In the mid-1950s, the American musical was thriving and labor unions were strong. Fifty years later, musicals are making a comeback -- "Spider Man" notwithstanding -- but the labor movement continues its steady decline.

Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners Presents The World Premiere of COUNTER MEN

Written by Chuck Faerber
Directed by Richard Kuhlman

COUNTER MEN

The World Premiere dramady, COUNTER MEN, has opened at The Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Written by Chuck Faerber and directed by Richard Kuhlman, COUNTER MEN examines diverse opinions about the Iraq war and how it affects our relationships with the people around us. Conservative, liberal, minority, and those in the middle all have a say here.

3867.jpgThe second production in The Colony Theatre Company’s 37th successful season is the wonderful ON GOLDEN POND. Originally written by Ernest Thompson as a play in 1979, and presented to critical and popular acclaim on Broadway, this delightful script was developed into the winning 1981 film.

We all know the story of ON GOLDEN POND. Brusque and cantankerous Norman Thayer, Jr. (Hal Linden) and his high-spirited and energetic wife, Ethel (Christina Pickles) arrive for their 48th annual summer to their home on Golden Pond, Maine. Their daughter Chelsea (Monette Magrath) is bringing her new fiancé, Bill (Jonathan Stewart) and his son Billy (Nicholas Podany) to meet the family. They ask Norman and Ethel to allow Billy to stay for the summer so they may have some time to themselves. Mailman Charlie Martin (Jerry Kernion) and Chelsea were childhood friends, and Charlie’s continuing love for Chelsea touches us with poignancy and amusement.

fleetwood macbeth

Near the end of the Troubadour Theater Company’s “Fleetwood Macbeth”, at the Falcon Theatre through August 14th, an uncharacteristically subdued Morgan Rusler (Macbeth) walks to the side of the stage and informs an audience that has been in hysterics for two hours that life is a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Having just faithfully delivered one of the most famous speeches in all of Shakespeare, Rusler adds quickly, “and now, back to the play”.

It’s a moment that perfectly captures both the intent and spirit of the “Troubies” – as they seem to be known to everyone – original blend of classic Fleetwood Mac hits with the plot and best-known speeches from “Macbeth”and a slew of comedy sketches that variously reference contemporary politics, pop culture, local businesses, Valley geography, sex, and body parts.

Whenever the production veers too close to authentic Shakespeare, either the four-piece rock band plays another song or the performers go into wacky mode.  Still, though this version is not designed to appeal to purists of the Bard, we never forget that without “Macbeth” there would be no “Fleetwood Macbeth”.

Salome @ ZJU

In this year of the Arab Spring, and with American forces in Iraq and above Libya, it would be tempting for any director to oversell the similarities between the Middle East today and as portrayed in Oscar Wilde's "Salome". In the play, the established order is threatened by the presence of John the Baptist, a humorless, single-minded devotee of someone called Jesus Christ, about whom little is known by the other characters except that he may have turned water into wine.

Robert A. Prior, who directs the current, one-act, one-hour production of "Salome" at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group, has neatly balanced the ancient and the contemporary. The three soldiers, military fatigues draped over their muscular torsos, could pass as extras from "The Hurt Locker". On the other hand, the lead character, wearing a simple grayish blue dress and understated tiara, looks like she might have been a desert-based queen from long ago, and this John the Baptist is notable for his long, stringy black hair and loin cloth. Prior's adroit staging encourages us to hold two thoughts, which are neither in conflict nor a distraction, about politics then and now in that ever-churning part of the world.

Closet Land

 

Written by Radha Bharadwaj

Directed by John McCormick

Produced by The Visceral Company - Now playing at NOHO Stages

The Visceral Company has conspired to produce a dark, suspenseful, twisted tale of mystery and horror.  Victoria Rabitcheff plays a woman arrested in the night, and ruthlessly questioned by a government official played convincingly by Wayne Stribling Jr. She is subjected to various intense types of 'enhanced interrogation' which focuses on a children's book called "Closet Land" which she was preparing for publication.  As the gripping story unfolds, we learn that the man has been monitoring "the woman" since she was a little girl - often hiding in the closet where the clothes come to life in her fantasies.  It is this man's connection to her childhood that unearths a surprise ending. Who would have thought that it would turn out like this? The man is desperate to hide what had happened between them years ago, and he does not hold back the torment and fear tactics to protect his nasty secret.

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Written by Dina Morrone
Directed by Peter Flood
Produced by Stephen E. Rivkin and Zeke Rettman

Way Up Bay, a remote little town in Ontario, Canada, is the setting for the wonderfully funny and entertaining World Premiere of the new comedy, MOOSE ON THE LOOSE, at Theatre West.  Loosely based on true events, Dina Morrone has written a witty, warmhearted story giving us a “moose-eye” view into Italian-American family experiences and traditions.

I'm just wild about harry - crown city theatre

Crown City Theatre Company presents - Gary Lamb and William A. Reilly’s

I’M JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY

A Musical adapted from Brandon Thomas’s “Charley’s Aunt”

Adapted by Gary Lamb and William A. Reilly

Directed by Joanne McGee

The hilarious new musical, I’M JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY, based on Brandon Thomas’s fantastic English farce, “Charley’s Aunt”, has opened at the Crown City Theatre Company in North Hollywood.  Adapted from Thomas’s original play from the late 19th Century, Gary Lamb and William A. Reilly have given us a fun-filled musical comedy that will thoroughly entertain and amuse audiences.

College Students, Harry Whitman (Matthew Thompson) and Jack Chesney (Mikhail Roberts) are in love and want to marry their sweethearts.  They pressure friend and fellow student Babbs Babberley (Douglas Thornton) to masquerade as Harry’s wealthy Aunt Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez (Carol Jones) from Brazil (“where the nuts come from”) to chaperone visits from the honorable and sweet Katy Spettigue (Melanie Taylor) and Margie Verdun (Sarah French).  Miss Spettigue is the niece and Miss Verdun the ward of cantankerous Mr. Spettigue (Louis Silvers) who is intent on keeping both young ladies virtuous, and keeping their fortunes for himself.  To impersonate Aunt Donna, Babberley dresses in drag and charms both Jack’s father, Frank Chesney (Dave Berges) and Mr. Spettigue with uproarious results. Then we have Babbs’ love interest, Ida Delahay (Lisaun Whittingham) who thinks she is onto Babbs pretense.

sex and educatiion

The Victory Theatre Center presents - A New Comedy by Lissa Levin

Directed by Dan Guntzelman

Produced by Tom Ormeny

The new one-act comedy by award-winning Los Angeles playwright, Lissa Levin, SEX AND EDUCATION at The Victory Theatre’s Big Victory offers audiences a raucously intense adult comedy to enjoy, and directed by the talented Dan Guntzelman (WKRP in Cincinnati, Growing Pains).

Graduating High School Basketball star, Joe Marks (Kanin Guntzelman), is suddenly in danger of not graduating and potentially losing his college scholarship.  He has written a profanely erotic note to his hot cheerleader girlfriend (Jessica McKee) which is intercepted by retiring English teacher, Miss Edwards (Maria Gobetti), during his last final exam before graduation ceremonies.  Miss Edwards threatens to jeopardize Joe’s future.  What commences is a contest between Joe and Miss Edwards, and after years of disrespect from students, Miss Edwards challenges Joe to “analyze” and rewrite a better letter.  We see Joe, with his sense of entitlement because of his skill as a basketball player, defy and question his teacher and her motives.  Miss Edwards imposes all the years where fulfillment was unattainable as a teacher onto Joe, turning her resentment into verbal combat.  But sports strategy serves Joe well and he uses this to appeal his situation.  Vignettes by all the characters explain how the past has brought us to this moment, and we meet the Cheerleader, Joe’s love interest.

Lissa Levin’s intelligent script, Dan Guntzelman’s direction and the ensemble cast of talented actors, bring intensity to the performance.  The one-act play invites us to not lose intensity with an intermission.  It succeeds and you gain the full objective of SEX AND EDUCATION.  Both teacher and student learn lessons of life.  There is extensive adult language which for the most part is integral to the subject.  Be prepared for heavy use of the “F”, “C”, and “BJ” words.

This West Coast premiere at The Victory Theatre’s Big Victory of SEX AND EDUCATION is a smart, adult, persuasive conversation between two large personalities. While profane, the script is extremely literate with extensive use of the English language…That is a welcome respite.  I found it more ironic than funny.  Sometimes Miss Edward’s is right, sometimes Joe’s right.  You decide.

Enjoy!!!!

 

Cast:  Maria Gobetti, Kanin Guntzelman, Jessica McKee

 

Director:   Dan Guntzelman

 

Producer: Tom Ormeny

 

Co-Producer:  April Dammann

 

Set Design:     Gary Randall

 

Lighting Design:  Carol Doehring

 

Sound Design: Rob Corn

 

Cheerleader Choreography:  Anna Valendez

 

Graphic Design:  Studio Fuse, Inc.

 

Stage Manager:  Robin Woodruff

 

Theatre Administrator:  Suzie Gardner

 

Artistic Directors for the Victory Theatre Center:  Tom Ormeny & Maria Gobetti

 

 

 

The Victory Theatre Center’s

 

Big Victory

3326 W. Victory Blvd.

Burbank, CA  91505

818.841.5421

www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org

 

Performances:

June 3 – July 10, 2011

 

Plays:

Fridays & Saturdays @ 8:00pm

Sundays @ 4pm

 

Tickets:

Friday & Saturday: $24

Preferred seating: $34 all performances

Group and Senior Citizen rates available

 

THE COLONY THEATRE presents YEAR ZERO

Written by Michael Golamco
Directed by David Rose

The Colony Theatre begins its fabulous 37th season with the West Coast Premiere of YEAR ZERO, written by Los Angeles based Michael Golamco, an emerging playwright and screenwriter whose compelling characters introduce us, with humor, sensitivity and hope, to the little known struggles of Cambodian-Americans.

Vuthy is 16, loves rap and hip hop, play’s video games.  He and his older sister Ra are coming to terms with their Mother’s recent death, reflecting on their Mother’s sacrifices fleeing the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1980’s, and starting a new life in Long Beach, California to give her children a better life.  Ra, a pre-med student at Berkley lives with her Chinese-American doctor and well-meaning boyfriend, Glenn.  But during her return to clear out her Mother’s apartment and arrange for Vuthy to live with a close friend of the family while finishing school, she is attracted to  “bad boy” and gang member, Han.  Han loves Ra, and shares with her intimate details of her past that neither Ra or Vuthy knew.  The entire cast is incredibly appealing and talented.  David Huynh as Vuthy, Christine Corpuz as Ra, Tim Chiou as Han, and Eymard Cabling are superb and draw us into this immigrant saga.  They all give superb, truthful performances and enhance this heartfelt play.

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