Reviews for North Hollywood Theatres, Burbank Theatres and shows Â now playing in Los Angeles and Hollywood theatres. Â Theatres include: Los Angeles Valley College, J.E.T. Studios, El Portal Theatre, Actors Forum Theatre, Madrid Theatre, ZJU, and many more.
The Group Rep presents
A World Premiere Comedy
Written by Phil Olson
Directed by Sherry Netherland
Produced by Laura Coker for the Group Rep
The holidays are upon us, and The Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre has the perfect addition to your ever-busy schedule. MOM’S GIFT, the world premiere family comedy written by the so talented Phil Olson and wonderfully directed by Sherry Netherland, gives us a heartwarming story in the vein of “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
When and how did you first get involved with theatre?
I was in 2nd grade at St. Anne’s Catholic School when I played ‘First Elf’ in our Christmas Play - - an elf who didn’t believe in the commercialization of Christmas.
“A Christmas Carol” Is A Real Christmas Enchantment At ZJU Theatre”
Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre in North Hollywood does exactly what they do best, present a classic story, in this case by Charles Dickens, and give it a fun, fresh, musically enriched and delightfully charming version of the age-old classic “A Christmas Carol.” An amazingly fun part of this production is that many of the performers take on several roles each, with full costume, attitude and vocal changes. Bravo cast!
“Christmas 2” Is A Pure Comic Holiday Romp Of Laughter!
Writer Director Jeff Goode has put together a wonderful twist on the holiday theme by telling an ‘alternate’ and extremely hysterical version of the people we thought we knew in the nativity. With a wildly colorful cast and an inventive, fresh take, SkyPilot Theatre in North Hollywood presents the world premiere of “Christmas 2."This play gives NoHo audiences a fantastically funny twist on what ‘might’ have happened at the original nativity, and it’s something not to be missed!
“Eclectic Sample of Comedy & Movie Stars is “The Belle Aires”
“12 Amazing Performances In “12 Angry Men”
The Pasadena Playhouse, in the most eloquent of theatrical traditions, presents a perfectly cast and finely performed work of "12 Angry Men" written by Reginald Rose back in 1954. Originally broadcast as a TV production on the show ‘Studio One’ and then later directed by Sidney Lumet in a major motion picture film with Henry Fonda (who also produced the film), Jack Klugman, E.G. Marshall, Lee J. Cobb and many more. It was then adapted into a play and became the pinnacle of the U.S. legal system and how bias and prejudice can seep into any man's (or woman’s) heart and cloud truth. This prevents anyone from seeing any reasonable doubt.
“Intensely Dramatic And Clever Is “Breaking and Entering”
Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre in North Hollywood has a new production that borders on the psychological thriller side of drama with a hint of ‘Twilight Zone’ mixed in and it’s called “Breaking and Entering.” Very cleverly written by Colin Mitchell with an almost narrative dialogue that the audience is actually listening in on, we learn the deep dark secrets of a writer's fan and the writer the fan obsesses on.
“Exit The King” Is An Adventure In Comedy”
“Exit The King” is an eclectic look at a king in an undeclared kingdom who is leaving his reign. His reign is apparently over a very long period of time and this king has influenced (or actually certain famous people of the past), with art and science, the ideas and dreams of artisans and philosophers of society and culture.
| Ondrej Psenicka, Mark Lewis, Mark Needle, Samantha LaBrecque and David Colville in
L.A. Pierce College's season opening production of the musical, "The Fantasticks,"
on stage Oct. 25-Nov. 3. Photo by Lynn Levitt
An actress named Samantha LaBrecque dominates the production of “The Fantasticks” playing at Pierce College through November 3. As Luisa, the young girl in love with Matt, LaBrecque, leans her body forward before delivering her lines in a spirited, melodious voice that soars across the tent that serves as the school’s theater, while a planned auditorium remains under construction.
In her vocal duets with Matt (Mark Needle), the slightly older boy in love with Luisa, LaBrecque’s operatic-sounding high-pitched vocals sound clearer to our ears than her partner’s careful, studied phrasing. We hear all the words she sings, but miss some of his.
Along with playing Luisa, LaBrecque is the show’s choreographer. Her compact, snappy routines, plus the fluid chords and snug rhythms of Cassie Nickols’ piano accompaniment, are the highpoints of this thoroughly satisfying production. The best example of the choreographer’s skill is displayed in “Round and Round”, composer Harvey Schmidt’s nod to experimental jazz. Six members of the eight-person cast are let loose to perform a series of free associative steps that expertly complement the shifting beats. In the dance number that accompanies the song “It Depends on What You Pay”, the two fathers, Hucklebee and Bellomy, played respectively by Mark Lewis and David Colville, execute a series of delightful twists, turns, mini-hops, and slides.
I don’t always understand the entertainment tastes of the American public, but the reasons for the unprecedented success of “The Fantasticks” were apparent to me the first time I saw it performed in a church basement in Pomona some 33 years ago. According to the Pierce College program, the show, which debuted in May 1960, has “become the longest-running production of any kind in the history of the American theatre.”
Arriving a few years before rock and roll and current events influenced the direction of the Broadway musical, “The Fantasticks” takes an overworked theme, first love, and transforms it with a soundtrack of unusual quality and variety, ranging from jazz to blues to the gorgeous ballad “Try to Remember”. The book and lyrics, by Tom Jones, consistently play off of each other in a witty two-step that one rarely finds in musical comedies.
More than 50 years after it opened, “The Fantasticks” is still the best show to bring that friend of yours who has never understood what makes musicals appealing. Indeed, the Pierce production would suit this purpose just fine. The other female in the cast, Michelle Hallbauer, shines in the role of a daffy veteran of provincial English Shakespeare companies. Her white-haired partner, Mortimer (Vance Wells) projects those very British eccentricities that Anglophiles know and love.
As El Gallo, Michael Hovance initially worried me with his rather lackluster rendering of the first two verses of “Try to Remember”. But by the conclusion of the song, his vocals had gained power. From that point to the end, he is a commanding narrator, as well as an adept comedic actor; El Gallo is given some of the funniest lines in the show.
Director Robert Cucuzza expertly blends all the elements that make “The Fantasticks” such a treat for theatergoers.
“The Fantasticks” runs through November 3 at Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Avenue, Woodland Hills. To order tickets, call 818-719-6488, or online at LAPCTheatre.brownpapertickets.com.
Michael Hovance, Mark Lewis, Mark Needle, Samantha LaBrecque and David Colville in
**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood's NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com.
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