SCENE IN LA

 

BY

 

STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH

 

July 2014

 

Get ready for Independence Day and all the fireworks that go with it, and don’t miss out on the explosive new shows in our local theatres too, like:

           

OPENING

 

“Munted” magnifies the strength of the human spirit and shows how a community can unite in the wake of such a tragedy. It is a show that gives a voice to a community that you wouldn’t hear otherwise. This is a piece of theater that shows what it is to come together. It is for YOU, YOUR family, and YOUR community. Written by Victoria Abbott, and directed by Katharine McGill, it runs July 3 through July 27 at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 323-455-3111 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/704377.

 

“The Manor” The show is a roman a clef, a fictionalization based on real events with the actual historical characters given new names. As a butler intones at the beginning of the evening’s proceedings, “The names have been changed to protect the guilty.” To lend authenticity to the presentation, the show is presented in the grand and glorious architectural landmark in which the events of 90 years ago actually took place. Audience members are led from room to room in the lovingly restored marvelous Greystone Mansion as different scenes of the narrative are portrayed, leading up to a shocking and apparent murder and suicide. “The Manor” depicts momentous changes in the fortunes of the fabulously wealthy MacAlister Family (fictional surrogates of the oil-rich Doheny Family). Family patriarch and mining tycoon Charles makes an illegal if well-intentioned loan to Senator Alfred Winston (a stand-in for Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall). Both men face imminent disgrace and worse in the oncoming Teapot Dome bribery scandal, which will engulf the Warren Harding administration. A scion of the MacAllister family faces violent death. Written by Kathrine Bates, and directed by Flora Plumb, it runs July 9 through August 16 at the Greystone Mansion, in Greystone Park in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-694-6118.

 

“A Judy Garland Concert with Joey Luft” Through D5 Digital Cinema and re-mastered Dolby Sound, the incomparable performer returns to the screen. Experience Judy’s dynamic life in song as she performs her greatest hits, in color for the first time on the big screen, including “Stormy Weather,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “After You’ve Gone,” and “By Myself.” Joey Luft will share stories of his mother’s personal life and career along with John Kimble, longtime associate of Judy’s husband and manager, Sid Luft. Judy Garland gave her greatest performances on television when she was at the top of her legendary, superstar best. This stellar collection of her most requested songs are chosen from her 1963-64 “The Judy Garland Show”. On exhibit will be rare, never–before-seen photos of Judy’s life and career along with Michael Siewert’s collection of costumes from many of her classic film roles. Written by Joey Luft, it runs July 10 through July 13 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

 

“Chico’s Angels: Love Boat Chicas” When one of Charo's back-up dancers is shot mid-performance, Charo realizes she was the intended target. She hires Chico's Angels to find the wannabe-assassin and save her ocean-going career. Kay goes undercover as Charo, (Fortunately, she is the spitting image of the Spanish classical guitarist) with Chita in tow, as her choreographer/manager (Chita has seen A Chorus Line 32 times...at the East LA Quienceanera Palace/cafetorium). Frieda joins the crew as the new Cruise director (cruising is one of her off-duty specialties.) Finally, Bossman provides back up, undercover as Isaac, your bartender (Bar...enough said.) The Angels discover almost everyone onboard has a motive for killing Charo. They also discover themselves being entranced by the Love Boat’s charm as Kay risks blowing her cover to be with her dance partner, Dickardo, while Frieda finds herself inexplicably drawn to retiree passenger, Ruth Bliss, and Chita tries to resist the hypnotic effect of the combination of Bossman, a full moon and a bottle of tequila. Written by Oscar Quintero and Kurt Koehler, and directed by Kurt Koehler, it runs July 11 through August 16 at the Cavern Club Theater inside Casita Del Campo Restaurant in Silverlake. For tickets visit www.chicosangels.com.

 

 

“Sordid Lives” The black comedy about white trash centers on a colorful family from a small Texas town who must come to grips with the accidental death of the elderly family matriarch during her clandestine meeting in a seedy motel room with a much younger, married neighbor. The woman's family must deal with their own demons while preparing for what could be an embarrassing funeral. This play is filled with adult situations and language. Written by Del Shores, and directed by Kirk Larson, it runs July 11 through August 16 at the Westchester Playhouse in Westchester. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.

 

 

“Much Ado About Nothing” In one of the most exuberant and spirited battles of the sexes ever written, Beatrice and Benedick’s verbal jousts are witty and sharp, each one calculated to wound. Yet, beneath their animosity lies a mutual attraction that neither dares confess – until circumstances unite them to rescue young friends and unmask their own true love. Written by William Shakespeare, and directed by Ellen Geer and Willow Geer, it runs July 12 through September 28 at the Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.

 

“The Way You Look Tonight” It’s Dinner With Friends meets La Cage aux Folles in this wacky comedy about two couples — a pair of ex-spouses and their new mates. When the four get together for the first time in years, it blows up in a delightful mess of romantic complications. Written by Peter Lefcourt, and directed by Terri Hanauer, it runs July 12 through August 24 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7712 or visit www.plays411.com/tonight.

 

“SUPERNATURAL: The Play” takes you front and center to a natural hair meetup where women share how their hair journeys have shaped who they are today. If you haven’t heard, women of color around the world are meeting and talking about natural hair. They are doing it fabulously in droves through hair workshops, hair makeover experiences, hair lectures, hair product testings, and so much more. You name it and women are coming together to celebrate their natural hair. When they meet, they bare themselves by sharing their stories and exchanging information. Simply Google “natural hair meetup” and your search engine’s results will be explosive. Written by Candace O. Kelley, Audrey Kelley, Gilda Rogers, and directed by Audrey Kelley, it runs July 13 through September 28 at the Chromolume Theatre at the Attic in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7738 or visit www.plays411.com/supernaturalplay.

 

“PLAYHOUSE ROCKS! with Tony® Nominee Powerhouse MARY BRIDGET DAVIES” Mary Bridget Davies was nominated this year for a Tony Award® in the “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical” category for A Night With Janis Joplin which was presented last season at The Pasadena Playhouse. Hailed by The Washington Post as “a remarkable, exhilarating portrait”, the show was a hit Broadway musical and traveled to Washington, DC, Cleveland, Portland, San Jose, Milwaukee and more. The New York Times said, “Mary Bridget Davies, whose positively uncanny vocal impersonation of Joplin keeps the house rocking…has captured the Joplin sound perfectly.” Mary Bridget Davies’ journey as a Blues Diva began in 2002 with a Robert Lockwood Jr. (March 27, 1915 – November 21, 2006) jam one night at the original Fat Fish Blue in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and had the opportunity of sitting in with the maestro on several future occasions including a Katrina benefit in 2005 joined by Buddy Miles. She met her first band around this time and it didn’t take long before the band was touring nationally and representing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the International Blues Challenge two years in a row. The band has been nominated several times by the Cleveland Scene and Free Times for “Best Blues Band” and Davies won the “Best Vocalist Award” in 2004. In 2005, Davies secured an open-call audition for the smash Off-Broadway musical, Love, Janis, when they needed a new lead actress/vocalist to portray Janis Joplin. She auditioned and out of roughly 150 actors, she came out with the lead role. Love, Janis has toured the country with Mary at the “Janis” helm since. Big Brother & the Holding Co., Joplin’s original band, asked Mary to sing for them in 2006 and she has enjoyed European tours and shows all over the US with the guys since. Another amazing opportunity presented itself during the summer of 2007 when Mary was asked to join the cast of the Tony Award® nominated Broadway musical It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues performed at Theatre Aspen in Colorado. This musical revue traces the history of blues music with more than three dozen songs. Written by MARY BRIDGET DAVIES, it runs July 17 through July 20 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

 

“Doris & Me - The Doris Day Songbook” is one man's quirky, lovable obsession with music and movie icon, Doris Day. As the ultimate, obsessed fan, Scott Dreier makes this more than your typical tribute show to a timeless artist, taking the audience with him on a sentimental journey to nostalgic times gone by. As he lovingly shares, through classic treasured songs, personal anecdotes, humor, heart, and many Doris Day stories and history, Scott Dreier never lets us forget how much he loves her and why he has become Doris Day's biggest fan. Having grown up in a family where music, TV, and films were strictly monitored, Scott was somehow allowed to watch the Saturday Afternoon Film Festival hosted by Tom Hatten. This is where he first discovered Doris Day. She became his escape, always making the bad days brighter and happier with her artistry and joyous spirit. And this is where his love affair and obsession with Doris began. Written by Scott Dreir and Kurtis Simmons, with music by Bob Remstein, and directed by Richard Israel, it runs July 24 through August 3 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-508-4200 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.

 

“The Gamester” The setting is Paris in the 18th Century. Valere is young, handsome, and charming. He is charming enough that he could have any woman he desired. His true love, however, is the young, beautiful Angelique, who loves him in return. But Valere has a mistress: Lady Luck. Valere, you see, is a compulsive gambler, playing and losing with disturbing regularity at the local casino. His wealthy father threatens to cut him off. Finally, Angelique threatens him with an ultimatum: Stop gambling or lose her forever. She’s bestowed upon him a token of her love: A small portrait of herself in a jewel-bedecked frame. Will he surrender his most treasured possession for an evening of thrills at the casino table? He’s surrounded by people who would love to see him fail: Mme. Argante, Angelique’s older sister, who wants him for herself; Mme. Securite, who gives money to young swains in return for their favors; Dorante, an older, wealthy, would-be suitor for Angelique’s hand. Written by Freyda Thomas, inspired by “Le Joueur” by Jean François Regnard, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs July 24 through August 24 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordoba Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

 

“PUPPET UP! – UNCENSORED” Brian Henson (Creator, Producer) is Chairman of The Jim Henson Company and an award-winning director, producer, writer and puppeteer. Henson served as Executive Producer on the television projects "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars" (which he also directed) and "Jim Henson's Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story" (which he also co-wrote and directed). He directed “Battleground”, an Emmy Award-winning episode of the “Nightmares & Dreamscapes” anthology for TBS. Previous television projects that Henson produced include "Farscape”, "Gulliver's Travels," "Muppets Tonight," and "Dinosaurs.” Henson's film directing credits include “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Muppet Treasure Island.” Most recently, Henson has served as an executive producer of the Emmy-nominated science-readiness pre-school series “Sid the Science Kid,” airing daily on PBS KIDS®. The series features his groundbreaking work at Jim Henson's Creature Shop, one of Hollywood's preeminent character building, digital and physical visual effects facilities. Henson was part of the team that first created and utilized the Henson Performance Control System, a powerful custom-based interface for puppeteers, which won an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scientific and Engineering Award in 1992. He also led the Shop's work with its revolutionary digital puppeteering technology, the 2009 Emmy® Award-winning Henson Digital Puppetry Studio that is featured in PUPPET UP! – UNCENSORED as well as “Sid the Science Kid” and “Wilson & Ditch: Digging America.” PUPPET UP! – UNCENSORED Co-Creator/Host Patrick Bristow is best known for his television appearances, most notably as "Peter" on the groundbreaking ABC series "Ellen.” Other small screen appearances: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Seinfeld," "Friends," "Mad About You," "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and others. Film credits include "The Longest Yard," "Austin Powers," "So I Married An Ax Murderer," "Twilight of the Golds," and the accidental comedy "Showgirls.” He performed, directed, and taught at The Groundling Theatre. Directing credits include the Off Broadway run of "Stuffed and Unstrung," "Hot Dog TV" for The Cartoon Network, numerous theatre productions and the 2004 L.A. Weekly Theatre Awards Show. His improv company, "Improvatorium" produces costumed and improvised short plays in Hollywood. And just like everyone else, he has a first draft of a screenplay somewhere in his house. Henson Alternative is The Jim Henson Company’s label for content created specifically and exclusively for adult audiences. Previous credits include “Tinseltown” for Logo, “Puppet Up! – Uncensored” for TBS and the upcoming feature film “Happytime Murders” currently in development. Written and directed by Brian Henson, it runs July 24 through July 26 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

 

“Sacred Elephant” is concerned with man’s relationship with the planet’s largest land mammal. Ancient, intelligent, social, and beautiful, the pachyderm has captured the imagination of man for millennia. Indeed, the elephant has approached the status of a deity in some cultures. So powerful a creature is the huge beast that it has only one natural enemy: man. Man slays elephants for trophies and for meat. The animals’ tusks are pulled for the value of their ivory and for their ornamental properties. Elephant feet have been used to fashion customized wastebaskets. We have held them captive in zoos, so they can be gawked at by spectators. We’ve trained them to do tricks in circuses, when we haven’t caged them. The continued existence of elephants in the coming decades is open to question. Attention must be paid, as the fate of the elephants casts a reflection on what will happen to us. Written by Jeremy Crutchley and Geoffrey Hyland from the poem by Heathcote Williams, and directed by Geoffrey Hyland, it runs July 25 through August 17 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-477-2055 or visit www.odysseytheatre.com.

 

“In A Dark Dark House” pits two estranged brothers against one another in a search for the truth about their shared past. Written by Neil LaBute, and directed by Larry Moss, it runs July 26 through August 31 at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7612 or visit www.darkhousela.com.

 

“Visionary Man” A world premiere musical based on the true story of visionary artist J.B. Murray. John Bunion Murray was an illiterate farm worker living in a shack in Glascock County, GA without water or electricity when, at age 70, he had the first of what he called his “visions from the Holy Spirit.” Over a period of 10 years, Murray’s vision-inspired paintings and non-semantic script, initially on scraps of writing paper, envelopes, adding machine tape, poster board, wood paneling, old stove tops and televisions picture tubes, and eventually on archival art paper, would capture the imagination of his friends and neighbors — and, ultimately, of an international community of museums, galleries and collectors. Written by Mary Padgelek and Tom Coleman, with music by Mary Padgelek, and directed by Tom Coleman, it runs July 26 through August 31 at the Hudson Mainstage Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-7787 or visit www.plays411.com/visionary.

 

“Ghost the Musical” Set in modern day New York City, GHOST – THE MUSICAL is a timeless fantasy about the power of love. Walking back to their apartment one night after a romantic dinner, Sam and Molly are mugged, leaving Sam dead on a dark street. Sam is trapped as a ghost between this world and the next and unable to leave Molly, who he learns is in grave danger. With the help of a phony storefront psychic, Sam tries to communicate with Molly in the hopes of saving and protecting her. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin, with music by Bruce Joel Rubin, and directed by Matthew Warchus, it runs July 29 through August 10 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.


CONTINUING

 

 “Circus Vargas Presents Magikaria Extreme” Get ready for the ultimate entertainment extravaganza for all ages! Circus Vargas will debut its most mind-blowing, highly anticipated spectacular ever! Join us, where the magic begins and the heart-pounding, death defying action takes place! It’s awe-inspiring ‘Edge of your Seat’ excitement, all under the big top…where imagination comes to life and the world is full of possibility and wonder! Don’t miss Circus Vargas’ new magical, mega-hit sensation. Meet and mingle with the cast of Magikaria! Arrive thirty minutes early for an exciting, interactive pre-show where children (of all ages) can create their own magic under the big top! Written and directed by Nelson Quiroga, it runs through July 3 at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. For tickets call 877-468-3861 or visit www.circusvargas.com.

 

“Abbamemnon” a hysterical musical reimagining of the classic Greek tragedy Agamemnon, the sordid story of seduction and scheming, with the sweet Swedish sounds of the Seventies. In this irreverent Dancing Queen-filled romp, the Ovation Award-winning Troubadour Theater Company brings the noise, the funk, and the dysfunctional-family vibe to this masterwork of the Greek canon. Why does Cassandra's S.O.S. plea to Take a Chance on Me fall on the deaf ears of the Elder Chorus? Will Clytemnestra's plan to kill Agamemnon come to fruition and will The Winner Take All? Will the Watchman ever get to sleep and say I Have a Dream? Will Aegisthus be able to pronounce his own name at Waterloo? Bloody and bold, fierce and funny, this production by the masters of mayhem is sure to entertain and enlighten. Written and directed by Matt Walker, it runs through July 13 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com.

 

“Ghost the Musical” Relive the iconic and magical moments from the Oscar-winning movie GHOST in a brand-new Broadway musical. GHOST THE MUSICAL breathes glorious new life into a timeless love story. The musical’s tale of everlasting love is thrilling entertainment for audiences of all ages. The story follows Sam and Molly, a young couple whose connection takes a shocking turn after Sam's untimely death. Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. Desperate to communicate with her, he turns to a storefront psychic who helps him protect Molly and avenge his death. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin, with music by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, it runs through July 13 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 866-755-2929 or visit www.hollywoodpantages.com.

 

“Prayer: A Song Cycle” PRAYER is an immersive multi-media performance piece about prayer as a conduit of transformation. Built on a song cycle composed by Sackjo22, and directed by Angela Grillo, this unique cycle of prayers for guidance, relief, and gratitude reimagines Evie's dream of Dorothy Vogel through music, text, video, and gesture. The ephemeral Chorus (Sackjo22 and Evelyn Stettin), and Dorothy (Beth Ricketson), performing with Haskel Joseph dedicates art as prayer. The seed of PRAYER comes from a dream Evie had after seeing Megumi Sasaki's first documentary on the famed "proletariat" art collectors, Herb and Dorothy Vogel (“Herb and Dorothy,” 2008, Arthouse Films). In the dream, Dorothy walks in a processional holding an aerogram on which instructions for a performance installation called, Prayer, are written. Dorothy embraced the mystery of art. She could “see” art. For centuries, art has been a vehicle for spiritual communication in many different cultures. The word for art in most Native American languages is synonymous with the word prayer. Art was – and in many places still is – used as a direct tool for prayer and spiritual communion with the Creator where the person becomes the channel through which the divine inspiration flows. Throughout the creative process, the collaborators’ kneaded their dreams for PRAYER. Like a responsive reading, myriad images of mirroring and shattering summoned each other for song, structure, text, and movement. Appearing and receding, connecting and repelling, we tried to catch the wind from the bird’s wing, the smell of the dog, and the tears of the human for understanding and relief. Written by The Reflective Collective, with music by Sackjo22, and directed by Angela Grillo, it runs through July 13 at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village. For tickets visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org.

 

“Stupid Fucking Bird” In this irreverent remix of Chekhov's The Seagull, an aspiring young director rails against art created by his mother's generation, a nubile young actress wrestles with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist, and everyone discovers just how disappointing life, art, and growing up can be. Chekhov's characters still ruminate on love, revolution and the pursuit of happiness, but this time with a lot more snark as the subtext bubbles to the surface. With music, meta-theatricality, and mad humor, playwright Aaron Posner beats The Seagull to a bloody fucking pulp. Written by Aaron Posner, and directed by Michael Michetti, it runs through July 27 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-683-6883 or visit www.BostonCourt.org.

 

“Flim Flam: Houdini and the Hereafter” Based on actual events, in Flim Flam during the summer of 1922, Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle team to investigate psychic mediums for the Scientific American committee. Their friendship is challenged when Conan Doyle champions a beautiful and seductive psychic as authentic. Houdini is determined to prove that she is a phony, until she appears to make contact with Houdini’s beloved dead mother, and he must confront his own beliefs about life-after-death. Written by Gene Franklin Smith, and directed by Thomas James O’Leary, it runs through August 3 at the Malibu Playhouse in Malibu. For tickets call 310-589-1998 or visit www.malibuplayhouse.org.

           

 

So have a bang up time this month, and make sure you catch one of these great productions as well!

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