NEWS”¦Sleepless in Seattle ““ The Musical is going into hibernation.Â Originally scheduled to debut in June as the closing production of Pasadena Playhouse’s announced 2011/12 season, this tuner, based on the 1993 hit film, has been moved to a slot in Playhouse’s 2012/13 season (TBA). Scripted by Jeff Arch - who penned the film’s original story and co-scripted the Oscar-winning screenplay (along with Nora Ephron and David Ward)Â ““ this stage adaptation originally had Joel Zwick on board as director and a song-writing team of Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson.Â They are being replaced (TBA). And a sub for the 2011/12 June slot is also TBA”¦Also in Pasadena, thesp Susan Angelo is stepping into the persona of Queen of the Nile in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra at A Noise Within, helmed by ANW producing AD’s Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, opening Mar 3.Â Angelo (opposite Elliott’s Antony) replaces previously announced Jeanie Hackett, who has departed due to a family emergency”¦Although British thesp Julian Sands did earlier versions of his Harold Pinter tribute in LA, he ‘s now offering the American premiere of his 2011 Edinburgh Festival version, A Celebration of Harold Pinter, as helmed and introduced (at each performance) by director John Malkovich, one weekend only (Mar 9,10,11) at Odyssey Theatre in West LA. Sands presents Pinter’s poems and political prose “to create a very fresh and intimate insight into the Nobel laureate’s literary legacy, with personal anecdotes and reflections drawn from their work together.””¦
PREMIERES”¦Ovation-winning playwright Damon Chua (2007, Film Chinois) premieres 1969 A Fantastical Odyssey Through The American Mindscape, helmed by Tony Gatto, opening Mar 23 at Theatre/Theater in LA. Chua chronicles “the seismic, cultural shift that occurred in our nation in 1969, leaving us forever changed.””¦Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood is hosting the premiere of Cages, scripted by Leonard Manzella, helmed by multi-OvationÂ nominee Jon Lawrence Rivera, focusing on a “disgraced prison psychologist who re-emerges into the prison system to work with the most deeply disturbed inmates,” opening Mar 9″¦The 2007 Tony-winning rock tuner Spring Awakening, is having its “intimate theater” premiere at Theatre of Arts Arena Stage in Hollywood, helmed by Kate Sullivan, opening Mar 16.Â Created by Duncan Sheik (music) and Steven Sater (book & lyrics), featuring Lindsay Heather Pearce (FOX TV’s (Glee) andÂ Janel Parrish (ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars)”¦Circle X Theatre is debuting Naked Before God, scripted and helmed by Leo Geter, examining “the stretch marks in the American dream,” opening Mar 24 at [Inside] the Ford. Recommended for mature audiences, this “comedy about the porn business” is the first full production to come out of Circle X Writers’ Group”¦Write Act Rep Theatre in Hollywood is unveiling Geeks!Â The Musical, chronicling “the adventures of a gaggle of geeks through the Comic Book/Sci-Fi Convention,” created by Thomas J. Misuraca (book and lyrics) and Ruth Judkowitz (music), helmed by Bennett Cohon, opening Mar 1″¦Fountain Theatre and Deaf West are collaborating on the premiere of Cyrano, a modern day re-imagined deaf/hearing version of Edmond Rostand’s 1897Â stagework, Cyrano de Bergerac, scripted by Stephen Sachs, helmed by Simon Levy, performed in ASL and spoken word, opening Apr 28.
AROUND TOWN”¦Vocally and comically adroit Bets Malone, who is often seen traveling with the ’50s/’60s pop fest The Marvelous Wonderettes, takes on pea-sensitive Princess WinifredÂ (originated by Carol Burnett) in the 1959 fairy tale tuner Once Upon A Mattress, wrought by Jay Thompson and Dean Fuller (book), Mary Rodgers (music) and Marshal Barer (lyrics), staged by Richard Israel, choreography by Cheryl Baxter. The production continues Cabrillo Music Theatre’s 2012 season at Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, opening Apr 20″¦In Hollywood, Actors Co-op is reviving an American classic, Eugene O’Neill’s 1956 pseudo-autobiographical Long Day’s Journey Into Night, helmed by Marianne Savell, opening Mar 16 in Actor Co-op’s Crossley Theatre”¦Also opening Mar 16, The Production Company is reviving the 1978 tuner, Working, based on the book by Studs Terkel, wrought by a slew of talented folks, including Stephen Schwartz, Nina Faso, Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers and James Taylor. It’s helmed by August Viverito, choreographed by Nancy Dobbs Owen at the Lex Theatre in Hollywood”¦Sally Shore’s New Short Fiction Series, is offering Vanessa Carlisle’s Some Nights The Stars Don’t Seem That Far, featuring Shore, with guest cast Jesse Holcomb, Jessica Hopper and Buckley Sampson, Mar 11 at the Federal Bar in NoHo”¦Over at the Coffee Fix in Studio City,Â Story Salon, now in its 10th year, is offering up a a slew of monologists for its recurring last-Wednesday-of-the-month theme night, but with next Wednesday being Feb 29, which occurs only once every four years, it acquires a special distinction.Â Hosted byÂ Beverly Mickins andÂ Dan Farren, the topic next Wednesday is: Â ”I’m being pulled in a new direction”…
EXTENSIONS”¦Evan Brenner’s West Coast premiere one-hander, Buddha-A Fantastic Journey, helmed by John C. Reilly, is not only extending until Apr 1 at Bootleg Theater in downtown LA, but adding matinees on Saturdays (Feb 25, Mar 3, 31) and Sundays (Mar 4, 11, 18, Apr 1)”¦Tim Piper’s John Lennon tribute tuner, Just Imagine, helmed by Steve Altman, returns to downtown LA’s Hayworth Theatre, re-opening Mar 9, reaching out until Apr 22″¦In Hollywood, at Complex’s Ruby Theatre, Hoodoo Love, “a play with songs,” scripted by Katori Hall, helmed by Richard Lyons, extends its West Coast premiere run until Apr 1″¦
THE THING IS”¦“When I was working on my solo show Cheerios in My Underwear, I did a lot of research in the library on motherhood and the roles of mothers. I really liked the process.Â Then when I got divorced in 2005, I started working on this show because I couldn’t believe the family legal system, how it worked, how lawyers were and how unfair so much of it was. I ended up in the library and I started researching women, historical figures and how they dealt with the problems in their lives and in the society of their times. I remember being on the beach in 2006. I literally saw myself standing in front of a group of people, talking about women’s history and being funny. That became my goal. I did not succeed too well in my early attempts.Â I kept trying new things and new approaches.Â I remember when I first put Victoria Woodhall in it, she took over the whole play. It ran 90 minutes, a third of it devoted to her. In the show I do now, there are about 40 women I talk about and portray and it runs about 70 minutes.Â Each one of these women could get her own play, so I strive to find a balance.Â I am constantly tweaking.Â I did the show at a retirement community in Florida and cut about five more minutes off it.Â My aim is to honor the women, be relevant, and above all, be entertaining. I was not deluding myself back on the beach in 2006, I am funny.” ““ Amy Simon’s She’s History! The Most Dangerous Women In America, Then And Now, helmed by Richard Kuhlman, returns to the Lounge Theater in Hollywood for three performances, Mar 4, 11 and 18″¦…
INSIDE LA STAGE HISTORY”¦Born in New York City on March 30, 1895, Edwin Lester appears fated to be a jack-of-all-trades in the arts, singing professionally as a child while garnering enough skill at the keyboard to have a lower-level career as a concert pianist. Attracted to the stage, Lester develops a strong affection for light opera while working as a rehearsal pianist, especially drawn to the works of Sigmund Romberg and Jerome Kern. By his late 20s, still unsure of a specific direction in life, Lester moves to LA to work for Sid Grauman at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, staging spectacle prologues to silent films. In the early 1930s, Lester works as a talent agent for many of the stage actors he knew in New York who have come out west to strike gold in the now-talkies-dominated tinseltown. What Lester discovers is a decided dearth of opportunity in LA for trained stage talent to display their wares, especially those displaced souls from the world of musical theater and operetta.Â LA is definitely a movie town, yet Lester observes Angelenos have no qualms paying high prices to hear such classical vocal artists as John Charles Thomas, the premiere American baritone of his day, selling out theater palaces such as the Belasco in downtown LA. The proverbial light bulb turns on in Lester’s head. Eschewing any notion of competing with the standard Broadway musical theater fare, Lester creates Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, under the motto “Light Opera in the Grand Opera manner.” Housed at Philharmonic Auditorium in downtown LA, LACLO opens its first season in 1938 withÂ Blossom Time for a one-week run, starring John Charles Thomas and Francia White. The only problem is Thomas’s insistence on a two-week run at $2500 a week. Undeterred, Lester sells the Blossom Time package for a week to his friend, San Francisco entrepreneur Homer Curran, consequently establishing San Francisco Civic Light Opera (SFCLO). During the ensuing years, the LA/SF production link proves an irresistible lure for New York shows that previously had been resistant to traveling across the Rockies. For five decades, LACLO presents a top level mix of Broadway hits and Lester-produced local productions that often find their way to Broadway, such as Jerome Robbins’ 1954 staging of Peter Pan, starring Mary Martin. Lester retires as general director and producer of the LACLO in 1976. He remains a member of the LACLO and SFCLO boards until their demises — SFCLO’s in 1980 and LACLO’s in 1987. Lester dies in Dec 1990 at the age of 95 at his home in Beverly Hills”¦
“¦The Julio Martinez-hosted ARTS IN REVIEW, broadcast Thursday (2:30Â to 3 pm) on KPFK (90.7FM), spotlights the best in live theater and cabaret in the Greater LA area. Upcoming on Mar 1, ARTS IN REVIEW hosts KPFK’s Winter Membership Drive“¦Print