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BWW Reviews: 3-D Theatricals' SEUSSICAL Makes You Realize BWW Reviews: 3-D Theatricals' SEUSSICAL Makes You Realize "How Lucky You Are"
by Don Grigware - March 03, 2015

Remember when you were a child and hated to think? Or were you like JoJo with excessively brilliant thinks? No matter! Put yourself into a Dr. Seuss...ical mode and get on down to the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center from Friday March 6 to Sunday March 8 only for the final weekend of performances of 3-D Theatricals' exhilarating Seussical the Musical. David Engel, an original member of the Broadway cast, directs with panache and Cathy Rigby leads a delightful cast in a show for youngsters young and old. (more...)


BWW Reviews: The Porters Present a Prohibition Era OTHELLO Review BWW Reviews: The Porters Present a Prohibition Era OTHELLO
by Ellen Dostal - March 03, 2015

Why does Iago hate the Moor? That has always been the great question in OTHELLO and one for which Shakespeare provides no definitive answer. Yes, he feels slighted when Othello promotes Cassio over him but is that enough reason to plot the general's demise? Is it because he believes that Othello has slept with his wife, or because of the color of his skin? Or are Iago's actions fueled by something deeper like self-loathing? (more...)


BWW Reviews: INSIDE OUT Rocks the Grove Theater Center Review BWW Reviews: INSIDE OUT Rocks the Grove Theater Center
by Don Grigware - March 02, 2015

Inside Out/book by Doug Haverty/music by Adryan Russ/lyrics by Haverty & Russ/directed by Bruce Kimmel/The Grove Theater Center, Burbank/through March 22 Celebrating its 20th anniversary the little musical Inside Out by Doug Haverty and Adryan Russ throws a boldly bright spotlight on the positive loving effects of group therapy. Based on the actual accounts of women who joined a group in the early 90s, Inside Out shares their stories...and the music is not only part of the plot, as pop singer Dena (Leslie Stevens) agonizes over the challenges of making a comeback, but more urgently becomes the almost guaranteed therapeutic force of nature for the entire piece. Six outstanding singers/actresses under the uber skilled direction of Bruce Kimmel dispense advice and sing and move with electrifying verve. Now onstage at the Grove Theater Center in Burbank, Inside Out may very well prove to be a better tonic than a gospel revival. In fact, it's assuredly the most effervescent all-girl group in town! (more...)


BWW Reviews: Cam Clarke Shares his Inspirational Journey to Self Acceptance in STOP ME IF I TOLD YOU THIS Review BWW Reviews: Cam Clarke Shares his Inspirational Journey to Self Acceptance in STOP ME IF I TOLD YOU THIS
by Shari Barrett - March 02, 2015

STOP ME IF I TOLD YOU THIS is the touching, funny, off-beat multimedia musical memoir of prolific voice-over actor Cam Clarke who began his career in short pants and knee socks in 1965 as one of the youngest members of TV's "The King Family Show" - all 39 members in an environment where Mormonism and Burlesque collided! The show business progeny of glamorous Alyce King of The King Sisters and science fiction B-movie icon Robert Clarke, his childhood played out on TV screens across America, but his true nature was something he chose to hide from his Mormon family and school friends. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Lengthy CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY from a Talented, Winning Performer Review BWW Reviews: Lengthy CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY from a Talented, Winning Performer
by Gil Kaan - March 02, 2015

Fales, a very engaging performer with sharp comic timing commands the Zephyr Theatre stage in his multi-character, 115-minute solo turn. (more...)


BWW Reviews: It's Delicious Thievery in A Noise Within's THE THREEPENNY OPERA Review BWW Reviews: It's Delicious Thievery in A Noise Within's THE THREEPENNY OPERA
by Ellen Dostal - February 25, 2015

The first thing you notice when you step into the theater for A Noise Within's THE THREEPENNY OPERA is Frederica Nascimento's stunningly vivid set design. It's a deconstruction in which none of the elements are hidden: lighting instruments are in plain sight; pieces of scenery hang suggestively from the rails but without trying to make a complete picture; furniture litters the upstage areas and props are scattered about; the band is in plain view tuning up on one side and actors in rags are already roaming the audience. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Good People Theater Company's Elegant CLOSER THAN EVER Review BWW Reviews: Good People Theater Company's Elegant CLOSER THAN EVER
by Ellen Dostal - February 24, 2015

A tastefully elegant production of Maltby & Shire's CLOSER THAN EVER brings the duo's beautiful and thought-provoking songs to life in the intimate performance space at Hollywood Piano in Burbank. It's a co-production between Good People Theater Company and Hollywood Piano; a partnership that means the audience gets the rare opportunity to hear the score played on a gorgeous 9½ foot Mason & Hamlin grand piano. (more...)


BWW Reviews: DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA - A First-Class Love Letter to Family & Their Generations Past Review BWW Reviews: DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA - A First-Class Love Letter to Family & Their Generations Past
by Gil Kaan - February 23, 2015

In the rolling world premiere of Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea; playwright Nathan Alan Davis has vividly created strong empathetic characters; some very wise, some very witty, all someone you'd like to get to know better in your own life. (more...)


BWW Reviews: END OF THE RAINBOW Falls Short at ICT Review BWW Reviews: END OF THE RAINBOW Falls Short at ICT
by Don Grigware - February 23, 2015

When I first heard that Peter Quilter's End of the Rainbow, the story of the demise of Judy Garland during her gig in December, 1968 at Talk of the Town, London, was going to be produced at ICT, Long Beach, I remember thinking 'They'd better get a super dynamic actress. Not everyone can play Judy Garland!' Whether you believe that the events that happen onstage really did occur seems irrelevant in ICT's production; what is all wrong is the casting. Unfortunately, Gigi Bermingham, a fine actress/singer, just does not make the cut. Within five minutes of her first entrance, I saw a woman playing an actress/singer with emotional problems, but that woman might as well be herself; it is not Judy Garland. (more...)


BWW Photo Review: Les 7 Doigts de la main in SEQUENCE 8 Review BWW Photo Review: Les 7 Doigts de la main in SEQUENCE 8
by Ellen Dostal - February 20, 2015

On Thursday, February 19th, Valley Performing Arts Center brought the beauty and artistry of Les 7 doigts de la main to Southern California audiences in a one-night-only performance of Sequence 8. Breathtaking acrobatics, unexpected humor, and exciting innovation are the hallmarks of this mesmerizing piece of storytelling. (more...)


BWW Reviews: CRUEL INTENTIONS at Rockwell - A True Homage to the '90s Review BWW Reviews: CRUEL INTENTIONS at Rockwell - A True Homage to the '90s
by Aimee Curameng - February 20, 2015

Soundtracks of the '90s were epic, memorable, and unforgettable. A familiar song plays on the radio and you know that song. You can name the scene in the movie, the actors, and you're probably reciting a few lines to yourself. Cruel Intentions had one of those soundtracks. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Big Load of Talent Tossed Into WASHER/DRYER Spins Out a Clean, Hot, Fresh, Finished Piece of Entertainment Review BWW Reviews: Big Load of Talent Tossed Into WASHER/DRYER Spins Out a Clean, Hot, Fresh, Finished Piece of Entertainment
by Gil Kaan - February 20, 2015

Perfect mix of talents all-around combine for a well-produced world premiere of playwright Nandita Shenoy's witty Washer/Dryer. Director Peter J. Kuo whips this talented cast of five through a fast, even paced ninety-minutes of social issues served up on a tasty elixir of laughter. (more...)


BWW Reviews: 7 REDNECK CHEERLEADERS - A Doomed Play Within an Unbalanced, Top-Heavy Pyramid of a Play Review BWW Reviews: 7 REDNECK CHEERLEADERS - A Doomed Play Within an Unbalanced, Top-Heavy Pyramid of a Play
by Gil Kaan - February 20, 2015

With the combined credits and awards of the playwright Louis Douglas Jacobs and director David Fofi, one would expect a particularly brilliant production of the critically -acclaimed revival 7 Redneck Cheerleaders. But even with a very game, committed cast of obviously talented performers, the almost two-hour piece unfortunately never gels. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Kristin Towers-Rowles Brings A LOVELY LINEAGE to Sierra Madre Review BWW Reviews: Kristin Towers-Rowles Brings A LOVELY LINEAGE to Sierra Madre
by Don Grigware - February 17, 2015

On Sunday July 24, actress/singer Kristin Towers-Rowles debuted her one-woman cabaret A Lovely Lineage at Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's to resounding success. The amazing singer, who is the grand daughter of legendary MGM musical star Katharine Grayson and Broadway veteran Johnnie Johnston, saluted them both as well as her musical comedy performing parents Patty and Robert Towers. Although the young descendant of American show business royalty has a stupendous background, her life has not been that rosy. Playing a role onstage in a show called Veggie Tales, Towers-Rowles popped a disc in her back from wearing a 50-pound costume and was told she would never appear on stage again. She made a near complete recovery and although she still is in pain, exclaims, 'If I have to hurt, I might as well hurt on stage.' It is this unsinkable brave spirit that is present in her beautiful singing voice, in her glowing personality and overall captivating aura. She has an infectious sense of humor as well. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Glorious SOUTH PACIFIC at MTW Review BWW Reviews: Glorious SOUTH PACIFIC at MTW
by Don Grigware - February 17, 2015

Like The King and I, Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific is a heartbreaking, yet uplifting story told across racial borders ... with an elegant score. The look in its rich set design with an incredible, dreamlike Bali Ha'i in the background, setting the romantic tone for the entire show, adds lovely detail to the current production at MTW, Long Beach. This production is marvelous with great direction and a sensational cast. (more...)


BWW Reviews: DOMA Scores Again with JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Review BWW Reviews: DOMA Scores Again with JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
by Don Grigware - February 17, 2015

Back in the early 70s I was enthralled by the majestic overture of Jesus Christ Superstar and by the gripping power of the lyrics.This is operetta at its best, where the entire story must come to fruition through the singing. When done well, these Bibilical characters come off the pages as real human beings with raw emotions; because of this musical endeavor, we more clearly understand the motivations of Christ, the adoration of his disciples and Mary Magdalene, the bewilderment of Pontius Pilate and Herod and try to see how one friend may betray another. I was so moved that as a Catechism teacher, I played the Webber/Rice score for my classes to stimulate their critical thinking. Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson and Yvonne Elliman provided sterling vocal interpretations that made the whole process so richly rewarding. But, religious or not, audiences across the board are deeply moved by the elegant score, and DOMA's re-envisioned production now onstage at the MET is splendiferous with a terrific cast that can all really sing and move. (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE NIGHT ALIVE Absorbing Drama at the Geffen Review BWW Reviews: THE NIGHT ALIVE Absorbing Drama at the Geffen
by Don Grigware - February 17, 2015

As my eyes panned across the Geffen Playhouse stage before the opening of Conor McPherson's The Night Alive, I could not help but notice the large poster of the film The Great Escape on the wall of Takeshi Kata's set of the dingy Edwardian house in Phoenix Park, Dublin that is the home of Maurice, nephew Tommy and sometimes business partner Doc. Would it tell something about the characters' plight or condition? After all, this is contemporary Dublin, Ireland. There's poverty, isolation and about as much unhappiness as one would find anywhere else in the world in this day and age, maybe more. (more...)


BWW Reviews: FOR THE RECORD: DEAR JOHN HUGHES - A Must-See, Kick-Ass Mash-Up of Hughes' Greatest Hits Review BWW Reviews: FOR THE RECORD: DEAR JOHN HUGHES - A Must-See, Kick-Ass Mash-Up of Hughes' Greatest Hits
by Gil Kaan - February 17, 2015

Anderson Davis directs his kick-ass cast of triple-threats like a racing car pro on a NASCAR speedway allowing the audience no time to breathe between all the applauding, the laughing, and the singing along. (more...)


BWW Reviews: MEMPHIS at Fox PAC has Great Singing and Dancing but Something is Missing Review BWW Reviews: MEMPHIS at Fox PAC has Great Singing and Dancing but Something is Missing
by Audrey Liebross - February 17, 2015

The national tour of MEMPHIS features superb choreography and musical direction, as well as top-notch singing, dancing, and acting by the supporting case. However, despite the show's considerable strengths, the lead actors turn in mediocre performances, reducing the touring version's overall appeal. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Tony Winner John Lloyd Young Croons in OC Valentines Concert Review BWW Reviews: Tony Winner John Lloyd Young Croons in OC Valentines Concert
by Michael L. Quintos - February 16, 2015

For John Lloyd Young's special Valentine's weekend cabaret concert titled 'My Turn'---which continues at the Samueli Theater on the campus of Orange County's Segerstrom Center for the Arts through February 14---the Tony Award-winning star of JERSEY BOYS presented an hour-long set of love songs, both joyful and heart-tugging. With the confidence and panache of a seasoned old-school song interpreter and showman, Young oh-so-passionately crooned and belted his way through an enjoyable songbook of personally curated classic standards that reverberated with the highs and lows of love. (more...)


BWW Reviews: GROUNDLINGS DEAD OR ALIVE - Aims, Targets, and Tickles Your Funny Bone Review BWW Reviews: GROUNDLINGS DEAD OR ALIVE - Aims, Targets, and Tickles Your Funny Bone
by Gil Kaan - February 16, 2015

Groundlings Dead or Alive, Groundling's latest Friday & Saturday night show makes you howl in their successful mix of improv and scripted skits of their snapshots of some absurd and some very real life situations. (more...)


BWW Reviews: HOLLYWOOD AND BROADWAY - Destination to Avoid Review BWW Reviews: HOLLYWOOD AND BROADWAY - Destination to Avoid
by Gil Kaan - February 16, 2015

Aficionados of epic scenery chewing could find much to enjoy in this over-acting, diva spewing, high camp ninety minutes. Audiences looking for laughs and more conventional entertainment may possibly need to find another destination. (more...)


BWW Reviews: ENTER LAUGHING - THE MUSICAL Lights Up Wallis Annenberg Review BWW Reviews: ENTER LAUGHING - THE MUSICAL Lights Up Wallis Annenberg
by Don Grigware - February 13, 2015

Enter Laughing - The Musical/book by Joseph Stein/music & lyrics by Stan Daniels/directed by Stuart Ross/Lovelace Studio Theater of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Beverly Hills/through March 1 (more...)


BWW Reviews: Cathy Rigby Leads 3-DT's Fun-Filled SEUSSICAL Musical Review BWW Reviews: Cathy Rigby Leads 3-DT's Fun-Filled SEUSSICAL Musical
by Michael L. Quintos - February 12, 2015

A charming, fun-filled musical comedy performed with cheery, infectious gusto, 3-D Theatricals' top-notch regional production of SEUSSICAL - THE MUSICAL is a laugh-out-loud, smile-a-minute spectacular for all ages! Featuring Cathy Rigby reprising her Broadway/National Tour role as The Cat In The Hat, the show is one of this season's most gloriously delightful, thoroughly entertaining surprises! The musical continues at the Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton through February 22 then transfers to the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center for a limited run February 28 – March 8. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Intimate Staging of RENT Brings the Characters Into Sharp Focus Review BWW Reviews: Intimate Staging of RENT Brings the Characters Into Sharp Focus
by Shari Barrett - February 11, 2015

Based on Puccini's La Boheme, the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning musical RENT with book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson is a rock opera that tells the story of one year in the life of a group of bohemians struggling in the East Village alphabet city streets of New York during the 1990s. The production at the intimate Hollywood Cupcake Theater features a rotating cast of industry professionals who bring the characters to life brilliantly. (more...)