September 2018

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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A Simple Favor hits theaters September 14th (starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively)


  • By Alex Brown
  • Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate

Life can be dull, routine. We have all felt stuck in rut at one time or another. So, you can’t blame a girl for exploring her new-found fun side—right?

That is precisely the story behind A Simple Favor, a new film by Lionsgate out this month. When Stephanie Ward (Anna Kendrick) meets her son Miles’ (Joshua Satine) new friend’s mother, Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), she takes a walk on the wild side by indulging her own curiosity as she strikes up a new friendship of her own. And who can blame her? Emily is mysterious, glamorous, irresistible, even for a settled mother. But when Nelson goes missing moments after asking Ward over for a favor, Stephanie gets pulled into a spiral of circumstances she never anticipated.

Sexy, beautiful, and fraught with deception and dark allure, A Simple Favor is a fun dip into the world of the bold and the beautiful and threatens to pull audiences in as deep as the characters in the film. And while audiences are certain to be thrilled, they will be equally happy to return to the safety of their everyday lives when the credits roll.

So, grab your best girlfriends and head to theaters on September 14 to find out what happens next. Moviegoers won’t be able to resist the magnetism of this cast, or the pull of the story’s cascading mystery.

A Simple Favor opens nationwide on September 14th.

More Reprise!

A World Goes Round (presented by Reprise 2.0) plays September 5th through 16th at Freud Playhouse/UCLA

More Reprise!

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of Reprise 2.0

REPRISE and its award-winning musicals return to the UCLA’s Freud Playhouse and I couldn’t be happier.

The new REPRISE 2.0 is back under the direction of Producing Artistic Director Marcia Seligson. Seligson founded the original Reprise! Broadway’s Best which presented nearly 50 outstanding musical productions starring a host of notable talent between 1997 and 2012.

Opening September 5, the first play in the new series is The World Goes ‘Round. Though we are all familiar with notable Broadway musical writing teams like Lerner & Loewe and Rodgers & Hammerstein,  few audiences know composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, but I am sure you remember their shows and classic hits from Cabaret to Chicago. The World Goes ‘Round is a celebration of the Kander and Ebb songbook and features many memorable performances including “All That Jazz,” “New York, New York.” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Money, Money,” and “Cabaret.” These songs and many more are interwoven into an upbeat evening of outstanding musical theatre featuring Dawnn Lewis, Valerie Perri and Larry Cedar.

Frank Rich in The New York Times said, “a handsome, tasteful, snazzily staged outpouring of song and dance that celebrates all the virtues of the Kander-Ebb catalogue.”  Opening October 24th, is Grand Hotel – The Musical based on the 1932 MGM movie about a cast of eccentric guests who check into Berlin’s Grand Hotel one fateful and entertaining weekend stars Sharon Lawrence and Hal Linden.

For more details, click here.


Native Gardens plays September 5th through 30th at The Pasadena Playhouse


  • By Deborah Behrens
  • Photo Courtesy of The Pasadena Playhouse

Neighbors, fences and property lines make for classic comedy fodder. Laughmeister Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) directs Native Gardens, a contemporary take on the genre by Karen Zacarias (Destiny of Desire, The Book Club Play), one of the country’s most produced playwrights, at the Pasadena Playhouse featuring Christian Barillas (Modern Family), Bruce Davison (Longtime Companion), Frances Fisher (Titanic) and Jessica Meraz (Major Crimes).

When rising Chilean attorney Pablo and his very pregnant doctoral candidate wife Tania purchase a D.C townhouse next to long time residents Frank and Virginia, who tend a prize-worthy English garden, things start out friendly enough. Until a disagreement over a long-standing fence line spirals into an all-out border dispute, exposing both couples’ notions of race, taste, class and privilege. “We all have had some relationship with a neighbor that is both wonderful and challenging,” says Alexander. “Every time someone sees or reads this play, they go, ‘I get that.’”

“Native Gardens is a true breath of comic fresh air. It’s a biting, perceptive, and ultimately hopeful sendup to our fraught relationships with those around us – even right next door. – DC Theatre Scene

Plays September 5-30.  For more information, click here.


New Amsterdam premieres September 25th on NBC (starring Ryan Eggold)


  • Photo Courtesy of NBC

The doors are set to swing open at a unique medical center — Manhattan’s fictitious New Amsterdam (inspired by the real Bellvue in NYC), the first public hospital in the United States. My question initially was … does television really need more doctor dramas? I watch The Good Doctor (ABC) and Chicago Med (NBC) every week; the stories are riveting and well written. New Amsterdam creator David Schulner took his idea to executive producer Peter Horton (thirtysomething, Grey’s Anatomy) and told him, “The way The West Wing made me feel hopeful about our government — that’s the spirit I want to capture.” Having been a dedicated fan of The West Wing, that sounds good to me!

New Amsterdam will star Ryan Eggold, a wonderful actor I’ve known since his senior year at USC School of Theatre. He appeared in a production of Dead End at the Ahmanson Theatre (where I worked in the press office). Ryan is an incredibly talented and truly nice guy. His television credits are remarkable for someone so young … he is well known for his work on 90210, The Young and the Restless, Dirt, and The Blacklist, to name only a few. I got a quick look at the New Amsterdam pilot and it’s pretty intense (in a good way)! I wouldn’t have believed I’d be adding another medical show to my viewing schedule, but I would have been wrong!

For more details, click here.

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