinees at 3pm.
Playing through November 6, 2011
If you are one of many Stephen King fans, you must see "Dead of Night", now playing at the historic Lankershim Arts Center. The Visceral Company has cooked up a feast of six stories in all, with a fifteen minute intermission. These are new original mini-plays, each based on stories by Stephen King. Here you will be drawn in to each characters ploy and wonder how its going to be played out? All the ingredients that King fans enjoy are boldly displayed. Murder. Serial killers. Premonitions. Evil other-world conspirators. All played out in the dark-night mists and fogs within which Stephen King loves to place his stories. And don't worry, the actors have nailed their parts, from beginning to end, and nothing was left out! Each story explores the dark side of human psychology. That's right, you'll practically be chewing off your fingernails trying to anticipate the edge-of-your-seat endings! Reminiscent of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, these tightly directed stories lead you down a twisting path to ironic, and sometimes disturbing conclusions.
Don't be the only one among your friends to have missed out on these great plays, all brought to you by very passionate and talented actors! So, if anyone is to blame for you missing out on this cult classic series, it will be you!
For a satisfying theatrical evening, go to www.thevisceralcompany.com for tickets and info.
Book & Lyrics by Phil Olson
Music by Paul Olson
Directed by Doug Engalla
Choreography by Stan Mazin
Fourth in a series of “Don’t Hug Me” musicals, DON’T HUG ME, I’M PREGNANT returns to the little north woods bar “The Bunyan” in Bunyan Bay, Minnesota, owned by Gunner and Clara Johnson. Also returning are the wonderful characters, new terrific original songs, great choreography and belly-filled laughs.