Reviews for plays in North Hollywood Thetares, NoHo Arts District, Burbank and Sherman Oaks
New Musical Inc presents
The Max Factor Factor: A New Screwball Musical Comedy
Book by Adrian Bewley
Music by Joe Blodgett
Lyrics by Chana Wise
Directed by Michael A Shepperd
Choreography by Pamela Davis
Produced by Scott Guy
As a first time reviewer I was prepared for anything as I arrived at The NoHo arts Center on opening night for the new musical, The Max Factor Factor. Developed and workshopped for the Celebration Theatre and produced by New Musicals Inc, this “screwball musical comedy” takes us back to the golden age of Hollywood and plays the high stakes game of forbidden love, financial ruin and ruthless ambition.
With book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and music by Frank Wildhorn, the Panatages Theatre in Hollywood takes you an interpersonal journey of a man with good intentions but extremely bad executions of his ideas in Broadway bound musical/rock opera “Jekyll & Hyde.”
“Imaginative & Hysterically Funny Is “The Twilight Zone: Unscripted”
Book by Doug Haverty, Music by Adryan Russ
Lyrics by Russ and Haverty
Directed by Jules Aaron
The world premiere of the new musical, iGhost, with the book by the always creative and innovative, Doug Haverty, music by Adryan Russ, and lyrics by Doug Haverty and Adryan Russ begins at The Lyric Theatre in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to see a play reading of this terrific show a few years ago, and couldn’t stop raving about it then. We now are fortunate to have a full production of this wonderful show, and I’m raving about it NOW.
Zachary Ford and Rebecca Johnson in the world premiere of "iGhost"
at the Lyric Theatre in Hollywood. PHOTO BY RICHARD M. JOHNSON.
A 21st Century slant on Oscar Wilde’s classic “The Canterville Ghost”, a young American art student, Virginia, (Rebecca Johnson) comes to haunted Canterville Chase on a student assignment. Young Trevor (Zachary Ford), the current Duke of Canterville is laboring over a Castle in dire need of money and renovation. Here we meet Sir Simon (Peter Welkin) our resident ghost and a prior Canterville Duke, who has had a dark curse placed upon him by his deceased wife Lucinda (Dorrie Braun) who believes that Sir Simon was the cause of her untimely death. Sir Simon sets out to scare Virginia, but she is not afraid of Sir Simon, or anything else for that matter.
Dorrie Braun and Peter Welkin in the world premiere of "iGhost"
at the Lyric Theatre in Hollywood. PHOTO BY RICHARD M. JOHNSON
Now you can imagine that while all this scariness is going on a romance is blossoming between Virginia and Trevor. Helping Virginia and Trevor, and placating Sir Simon in his antics, are castle couple Mr. and Mrs. Umney, wonderfully played by Paul Zegler and Bonnie Snyder. Mrs. Umney’s song with Virginia and Mr. Umney’s song with Trevor are quite poignant and touching. But I have to give a RAVE to the fantastically directed séance scene. It is not to be missed and extremely fun.
The music is exceptional and beautifully executed by all the actors. You can really imagine this play with a full orchestra. Rebecca Johnson and Zachary Ford are picture perfect as Virginia and Trevor, with energy and musicality. Dorrie Braun is delightful as Lucinda, and Peter Welkin is first-rate and ideal as the formidable Sir Simon. The remaining ensemble cast Andrew Appel, Erin Carter, Kayla Dillman, Courtney Freed, Matthew Frow, Tyler Milliron (understudy/Trevor) and R. Scott Thompson as Lester, all contribute to a well rounded cast.
Doug Haverty, Adryan Russ and Director Jules Aaron have a hit in iGhost. This is a true musical and for all you musical fans, a MUST SEE. I can definitely see IGhost on a much larger stage with full orchestra, special effects, set changes, etc. But the production at The Lyric Theatre is quite wonderful.
If you are interested in a play about manipulation, misery and mores run don't walk to the Antaeus Theatre Company's production of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" running in the North Hollywood Arts District through July 17.
"Boomermania", at the El Portal Theatre, inserts new lyrics into a slew of classic pop songs from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The two-hour musical has no obvious story, and six characters, described in the program as Man 1, Man 2, and Man 3, and Woman 1, Woman 2, and Woman 3. After it's over, you will depart the theater no more or less wise than when you entered.
Yet despite its lack of ambition, "Boomermania" plays quite well, combining songs such as "Stay", "Mony, Mony", "I Can't Help Myself", The Beat Goes On", "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Staying Alive", with economical, engaging choreography, and seductively self-satisfying performances from each cast member. Most of the songs spoof rampant consumerism -- frozen food, fast food, big television sets - pop culture fads, disco above all, and, student protests. The creators of "Boomermania", Debbie Kasper and Pat Sierchio, have substituted several clever rhymes for lyrics that will be known by the majority of audience members 50 or over, and probably many younger ones as well.
Kasper and Sierchio risk inciting a riot by turning Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" into a song about cell phones (rhymes with "stoned") but the night I attended, no one in the audience booed or walked out. On the other hand, they deserve the highest praise for choosing the "Na, Na, Na, Na" opening from "Land of a Thousand Dances" for the audience sing-a-long; that version was first recorded by East LA's own Cannibal and the Headhunters in 1965. The show is fast-paced and loud, like bubblegum hits of the 1960s and early 1970s. On occasion, it can be too much, especially the spoken interludes involving whiny teen-agers and their clueless parents. At these times, we are especially grateful when the excellent, three-piece group plays the opening bars of another familiar song, and the actors can go back to being singers and dancers.
The only number that should be immediately removed from "Boomermania" is a straightforward rendering of the mournful ballad "Reflections", which occurs as the obvious images - Dallas, Vietnam, Memphis, the Ambassador Hotel, race riots, Chicago, Woodstock - are projected on a screen above the stage. The somber tone and message are so different from the rest of the two-hour production that one wonders if "Reflections" was added at the insistence of a nervous producer, who wanted to ensure that politics was not overlooked.
Boomermania's superb cast consists of Daniel Amerman (#1 man), Paul Lange (#2), Dylan Vox (#3), Susan Huckle (woman #1), Kimberly Wood (#2), and Alison Friedman (#3). The choreographer is Edward Carignan; Mary Ekler, who plays keyboards in the accompanying band, also serves as musical director.
"Boomermania" runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. through May 15th. Tickets are $42 for all performances.
The El Portal Forum Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood.
For tickets, call 866-811-4111 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com
Faith, Survival, and Choices are examined in “Red Like Snow”, a cold and dark thriller follow seven ice climbers who are the only survivors of a disastrous fall through the ice finding themselves entombed at the bottom of a cave and a storm has made the possibility of rescue nearly impossible. This original play by Aerial Segard and Nicholas Rose, is presented at Brick House Theatre, August 8th through September 14th.
“Dancing On The Edge Is A Wonderful Showcase Of Movement Style”