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"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
2010 Tony Award - Best Play
Drama Desk Award - Outstanding Play
Outer Critics Circle Award - Outstanding New Broadway Play
"Artful, thoughtful and very moving." - The New York Times
"A potent piece of political theater." - Variety
As timely as it is touching, NEXT FALL exposes the fundamental truth that we love family and friends both because of - and in spite of - who they are. For more info, log on here.
After a successful Broadway run, the electrifying Latin and ballroom dance spectacular BURN THE FLOOR is playing at the Pantages Theatre for a limited 2 week engagement, NOW - May 8, 2011. This Los Angeles engagement features So You Think You Can Dance alumni Anya Garnis, Pasha Kovalev, Robbie Kmetoni, Janette Manrara, and Karen Hauer. Also featured is Vonzell Solomon, second runner-up in Season Four of American Idol, who is BURN THE FLOOR's female vocalist.
Featuring 20 champion dancers in an energetic theatrical experience, BURN THE FLOOR has received raves from critics worldwide, including The New York Times which called the show "Dazzling!" and The Times (London), which called it "the summer's hottest ticket!" This NoHoArtsDistrict.com critic adds to these rave reviews...."the best entertainment I have seen in years." On Opening Night the audience gave a standing ovation with continuous screams of delight throughout the show and it was well deserved. The consistent high level of energy by the dancers was electrifying. BURN THE FOOR exemplifies why TV or film cannot compare to "live performance."
Every single dancer was magnificent in both technique and as veteran entertainers. From Harlem's hot nights at The Savoy, where dances such as the Lindy, Foxtrot and Charleston were born, to the Latin Quarter, where the Cha-Cha, Rumba and Salsa steamed up the stage, Burn the Floor takes audiences on a journey through the passionate drama of dance. The elegance of the Viennese Waltz, the exuberance of the Jive, the intensity of the Paso Doble - audiences will experience them all, as well as the Tango, Samba, Mambo, Quickstep and Swing.
BURN THE FLOOR is directed and choreographed by Jason Gilkison. Mr. Gilkison, along with dance partner Peta Roby, are Australia's most successful dance couple, winning the World, British and International Ballroom Dance championships. Recent choreography includes Aspects of Dance in the West End and the Australian tour of Happy Days. He is also a guest choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance in the US & Australia. BURN THE FLOOR is produced on tour by Harley Medcalf, Joe Watson, Richard Levi, Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, March Routh, Raise The Roof One and Toppall/Stevens/Mills, Benigno/Klein, Caldwell/Allen, Carrpailet/Danzansky, Bud Martin, The Production Studio, by special arrangement with Dance Partner Inc.
Tickets for BURN THE FLOOR may be purchased online at www.BroadwayLA.org or by phone at 1-800-982-ARTS (2787). Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Pantages Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. The Pantages Theatre is located at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, just east of Vine Street, and the box office opens daily at 10am. The performance schedule for BURN THE FLOOR is Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm.
Single tickets for BURN THE FLOOR range in price from $25 - $78. Prices are subject to change without notice.
For tickets or more information about BURN THE FLOOR's Los Angeles engagement, please visit the Pantages Theatre's official website, www.BroadwayLA.org. Don't miss this fabulous show...only here now through May 8
Musical theatre is America's gift to the world & WEST SIDE STORY is its best present, having thrilled audiences for over fifty years.
WEST SIDE STORY'S book, music, lyrics, and choreography remain timeless in the current tour offering at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. This production is modeled after the 2009 Broadway revival of the Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim musical, directed by Arthur Laurents. This revival brings with it high energy and a fresh new approach of the re-telling of the ROMEO AND JULIET tragedy of star-crossed lovers, forbidden love, and gang conflict set against the backdrop of the mid-1950s New York's mean streets.