If you are interested in Neil Diamond and his music, run don’t walk to the 3,000 Miles Off Broadway Productions production of “Hot August Night! A Tribute to Neil Diamond” at The Monroe/ Forum Theatre at The El Portal Theatre in the NoHo Arts District running through June 15th.

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.

El Portal Theatre and Artistic Director Dee Caspary present the first annual Nvitational Dance Festival from July 29 through August 14, 2011. Performances will be held at the historic El Portal Theatre in the NOHO Arts District, encompassing both the Mainstage and Forum Theatres.


Information and tickets are available online at and or by calling 818-508-4200 or 866-811-4111

Nvitational Dance Festival at El Portal Theatre on www.nohoartsdistrict.comAfter 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.

Nvitational Dance Festival at El Portal Theatre on

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 and 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:





"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

Ballroom with a Twist -- Edyta Sliwinska, Alec Manzo in Paso Doble
with Celebrity Hosts NIECY NASH (Jan 21-23)  and  JANE SEYMOUR (Feb 4-6)  Conceived & Choreographed by Louis Van Amstel 
What a fun evening!!!  Louis Van Amstel from “Dancing With the Stars” (celebrity partners, Niecy Nash, Kelly Osbourne, Priscilla Presley and Lisa Renna, and choreographer of the live Dancing With the Stars tour) brings us a jammed packed, fun-filled show featuring “DWTS” pros Alec Mazo, Jonathan Roberts, Edyta Sliwinska and Anna Trebunskaya, and “American Idol” finalists David Hernandez and Gina Glocksen.

Spending an evening with Toni Morrell and her Legendary Ladies is one to treasure. This lady, as I've reviewed her in My American Dream, is one hell of a singer and actress who embodies a star, and underneath possesses the warmth and radiance of a genuine human being.

With the expertise of producer and director Karen Cadle and superb musician/husband David Dial,
Morrell never does an impersonation, but lovingly brings the ladies to life - both living and deceased - primarily through song and anecdotes and also via film and video.

Highlights of the evening include: Dame Shirley Bassey "My Life", an Edith Piaf medley with her signature "Je Ne Regrette Rien", a lovely "Smile" for blondes Marilyn Monroe and Lady Diana, shy and misunderstood, true divas Barbra, Bette and Cher with "Memories", "I Remember You" and "If I Could Turn Back time" respectively, "Unforgettable" for Shirley MacLaine, an audience participation with "Falling in Love" and Marlene, "Before the Parade Passes by" for Carol Channing, "Is That All There Is?" for Miss Peggy Lee, "From This Moment On" for Lena Horne, "Some People" to the Broadway ladies of Gypsy and a glorious medley to the greatest legend of all time, Judy Garland, with "Quiet Please, There's a Lady Onstage" a heartfelt and fitting salute.

There is a hilarious montage of clips to theBad Girls of Hollywood, including Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Barbra Stanwyck, Faye Dunaway and even Meryl Streep from "The Devil Wears Prada", and, an extra special treat on opening night was an onstage tribute to the Hitchcock Blondes and Miss Tippi Hedren, still stunningly beautiful at 80 years old. Morrell and Dial closed Act I with their video salute to "Shambala" (song composed by Dial), Hedren's very special place for all those glorious wild animals who need our help for preservation. There is also a talk back session in Act II with Karen Cadle and some of her wonderful stories about interviews she's produced with her favorites such as Hedren and the unique Miss Audrey Hepburn.

This is a wonderful evening in the theatre not to be missed. Sensational Toni Morrell will be entertaining, as only she can do, through December 31 in the Forum Theatre of the El Portal, so don't miss out!

5+ out of 5 stars

for tickets, visit:
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