Tom Waldman is the host of “Rock and Roll” Stories, which airs each month in Southern California on television station KLCS. He’s co-author of “Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock and Roll from Southern California”, and author of “We All Want to Change the World: Rock and Politics from Elvis to Eminem”. When Tom was 10, in 1966, his favorite group was the Monkees. He still likes them a lot.
On a Monday morning, in June 1979, a limousine pulled in front of Tower Records in West Covina, where I worked at the time. A man and two women exited the vehicle. The trio wore identical black t-shirts with white lettering. As they approached the entrance, I noticed the man carried several albums under his arms.
For much of the Pierce College stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” various covers of the famous novel are projected high on a screen, reminding the audience that Harper Lee’s book remains one of the cultural milestones of the last 50t years.
Near the end of her recent concert at the Hollywood Masonic Lodge, the British singer Rumer (Sarah Joyce) told the audience that “there are billions and billions and billions of amazing people in the world, and hardly any evil people. It’s just that we hear about them more often.”
In “Class,” now at the Falcon Theatre, Elliot (Gildart Jackson) is a New York-based acting teacher who teaches very little acting. The only practical advice I gleaned from this 95-minute, one-act production was how to breathe properly.
Before the War on Terror, when September 11 was just another date on the calendar, there was the case of the Irish woman, her Arab lover, and a hidden bomb intended to blow an El Al airliner out of the sky. Playwright Lucile Lichtblau has changed certain details of that actual event, which occurred in 1986, for “The English Bride,” a one-act produced by the Road Theatre Company playing at the Road on Magnolia through April 26.
David Aaron (l.), Rachel Geis and Amanda McManus; Photo Credit: David Nott
At the Eclectic Theatre, the dead not only speak but also sing. I’m referring to the parade of deceased characters in “Spoon River: The Cemetery on the Hill,” an adaptation by Director Maureen Lucy O’Connell of Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology,” which turns 100 in 2015.
As Sally Bowles in the Pierce College production of “Cabaret”, Michelle Hallbauer executes her most nimble moves in scenes of pure dialogue, without musical accompaniment. When speaking to Cliff Bradshaw (Michael Beck), Sally’s overmatched lover, Hallbauer at various times spins, struts, strides and twirls. For this Sally, not only is all the world a stage, she intends to use every inch of it.
If you’re a fan of pop hits from the 1970s and 1980s, the songs in “Serial Killer Barbie” will seem like a dream weekend on an oldies radio station. Composer Nickella Moschetti has written several numbers for the world premiere musical, now at the NoHo Arts Center, with the pleasant bounce and instantly satisfying melodies that sold millions in their day.
Although the U.S. Army has yet to actually assign mechanical soldiers to the battlefield, that detail hasn’t stopped the playwright Samantha Macher from doing so in “Reset,” her compelling, stark, and bitterly funny one-act currently being performed at NoHo Actors Studio.
Mr. MacGuffin (Matthew Tyler) possesses the best pair of legs in the cast of “Scary Musical The Musical,” now having its world premiere at the NoHo Arts Center. We learn this an hour into the production’s first and only act, when MacGuffin, also known as the “gay drama teacher,” morphs into MacGuffin the expert cross-dresser, here clad as a member of the high school drill team. His long thin legs, adorned in fishnet stockings, could make a 5’ 11” supermodel jealous.