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Tuesday, 05 April 2011 09:39

BLIND SPOTS

Written by

Sibling rivalry and one-upmanship reach sinister heights when two sisters with diametrically opposed beliefs clash in Colette Freedman's patchy black comedy. The setting is a small East Coast university town. Gretchen (Vanessa Waters), a gay journalist, becomes incensed and decides to publish an editorial damning the anti-gay decrees from the liberal-arts college president. Problem is, this president is her abusive, homophobic older sister, Kate (director Elise Robertson). Gretchen's act of public humiliation ignites an all-out war between the sisters as the pair dredge up recriminations, accusations and even threaten blackmail. Meanwhile Gretchen's cute and sporty young lover, Janna (Jade Sealey), is unaware she might get hit by some shrapnel.

Tuesday, 05 April 2011 06:50

THE ALL NIGHT STRUT

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A wonderful musical celebration of the 1930s and 1940s, depression, World War II and post war is the fifth and final production of The Colony Theatre Company’s 36th season.  THE ALL NIGHT STRUT, conceived and originally directed and choreographed by Fran Charnas, bursts onto the multi-tiered stage giving us a superb look at the joys and memories of two decades in song and dance.  In two fabulous acts and 28 songs, the evening is filled with jazz, blues, bebop and classic American songs as we travel through the Jazz Age, Harlem, the renowned El Morocco nightclub, Swing and the Stage Door Canteen. 

Tuesday, 05 April 2011 06:40

WAIT UNTIL DARK

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The 1966 Broadway suspense/thriller WAIT UNTIL DARK, written by Frederick Knott (who wrote “Dial “M” for Murder”) arrives at the Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre beginning April 1, 2011.  A blind woman, Susy Hendrix (Liza de Weerd) finds herself in a frightening situation when her husband Sam (Bert Emmett) innocently comes into possession of a doll filled with drugs.  Three crooks enter her apartment to find the doll, and Susy becomes the innocent target of their deception and manipulation.

Tuesday, 05 April 2011 06:23

JAMAICA, FAREWELL

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Debra Ehrhardt was born in Jamaica.  Her lifelong dream always was to come to America.  In her one-woman show, Jamaica, Farewell playing at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, she tells the story of how she achieved that dream, but not without a great deal of hardship.  However, Debra manages to make her ordeal into a delightful comedy, and in so doing, endears her audience with her talent and personality.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011 15:54

Pinocchio

Written by

Pinocchio at the Deaf West Theatre north hollywood

Written between 1881—1883, Italian author Carlo Collodi’s cautionary fable Pinocchio is about a mischievous wooden toy who dreams about becoming a real boy. The tale has been adapted for the stage by Tony Award winner Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Rothman. This delightful, if slightly dark, play is perfectly suited for the Deaf West Theatre’s signature, award-winning combination of signed and voiced theater. The familiar story is colorfully presented using the Italian tradition of commedia dell’arte, which is a form of physical comedy that uses masks, archetypal characters, slapstick, pratfalls and sight gags.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011 14:39

Demaree Alexander & Friends

Written by

cabaret

Demaree Alexander

On Sunday March 20 Broadway's Young Cossette of Les Mis pretty Demaree Alexander brought her cabaret act to Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's with a bevy of talented guests on board. This young lady has a background not only in Broadway pop music but also in country; consequently, she nicely essayed a variety of musical styles alone and in duets with Kevin Odekirk, Dee Dee Magno-Hall, Jess Buda, Maura Hanlon Smith and brother Braden Danner. It was a lovely laid-back evening with Alexander's cute, easy going delivery and not without some exciting musical surprises.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011 11:26

The Birthday Boys

Written by

Theatre Unleashed launches its edgy and ambitious 2011 season with the acclaimed dramedy from Aaron Kozak, winner of top honors at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.  3 years ago, I met this new NoHo Theatre Company.  Their members were filled with hope and dreams and great drive and determination.  Although, their goals were ambitious, I had this gut feeling they would succeed!

The Birthday Boys is a dark comedy that entwines you into the story as only "intimate theatre" can do..  The Birthday Boys is well directed by Jacob Smith and has an extremely talented cast.  The three Marines 'privates Chester Gullette (Gregory Crafts), Lance Tyler (Sean Fitzgerald) and Colin Carney (Jim Martyka)  deserve a standing ovation after every performance.

This a play not to be missed.  The play has humor, suspense and a non judgemental attitude towards our military and war.  Set in 2006 Iraq, the play tracks three United States Marines who have been taken hostage, bound and blindfolded, as they do whatever's necessary to keep their sanity and stay alive.
Check the website for more details. www.theatreunleashed.com.

DATES AND TIMES:
March 4-April 2
Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m,
*Meet and greet with artists after each show

CAST
Gregory Crafts
Jude Evans
Sean Fizgerald
Scott Kennedy
Jim Martyka
Joshua Morrison
Lee Pollero
Gabriel Reed

LOCATION:
NoHo Stages
4934 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

TICKET PRICES:
General Admission: $15

Please NOTE: All active and veterans of the military get in free with military ID.
$1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
www.fallenheroesfund.org

Tuesday, 15 March 2011 17:03

Having It All

Written by

The subtitle of the world premiere musical Having It All  - Take Flight - speaks volumes. Five women, from totally different walks of life, are in the waiting area of a New York airport, each with a problem that needs attention. What happens to them over the course of 100 minutes gives this introspective a la Sondheim or Jason Robert Brown musical its punch and substance. With five stellar singers/actresses and fluid direction from Richard Israel Having It All has hit written all over it. It truly soars.

"Tale as old as time" nails the complex simplicity of Beauty and the Beast the quintessential story of true love, the most difficult to obtain and sustain.  Disney's adaptation of the fairy tale with its sweepingly imaginative spectacle wins over even the hardest of hearts. The animated film was such a tremendous hit in 1991 that it was adapted for the stage in 1994 with new songs by Tim Rice added to the Academy Award-winning movie score by deceased Howard Ashman. It ran worldwide until 2007 and proves undoubtedly that fairy tales retain a popularity that never dies. The current revival tour of Beauty and the Beast, now at the Pantages until March 27, is every bit as glorious, delectable and elegant as the original.
Director Rob Roth and choreographer Matt West keep the action vibrantly alive from second to second throughout and are supported by a tremendously gifted cast. Liz Shivener makes the spirited Belle a model of perfection, the self-educated provincial girl who understands what it means to be different. Shunned by others because of her solitary preoccupation with books, she is more wise and caring than most girls her age. Justin Glaser as Beast has a magnificent vocal range and essays the strenuous physical role with towering strength. His transition from mean to tender is a delicious experience. Equally physical and vocally adept is Nathaniel Hackmann as Gaston, the comically cartoonish bully who proves the real beast of the evening. His comedic moves are just delightful. Comical characters enthrall us in all Disney productions and none more so than the varied over-the-top characters of all shapes and sizes. Merritt David Janes as Lumiere, Keith Kirkwood as Cogsworth, and Andrew Kruep as Lefou, Gaston's foolish sidekick whose pratfalls occur about every two seconds steal every scene they are in. Equally delightful are Christopher Spencer as Maurice, Belle's inventor father, Sabina Petra as Mrs. Potts, the teapot who sings the tile song so beautifully, Erin Elizabeth Coors as the saucy Babette, and the very funny Jen Bechter as Madame de la Grande Bouche, a chest of drawers quite unlike any you've ever seen.
Scenery by Stanley A. Meyer, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Natasha Katz and sound by John Petrafesa are all scrumptious and add colorful highlights to the beloved story. Tim Rice's song "If I Can't Love Her" sung by the Beast as the Act I finale is my favorite. Perhaps the most heartbreaking number in the show, it expresses the intense agony he feels to be human again.
It doesn't really take as much strength to defeat an enemy as it does to win him over. Hate is easy; love is the hardest act to follow. Watching Belle work her magic on Beast and experiencing his refinement make Disney's Beauty and the Beast sheer enchantment for children of all ages.
5 out of 5 stars

 

Monday, 07 March 2011 12:18

Avenue Q

Written by


This, my second viewing of the smash hit Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q, was even more joyous than the first. This little show, like a Sesame Street for adults, plays out like life - only bigger - with funny situations, great one-liners and tantalizing music, each and every tune a winner. The show leaves you craving more, but unfortunately you only have until Sunday, March 6 to see it, before it moves along on tour.


The amazing artistry of manipulating these puppets onstage entails far more than just pulling the strings and supplying the voice for the appropriate character. Each actor behind the puppet is giving a full-out emotional performance. You have to watch the puppet in motion and the actor to get the full effect. Directed expertly by Jason Moore, the cast of characterizations include Princeton and Rod played by David Colston Corris, Kate Monster and sexy slut Lucy played by Ashley Eileen Bucknam


Catholic Girl - photo by Chelsea Sutton
Catholic Girl - photo by Chelsea Sutton


Is The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity a one-woman show or is it a two-hander play?  Now playing at the Falcon Theatre in Toluca Lake, and written by and starring Anne Hendy, this light comedy feels somehow as if it is both. Or perhaps it began life as a one-woman show but later was expanded?

Whatever the case, The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity starts off well, with its first two scenes involving two actors, but quickly reverts back to its true core, a one-woman confessional with direct to audience address.  Thankfully, the introspective monologues are kept to a minimum and there are plenty of great scenes between our hapless heroine and a motley assortment of men who might prove to be the recipient of her virtue.

Cyrus Alexander is the guy playing all the other male roles – and even one hilarious woman in drag – and he gives an exceptional performance throughout the evening. A highlight is a scene where our Mid-western virgin participates in an evening of ‘speed dating’.  This calls for a virtuoso exercise in lightning-quick costume changes from Alexander as he whizzes through a parade of deviants and weirdos. Hendy’s play is a gift to any talented male actor, seeing as he gets to play so many diverse roles. Alexander is so brilliant as each of his distinct characters that he almost overshadows our leading lady and playwright. Director Gregg W. Brevoort deserves some credit for eliciting superb performances from his cast, given the slight material.

One aspect of the staging was a bit awkward, with our leading lady all but grunting as she shifted a central, padded bench set-piece around the stage that seems unnecessarily weighty given its apparent need for mobility. The remaining sets of solid-looking, semi-arch shaped ‘brick’ walls, designed by Keith Mitchell, served their purpose.

While mildly amusing, Hendy’s play doesn’t offer much that is revelatory about a Catholic woman’s guilt, sexual repression, conscience-wrestling and ultimate sexual liberation. But it does provide some funny and poignant scenes and proves a pleasant diversion.

The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity

Falcon Theatre

4252 Riverside Drive in Burbank,

CA 91505

Performances:

Runs until Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wed.—Sat. at 8pm, Sundays at 4pm

Running time:

Approximately 90 minutes, no intermission

TICKETS:

$29.50 – $32.00

Box Office:

Purchase tickets here or call (818) 955-8101

boxoffice@falcontheatre.com

Monday, 28 February 2011 14:12

Some Like It Freaky

Written by

Some Like It Freaky By Christine Palau In writer-director, Adam Neubauer's play, MELODRAMA, which runs through March 12 at Zombie Joe's Underground, John (Robert Walters) suffers mild bouts of hysteria after his father's death a couple years earlier. His inept struggle to find his dad’s assassin lends itself to a deluge of perversity and high-jinx. Part musical, part sitcom, it's the quintessential, self-conscious, Valley romp that both haters and 818-ers are sure to get a kick out of. It's Weho Meets Noho...with a dash of Chatsworth.

Friday, 18 February 2011 18:30

THE REVENANTS

Written by
 
THE REVENANTS - "a zombie play with brains" and "Chekhov meets George Romero."
 
A rapidly escalating zombie apocalypse forces two married couples into hiding, but before they can find refuge one person in each pair has been bitten.  Gary and Karen chain up their infected spouses, Molly and Joe...hoping that their loved ones return to normal.  During the horror, a love triangle unfolds pulling the audience into forbidden love.  This drama was supported by talented actors and good directing by Dan Spurgeon.   The play is well written by Chicago-based playwright, Scott T. Barsotti. The special effects team is to be commended for "Zombie Transformation."  It is a show that anyone from 16 to 86 can enjoy, but it is not for children  - it is definitely unique.   If you are twenty or thirty something....don't miss it!  Never seen a theatre production?  Let this one be your first!
Tuesday, 15 February 2011 20:07

SEX IS GOOD FOR YOU!

Written by
 
Al Golden had a heart attack while making love. Now he dreads returning to the bedroom with Sheila, his attractive and eager wife. But she'll do anything (well, almost anything) to get her way.  This show is will keep you laughing from the beginning to the end. You will see youself in one of the characters....it is real life on stage. 
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