Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in local secondary schools, working in marketing for several studios, writing, directing, producing, and performing in productions for several non-profit theaters, Shari now dedicates her time and focuses her skills as an independent publicist to "get the word out" about smaller theaters throughout the Los Angeles area. As a founding member of the LA Stage Alliance Leadership Council Task Force, she and reps from theaters throughout the city worked together to articulate a vision for the theatre community of Greater Los Angeles. Shari has received recognition from the City of Los Angeles for her dedication of heart and hand to the needs of friends, neighbors and fellow members of society for her devotion of service to the people of Los Angeles. Shari is honored to serve her hometown as a contributor to Broadway World.
Now playing at Theatre of NOTE is the west coast premiere of WELCOME TO THE WHITE ROOM, written by Trish Harnetiaux and directed with constant, attention-getting movement by Megan A McGuane. In the small, black box theater, we discover Ms. White (Sierra Marcks), Mr. Paine (Chris Gardner), and Jennings (Sarah Lilly) shortly after they have arrived in a completely white room set designed by Amanda Knehans. It soon becomes apparent they have not met before nor do any of them know the reason they have been brought into this strange place. As the one-act play unfolds, we follow their journey as they attempt to figure out exactly what they are meant to do and the reason for their entrapment in such a strange place.Review: The 2017 PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS Takes Audience on The Grand Tour of Europe August 11, 2017
For those who have never attended THE PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS live show or its sister event THE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS in Laguna Beach, you are missing a wonderful treasure of not only art but theatrical spectacle during which historical works of arts are brought to life with real people stepping in to portray the characters in each piece of art, be it a painting, sculpture, or promotional advertisement for artistic spectacles taking place all over the world. Each person is costumed to perfectly represent the characters being portrayed, making each presentation a wonder of creativity and awe.Review: Torrance Theatre Company's SISTER ACT is a Sparkling Musical Tribute to the Universal Power of Friendship August 10, 2017
Each summer, the Torrance Theatre Company opens its season with a musical production at the James Armstrong Theatre. This year, it's SISTER ACT, the feel-good musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg as disco diva Deloris Van Cartier, who witnesses a murder and is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won't be a found: a convent! Featuring original music by Tony (and eight-time Oscar) winner Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors), this uplifting musical was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The Torrance Theatre Company production is directed by Jim Hormel with musical direction by Bradley Hampton, and choreography by Christopher Albrecht, and features an outstanding live orchestra who knows how to rock the house! The production features a cast of 30 actors from all over Southern California, starring Ashley Elizabeth Crowe as Deloris who transforms herself into Sister Mary Clarence. Crowe will grab your attention every moment she is on stage with her booming voice and over-the-top energy.Review: 3-D Theatricals SPAMALOT Brings Stunning Broadway Caliber Production to Local Audiences August 8, 2017
When Monty Python's Flying Circus first premiered on television in 1969, few could have imagined how influential the program would become thanks to the inventive minds of its six main collaborators Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. Known for their surreal slapstick humor which satirized the over-politeness perceived to be the epitome of British culture, the series spawned multiple films, some stage performances, and the outrageously hysterical musical SPAMALOT, mostly based off the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and some of the television show's more memorable skits. The original 2005 Broadway production was nominated for 14 Tony Awards, including the scenery and costumes currently being used in the thoroughly entertaining 3-D Theatricals musical comedy extravaganza from August 4 - 13 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center and August 18 - 27, 2017 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.Review: BORN FOR THIS Boldly Reminds Us to Choose Faith and Family Over the Excesses of Fame August 3, 2017
Although I never watched their program, I do remember that Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were wildly known almost as much for their outrageous personalities and sartorial style as their devotion to preaching the gospel of Jesus. It is easy to see why the pair became an unlikely surrogate family for the two teenagers from Detroit raised on that same belief, as they rapidly became the hottest stars in televangical America. But for the naive siblings, especially BeBe, it's not an easy lesson learning how to reconcile the temptations of fame and fortune with the things he ultimately values more. It's a wildy funny yet emotional journey toward self-discovery, told with great music and outstanding performances by siblings Juan Winans and Deborah Joy Winans (the children of Carvin Winans, Sr. and Deborah Winans) who portray their aunt CeCe and uncle BeBe with the utmost respect, magical stage presence, and the most amazing vocal pipes!BWW Review: George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM Speaks Directly to the World's Current Political Turmoil August 2, 2017
ANIMAL FARM, Orwell's brilliant political satire about the corrupting influence of power, charts the fall of idealism and the rise of tyranny after the animals of Manor Farm rise up against their oppressive human owner in a struggle for rights, equality, gaining the right to make their own choices on how to live their lives. Onstage, the story is read by two children, the girl (Sierra Rose Friday) and boy (Shane McDermott), keeping the audience informed as to the action taking place or what has gone on off stage leading to that particular scene. It all begins as the animals, led by Snowball, an idealistic pig (Christopher Yarrow), take over the farm from Mr. Jones (Steve Fisher). Their plan goes well at first; all the animals are equal and content. But eventually, several of the other pigs, led by Napoleon (Mark Lewis) and Squealer (Melora Marshall), yield to the lure of power and start to make decisions that serve their own interests best, eventually leading them to proclaim that some animals are more equal than others. The quote, 'absolute power corrupts absolutely,' certainly applies to Orwell's masterful work.BWW Review: Hershey Felder Dazzles Audiences as OUR GREAT TCHAIKOVSKY July 25, 2017
During the multimedia production, directed by Trevor Hay, Felder plays himself as well as the world-famous composer, along with a wide assortment of people from the many phases of Tchaikovsky's life. For each one, Felder completely changes his vocal patterns as well as his physical being, after telling the audience that in order to present his stories about all these real people, he first considers the place, then the character, and lastly the music to set the stage for each segment. And be sure to keep an eye on the picture frame displayed prominently on the ornate set designed by Felder as it changes portraits as the many characters are introduced, allowing us to see the real people he is portraying. But you would never know the music was not considered first, given the way his hands fly over the keys as he energetically plays some of the greatest works created by his favorite composer since childhood.Review: Adam Rapp's Pulitzer Prize Nominated and Award-Winning Play, NOCTURNE, Brilliantly Acted by Jamie Wollrab July 24, 2017
The dialogue in Adam Rapp's searingly and brutally honest play NOCTURNE is so beautifully written with remarkably descriptive phrases, it will awe your imagination into immersing yourself into one man's journey after, as a teen, he unwittingly caused the death of this younger sister in a late-night, tragic car accident on a country road due to failing brakes. The Son, whose name we never learn, is brilliantly portrayed by Jamie Wollrab who engulfs his entire being into telling one man's journey of redemption in this gut-wrenching yet hauntingly lyrical mediation on guilt and grief, all of which begins with the repeated line, "Fifteen years ago, I killed my sister."Interview: MAMMA MIA! Director Kathleen Marshall and Stars Lea DeLaria and Corbin Bleu Share Their Excitement About This Summer's Hollywood Bowl Musical Extravaganza July 21, 2017
This year, the Bowl's annual staged musical visits the 2001 international phenomenon about a young woman's plot to uncover the identity of her father among three of her mother's former loves, all of whom are invited to her wedding on a Greek island. But which man turns out to be her father and walks her down the aisle? Filled with ABBA's timeless songs, including 'Dancing Queen' and 'Voulez Vous,' get ready to have the time of your life July 28-29-30 seeing MAMMA MIA! at the Hollywood Bowl, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall and conducted by David Holcenberg.
Kathleen Marshall is one of Broadway's most celebrated artists. Honored numerous times for her work on stage and screen, she has won three Tony Awards (with six more nominations) and two Drama Desk Awards (four additional nominations). Marshall has also been nominated for both an Olivier and an Emmy. The MAMA MIA! production at the Hollywood Bowl marks her Los Angeles debut as a director/choreographer, and I recently was fortunate to speak with her, and stars Corbin Bleu and Lea DeLaria, about their excitement being involved in the musical extravaganza.First Look: World Premiere Dance Production of EMOTIONS by the Newly Formed Blind Dance Company July 19, 2017
CRE Outreach is pleased to announce the World Premiere dance production of EMOTIONS by the newly formed Blind Dance Company, in which all performers are sightless, on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 7:00pm at The Lazarus Experience, located at 224 E. 11th Street Loft 501, in downtown Los Angeles, CA 90015. Featured dancers include Natalie Gross, Kenny Lee, Ronald Chism, Sylvia Taylor, Barbara Ford, Christina Johnson, and William Andrus, who, guided by professional dancer and choreographer, Hydeia Muhammad, perform for the first time as the Blind Dance Company. During the performance, you will experience various emotions through these talented, all-blind dancers, with many genres of dance represented including Hip-Hop, Ballroom, Contemporary and much more! Each number will introduce a different form of emotion while incorporating the beauty of fulfillment and the ability to overcome obstacles through dance.BWW Review: THE KING OF THE YEES Playwright Lauren Yee Shares Her Father's Story in an Innovative World Premiere Staging July 18, 2017
In her new latest play KING OF THE YEES, now enjoying its World Premiere at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, Yee shares the tale of how her father Larry has been a driving force in the Yee Fung Toy (Yee Family Association), a seemingly obsolescent Chinese American men's club formed 150 years ago in the wake of the Gold Rush when workers from China were brought to San Francisco to assist in the building of the much-needed railroads crossing America. And while the story may be totally fictionalized, it seemed very real to me, especially since Yee wrote herself as well as her father into the play, having them introduced in an innovative, comical, and interactive way during the preamble to the production. For those of you lucky enough to be seated in the front row, be prepared to interact with the overly friendly and well-intentioned Larry Yee, portrayed with energy and glee by Francis Jue.BWW Review: In Solofest 2017 Hit Show IT'S ONLY LIPSTICK, Claudia DiMartino Shares Life Lessons Learned and Dreams Pursued July 14, 2017
Back by popular demand after being a hit of the 2017 SoloFest, accomplished actress Claudia DiMartino once again shares her touching, moving and hilarious story of leaving the corporate world to pursue her acting dreams in IT'S ONLY LIPSTICK at the Whitefire Theater in Sherman Oaks on Thursday evenings at 8pm through August 17. Directed by acclaimed solo show veteran Jessica Lynn Johnson, the show is DiMartino's story of surviving the dysfunction of an Italian-American family in Brooklyn to weathering the instability of being a marketing executive in the beauty industry in corporate America before the life-shattering events of 9/11 caused her to take a good, hard look at her life and make the decision that it's never too late to go after your dreams.BWW Review: Tour-de-Force Performances Highlight DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA at Edgemar Center for the Arts July 9, 2017
Every once in a while, I am treated to an amazing evening of theater featuring actors who step outside of themselves and totally encompass their characters every single moment they are onstage. With performances as riveting as any I have seen, Tanna Frederick and Robert Standley are marvels to behold as unlikely lovers Roberta and Danny in John Patrick Shanley's DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, brilliantly directed with soulful abandon by Carl Weathers at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. The Rainbow Theatre Company production is the show to see this summer!BWW Review: LETTERS FROM A NUT Spotlights the Humorous Book Series by Ted L. Nancy June 30, 2017
Have you noticed how on most packaging, there is a short statement asking you to please write or call with any questions or concerns about the product you have purchased? That fact came to the attention of author Ted L. Nancy (aka Barry Marder) when he was eating a bag of Fritos while watching television in the middle of the night. Figuring it might be fun to write to the company to see if he would get a response began his career writing absurd correspondence as a customer in need of customer service. Nancy brings his madcap collection of correspondence to the Geffen stage for a one-of-a-kind show that is both outlandish and uproarious.First Look: Neil Simon's THE GINGERBREAD LADY Opens 7/14 at the Westchester Playhouse June 30, 2017
Kentwood Players is presenting THE GINGERBREAD LADY, a dramedy by Neil Simon, opening Friday, July 14 through Saturday, August 19, 2017 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm at the Westchester Playhouse, located at 8301 Hindry Avenue in Westchester, CA 90045. The production is directed by Drew Fitzsimmons and produced by Jenny Boone and Lynn Gutstadt for Kentwood Players with rights secured from Samuel French. Featured in the cast (in alphabetical order) are Marco Garcia Ballare, Sara Bozin, Al Gomez, Ken MacFarlane, Lezlie Moore, and Genous Novin.BWW Review: Spectacular SEUSSICAL Takes Audiences on Flights of Fancy at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre! June 27, 2017
An undisputed comic legend, Lenny Bruce was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. His life and work have had an impact on poetry, politics, music, film and comedy from Don Rickles to Richard Pryor and Chris Rock, and any other comedian who is now free to speak his/her mind without fear of legal retribution thanks to Bruce challenging our First Amendment freedom of speech rights. Lenny's tempestuous personal and professional life which Marmo embodies with his body, heart and soul, was marked by great passion and great pain, thanks to his unwavering commitment to free speech, which led to numerous obscenity charges and arrests.First Look: THE HERO WITHIN Brings Veterans' Personal Stories to Life, Extended July 7-8-9 in Santa Monica June 22, 2017
ELEVATOR is currently enjoying a sold-out run at the Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood, and due to ticket demand, has been extended again through July 30, 2017. I originally reviewed the show in April 2017 and was fascinated by the level of audience emotional attachment to the characters, so I arranged an interview with writer/director Michael Leoni and one of the featured actors in show, Erica Katzin, who plays The Temp, hoping some of their comments will encourage you to order your tickets NOW before the Los Angeles run ends.BWW Review: EMMITT AND AVA is Thought-Provoking Theatre About Family Expectations vs. Artistic Vision June 12, 2017
Those of us raised in a home where we knew dating a person of another race would never be accepted will certainly identify with the premise of EMMITT AND AVA, a modern tale of love and loss written and directed by two-time Ovation winner Dominic Hoffman as a Co-Production with Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. The play's Los Angeles Premiere, presented by Delta Highway Productions, features Tucker Smallwood, Tom Schanley, Stephanie Schulz, and Harry Fowler as members of two families, unacquainted with one another, who suddenly find themselves forced to communicate on most intimate terms after their two children die together in a tragic car accident.