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BWW Reviews: Singer LAURA DICKINSON Rocks CD Release Party at Vitello's Review BWW Reviews: Singer LAURA DICKINSON Rocks CD Release Party at Vitello's
by Don Grigware - December 17, 2014

On Monday, December 15 exciting singer Laura Dickinson brought her CD release party One For My Baby to Upstairs at Vitello's. It was a packed house and Dickinson, needless to say, blew the roof off the joint with her dynamic delivery, oozing charm and warmth from every pore. Not only is she beautiful, but oh so terribly engaging as she grabs hold of you and won't let go. Her special guest Mel Collins, who opened the show, called her 'masterful'; I'll go a step further and add 'captivating and spellbinding'. She's a singer to be reckoned with! (more...)


BWW Reviews: DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY Serves Hilarity with Her Fantastic Plastic Review BWW Reviews: DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY Serves Hilarity with Her Fantastic Plastic
by Michael L. Quintos - December 17, 2014

Filled to the (vacuum-sealed) brim with naughty one-liners and blush-worthy double entendres, DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY is a one-woman comedy laugh-fest cleverly disguised as the most outlandish Tupperware party you'll ever experience. It is hosted by the flamboyant, ultra-caffeinated Dixie Longate, the big-haired, sweet-and-spicy Southern hick female alter-ego of writer/actor Kris Andersson, who has arrived in the peculiar land of OC Housewives to hock her amazing, innovative and virtually indestructible 'plastic crap.' The Drama Desk-nominated Off-Broadway show---yes, it's a show---continues its just-extended run at Segerstrom Center for the Arts' Samueli Theater in Costa Mesa through January 4, 2015. (more...)


BWW Reviews: The Troubies' The Snow QUEEN, 80 Minutes of Rocker Heaven Review BWW Reviews: The Troubies' The Snow QUEEN, 80 Minutes of Rocker Heaven
by Ellen Dostal - December 16, 2014

While the kids are busy getting their pictures taken with Santa at the mall and begging for overpriced toys they'll forget the day after the Christmas, adults know that the place they'll get the most bang for their jingle bell bucks is at the Falcon Theater. That's where the latest Troubie show is roasting its comedy chestnuts in its own unique style while providing one of the wackiest soundtracks to the holiday season. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Ahmanson Welcomes Coward's Ageless BLITHE SPIRIT Review BWW Reviews: Ahmanson Welcomes Coward's Ageless BLITHE SPIRIT
by Don Grigware - December 16, 2014

Noel Coward wrote in a song, 'If love were all, I should be lonely', declaring the impossibility of romantic love. He continued this theme onstage in Private Lives, and on screen in Brief Encounter and once again in his most produced play internationally Blithe Spirit, now onstage in a sterling production at the Ahmanson through January 18, and starring the one and only Angela Lansbury. (more...)


BWW Reviews: SLEEPING BEAUTY Awakens Joyfully at Pasadena Playhouse Review BWW Reviews: SLEEPING BEAUTY Awakens Joyfully at Pasadena Playhouse
by Don Grigware - December 16, 2014

For the last few years the uber talented Lythgoe family have been entertaining us at Christmastime, first at the El Portal in NoHo and now at the Pasadena Playhouse with a British style panto. A panto is an interactive entertainment that starts with a very contemporary retelling of a fairy tale such as Snow White, Cinderella, or in this case Sleeping Beauty and turns it into a fun imaginative show with music that will appeal to both children and their parents. There's usually an actor in drag (outrageous David Engel as Nanny Tickle, Aurora's nanny), a villain or villainess (Lucy Lawless as Carabosse))... and audience are encouraged to root for the heroes and HISS loudly at the villains. Lawless tries to sway and seize control over the audience by singing 'One Way or (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE GRINCH Stage Musical Offers Fun, Kid-Friendly Theatrics Review BWW Reviews: THE GRINCH Stage Musical Offers Fun, Kid-Friendly Theatrics
by Michael L. Quintos - December 12, 2014

I'd have to be, well... a mean ol' Grinch to say anything remotely negative about the new non-equity touring stage production of DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL, so I'll try my best to keep it to a minimum. Honestly though, it's really not that hard, actually, because---surprise---the show, for the most part, is an honest-to-goodness adorable little musical with lots of kid-friendly comedy and a feel-good holiday message that really softens even the hardest of cynics. And yes, even I myself found my heart growing three sizes during the course of the show's smile-inducing opening night performance at Costa Mesa's Segerstrom Center for the Arts (it continues here for a brief run through December 14). Sure, the show isn't exactly the pinnacle of musical theater excellence, nor does it even attempt to be. But what it lacks in roof-raising, show-stopping splendor, it makes up for ten-fold in pure pluck---the kind that kids, especially, will eat right up like candy. (more...)


BWW Reviews: An Enjoyable, Albeit Flawed ELF: THE MUSICAL Plays Two Performances in Riverside Review BWW Reviews: An Enjoyable, Albeit Flawed ELF: THE MUSICAL Plays Two Performances in Riverside
by Audrey Liebross - December 11, 2014

The 2014 Western tour of ELF: THE MUSICAL stopped for two performances at Riverside's Fox Performing Arts Center before leaving Southern California. The show is fun, but it has flaws. (more...)


BWW Reviews: KRITZERLAND CHRISTMAS Puts the Jolly in Your Holly Review BWW Reviews: KRITZERLAND CHRISTMAS Puts the Jolly in Your Holly
by Don Grigware - December 09, 2014

The cast of fantastic singers included Kim Huber, Robert Yacko, Madison Claire Parks, Roger Befeler, special guest Jason Graae, and young singers Sami and Sarah Staitman, Brennley Brown, Paige Befeler and 10 year-old Hadley Belle Miller. Virtuoso pianist James Lent served as musical director for the event headed up by host Bruce Kimmel, who was in especially good form about to celebrate a birthday on December 8. (more...)


BWW Reviews: STRIKING 12 Takes You on a Unique and Entertaining Journey Review BWW Reviews: STRIKING 12 Takes You on a Unique and Entertaining Journey
by Don Grigware - December 09, 2014

Loud repetitious music usually is a turnoff to me, in spite of the fact that the rock and roll of the 60s and 70s constitutes a large part of my musical background. I grew up listening to it and like much of it, but in later years have narrowed my preferences to pop standards, jazz and Broadway fare, which always make me happy. Although Irish, I have learned to love Celtic music more recently; since Once, I have become increasingly enamored of that sound especially at Christmas. When you add violin to keyboard, drums and guitar, as do the creators of Striking 12, now in its Orange County premiere at the Laguna Playhouse through December 28, you get that joyful sound loud and clear, and that plus the brilliance of the four musicians/actors (Brent Schindele ... (more...)


BWW Reviews: ALMOST, MAINE - Almost Perfection! Review BWW Reviews: ALMOST, MAINE - Almost Perfection!
by Gil Kaan - December 08, 2014

In Almost, Maine, playwright John Cariani brilliantly weaves his witty words into his collection of nine stand-alone short scenes thread together by their home town and the various townsfolk name-dropped throughout. (more...)


BWW Reviews: SHAWN RYAN'S Merry Little Christmas Review BWW Reviews: SHAWN RYAN'S Merry Little Christmas
by Don Grigware - December 05, 2014

Shawn Ryan sparkles onstage just by being himself. Of course, he exaggerates a tad. Every actor/comedian does. But, it is Ryan's genuine likability that makes him shine. He is self-deprecating, willing to go all the way with a joke or gag, and within the boundaries that he creates, his four-letter words and raw sex talk seem almost as sweet and endearing as apple pie. Honestly, I never heard him curse, it all sounded so natural. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Gilbert and Sullivan's THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE Offers High-Spirited Farcical High Jinks Performed by a Multi-Talented Cast Review BWW Reviews: Gilbert and Sullivan's THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE Offers High-Spirited Farcical High Jinks Performed by a Multi-Talented Cast
by Shari Barrett - December 05, 2014

The Pirates of Penzance with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert is an hilarious and hopeful farce concerning Frederic (Chris Yeschenko), who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates led by the hot-shot Pirate King (the ultimate pirate Drew Fitzsimmons, who co-directed and choreographed the production with Michael-Anthony Nozzi). Performances continue through December 21 at the San Pedro Theatre Club. (more...)


BWW Reviews: LESLIE JORDAN: FRUIT FLY Soars into the Upper Altitudes of Laughter Review BWW Reviews: LESLIE JORDAN: FRUIT FLY Soars into the Upper Altitudes of Laughter
by Gil Kaan - December 05, 2014

A frequent Leslie Jordan collaborator, David Galligan directs this pint-sized dynamo in an 80-minute mostly funny, but sometimes poignantly heartfelt walk down the Jordan Family's memory lane. (more...)


BWW Reviews: OSF's Breathlessly Enchanting INTO THE WOODS at The Wallis Review BWW Reviews: OSF's Breathlessly Enchanting INTO THE WOODS at The Wallis
by Ellen Dostal - December 05, 2014

Prepare to be thoroughly enchanted by Oregon Shakespeare Festival's transfer of INTO THE WOODS newly arrived at the Wallis Center in Beverly Hills. It is, without a doubt, the most inventive and inspiring production of this Sondheim musical I have ever seen. Amanda Denhert's direction delights at every turn such that watching this INTO THE WOODS left my heart bursting with unadulterated joy, devastated by its unflinching honesty, and breathless with anticipation of each moment to come. (more...)


BWW Reviews: A LITTLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS Decorates Sierra Madre Playhouse Review BWW Reviews: A LITTLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS Decorates Sierra Madre Playhouse
by Don Grigware - December 01, 2014

A Little House Christmas/based on the book Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder/'adapted for the stage by James DeVita/directed by Emily Chase/Sierra Madre Playhouse/through December 23Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic book Little House on the Prairie (1932) became famous as an hour-long TV drama in the 70s (1974-1983) starring Michael Landon and featuring Melissa Gilbert in her acting debut as Laura. The books, as well as the TV show, are forever popular. As part of their focus on America season, Sierra Madre Playhouse and its artistic director Christian Lebano have chosen James DeVita's stage adaptation of the stories as its holiday presentation A Little House Christmas beautifully directed by Emily Chase and featuring a superb cast of 10, now onstage in its West Coast premiere, through December 23. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Candlelight Gifts IT'S CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY Review BWW Reviews: Candlelight Gifts IT'S CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY
by Don Grigware - December 01, 2014

Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre's annual Christmas show is an original with concept and script by artistic director John LaLonde incorporating well-known and lesser known holiday tunes and carols. It's Christmas Every Day is a feel-good, forget.your.troubles kind of show. Think the whimsy of White Christmas, the silliness of The Wizard of Oz, the sass of Sister Act, the daring.do of Singin' in the Rain and other MGM movies and even the class of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Ballet, which are all thrown in for good measure. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Delightful, Delicious and De-Lovely! A First Class ANYTHING GOES Docks at The McCallum Theatre Review BWW Reviews: Delightful, Delicious and De-Lovely! A First Class ANYTHING GOES Docks at The McCallum Theatre
by David Green - November 30, 2014

If you've been secretly praying for a good old fashioned love story wrapped up in a delicious Cole Porter score, dazzling costumes, highly polished performances and slick, high-energy production numbers then the current national touring production of ANYTHING GOES, which is docked at The McCallum Theatre for the Thanksgiving weekend, is the answer to your prayers. This most recent revival of the high-spirited musical farce (originally produced in 1934) is first class all the way. (more...)


BWW Reviews: 4 GIRLS 4! McKechnie, McArdle, McGovern And Graff Kick Off The Annenberg's Starry Cabaret Season! Review BWW Reviews: 4 GIRLS 4! McKechnie, McArdle, McGovern And Graff Kick Off The Annenberg's Starry Cabaret Season!
by David Green - November 26, 2014

The Annenberg Theatre kicked off its' starry 2014-2015 Cabaret Season with four of Broadway's most celebrated leading ladies - Donna McKechnie, Andrea McArdle, Maureen McGovern and Randy Graff - in an unforgettable evening of song and story to a "standing room only" crowd dotted with several other Broadway luminaries including Carol Channing, Kaye Ballard and composer David Zippel. Under the masterful musical direction of John McDaniel, this quintessential quartet delivered well beyond my already high expectations and to say the evening was "memorable" would be nothing short of an understatement. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Chromolume PUTS IT TOGETHER Review BWW Reviews: Chromolume PUTS IT TOGETHER
by Don Grigware - November 26, 2014

Ah, the art of making art! In an excellent adaptation of the 1999 Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's Putting It Together, Chromolume Theatre steps up to bat with stellar direction from Cate Caplin and boasting a terrific cast through December 21 at their home the Attic Theatre in West LA. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Mark Taper Forum's WHAT THE BUTLER SAW Review BWW Reviews: Mark Taper Forum's WHAT THE BUTLER SAW
by Don Grigware - November 25, 2014

Joe Orton's insanely insane world in 1960s England is no better displayed than in his third and final play What the Butler Saw now onstage at the Mark Taper Forum through December 21. A terrifically energized cast are on hand as is seasoned director John Tillinger, but things got off to a somewhat slow start opening night and really did not start to cook until Act II. It might be the width and depth of the Taper stage, which is not easy to cross that rapidly. I saw a production a couple of years back at the Odyssey, and the space being half the size, entrances and exits were quicker as was the tempo of the whole play. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Train to Zakopane: An Uncomfortable Ride to Destination Hate Review BWW Reviews: Train to Zakopane: An Uncomfortable Ride to Destination Hate
by Gil Kaan - November 23, 2014

As a loving homage to his father, Henry Jaglom wrote Train to Zakopane based on the tales his father told him of his times in Poland during the 1920s. (more...)


BWW Reviews: HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN Review BWW Reviews: HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN
by Don Grigware - November 21, 2014

Once again the uniquely talented Hershey Felder endears his audience to him with his newest presentation, the life and work of the one and only composer Irving Berlin in Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin. Currently onstage at the Geffen Playhouse through December 21, Felder's tribute, although a bit long - coming in a tad short of two hours without an interval - is enriching, humorous and replete with most of the brilliant Berlin tunes. (more...)


BWW Reviews: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME Review BWW Reviews: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
by Don Grigware - November 18, 2014

Victor Hugo's monumental romantic/gothic novel of the mid 15th century The Hunchback of Notre Dame centers in, around and on top of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The new musical of the same name written by Peter Parnell, Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken, which is receiving its U.S. premiere at La Jolla Playhouse, capitalizes on this fact. Alexander Dodge's massive set of the cathedral replete with gargoyles, multiple statues, stained-glass window and huge overhanging bells is a work of art that dominates the action onstage in front of it. In fact, it is impossible to take your eyes off at least a part of it for a split second. (more...)


BWW Reviews: SCROOGE IN ROUGE Generates Lots of Laughs at Rancho Mirage's Desert Rose Playhouse Review BWW Reviews: SCROOGE IN ROUGE Generates Lots of Laughs at Rancho Mirage's Desert Rose Playhouse
by Audrey Liebross - November 18, 2014

The Desert Rose Playhouse, in Rancho Mirage California, is presenting a hilariously funny sendup of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, SCROOGE IN ROUGE. The plot's premise is that a small music hall on London's outskirts plans to present A CHRISTMAS CAROL. When all but three actors in the twenty-member cast develop food poisoning, the three decide to go forward with each of them taking on multiple roles. The puns and other corny jokes fly in this brilliant production. If you see only one version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL this year, it should be this one. (more...)


BWW Reviews: DIRTY Satisfyingly Delivers Its Money Shot Review BWW Reviews: DIRTY Satisfyingly Delivers Its Money Shot
by Gil Kaan - November 17, 2014

Slaughter House Theatre Company's West Coast premiere of Dirty wonderfully involves, intrigues, then incites indignation while always keeping its audience interested. (more...)


 
🔀LOS ANGELES SHOWS
The Sound of Music in Los AngelesThe Sound of Music
(Runs 12/9 - 12/19)
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Los AngelesJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
(Runs 12/5 - 12/20)
White Christmas in Los AngelesWhite Christmas
(Runs 12/6 - 12/21)
Into The Woods in Los AngelesInto The Woods
(Runs 12/19 - 12/21)
Gift of the Magi: The Musical in Los AngelesGift of the Magi: The Musical
(Runs 12/5 - 12/21)
A Wonderful Life
(Runs 11/29 - 12/21)
White Christmas in Los AngelesWhite Christmas
(Runs 12/4 - 12/21)

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