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January 2018

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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THEATRE!

Aladdin in LA!

Aladdin plays Pantages Theatre January 10-March 31st

Aladdin in LA!

  • By Ken Werther
  • Photo Courtesy of Pantages

Disney Theatrical Productions has been busy. It all began on Broadway with Beauty and the Beast in 1994 (playing an impressive 5,461 performances). Then came The Lion King (1997), a legendary achievement that is still running after 20 years (currently having played 8,364 performances).

Next was Aida (2000), Tarzan (2006), Mary Poppins (2006), The Little Mermaid (2007), Newsies (2012), and Aladdin (2014). This wildly impressive list doesn’t even include various productions around the world of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pinocchio, and The Jungle Book, among others. Many other projects are currently in development. A personal note — I handled publicity for the LA production of Beauty and the Beast from 1995–1996. I had more fun than people should be allowed to have and still get paid for it!

The National Tour of Aladdin opens at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood this month and Disney fans of all ages have been lining up to buy their tickets. Nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical, the show tells the familiar tale of a poor young man who is granted three wishes by a genie in a lamp. The animated feature from which the stage musical is adapted was released in 1992 and became the most financially successful film of that year. Onstage, the musical highlight “A Whole New World” features the famed flying carpet. What more could you ask?

For tickets and more information, click here.

Small Mouth Sounds!

Small Mouth Sounds plays The Broad Stage January 11-28th

Small Mouth Sounds!

  • By Ken Werther
  • Photo Courtesy of The Broad Stage

How do you speak when your mind can’t say a word? Once again, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica brings us a truly unique theatre experience — Small Mouth Sounds, a play by Bess Wohl and directed by Tony Award-nominee Rachel Chavkin. In the overwhelming quiet of the woods, six runaways from city life embark on a silent retreat. As these strangers confront internal demons both profound and absurd, their vows of silence collide with the achingly human need to connect. Filled with awkward and insightful humor, Small Mouth Sounds is a unique and compassionate new play that asks how we address life’s biggest questions when words fail us. How can you not be intrigued?

Small Mouth Sounds was a 2016 Critics’ Pick (The New York Times, New York Magazine, Time Out New York). The New York Times said, “It leaves you moved, refreshed, and even enlightened.” The Huffington Post called it “a play unlike any other.” And Variety said, “it is flawless.” Playwright Bess Wohl’s work has been produced by countless theatres around the country. For her direction of Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1821, Rachel Chavkin received unanimous critical acclaim and multiple awards, including a Tony Award nomination. This production is coming to LA with quite a pedigree! I’m heading to The Broad Stage. Won’t you join me? (Small Mouth Sounds contains nudity and is not recommended for children.)

For more details, click here.

Cabaret Life!

Cabaret plays La Mirada Theatre January 19-February 11th

Cabaret Life!

  • By Ken Werther
  • Photo Courtesy of La Mirada Theatre

A bit of history on Cabaret — the original 1966 Broadway production was directed by the legendary Harold Prince and featured many stars of the day including Jill Haworth (as Sally Bowles), Lotte Lenya, and Jack Gilford, along with up–and–comers Bert Convy and, creating the iconic role of The Emcee, some guy named Joel Grey! He did not receive star billing at the time but as we all know, Grey’s portrayal is singular and will go down in the history books. He played the role in Bob Fosse’s 1972 film and won an Academy Award. Liza Minnelli’s performance as Sally Bowles (also the winner of an Oscar) made her an international star.

The stage version of Cabaret has always been one of my favorite shows. Billed as a musical drama, the story is undeniably fascinating. It unfolds in Berlin, Germany in 1929 and 1930 before the start of the Third Reich. Definitely not standard fare for a Broadway musical, but it’s now considered a classic and has been revived several times on Broadway and all over the world. It never fails to thrill and entertain. This month, McCoy Rigby Entertainment at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts will be offering a new production of the show which the New York Times called, “Divinely, dangerously decadent.” Cabaret is now more relevant than ever. Head for La Mirada! You’ll thank me. I promise.

For more details, click here.

IRONBOUND!

Ironbound plays the Geffen Playhouse January 30-March 4th

IRONBOUND!

  • By Deborah Behrens
  • Photo Courtesy of Geffen Playhouse

Tony nominee Marin Ireland (reasons to be pretty, Sneaky Pete) reprises her role as Darja, a Polish immigrant hell bent on survival in her adopted country, in the West Coast premiere of Martyna Majok’s Ironbound at the Geffen Playhouse. Tyne Rafaeli, who recently helmed the Geffen’s sold-out hit Actually, returns to direct this quietly gripping piece about a woman fighting to make ends meet in an economy where “even the ugly jobs, they don’t have no more.”

The plays spans 22 years in the life of factory worker/house cleaner Darja and takes place at a desolate bus stop in a bleak Newark industrial neighborhood. Josiah Bania (The Good Wife) reprises his role as Darja’s aspiring blues musician husband Maks from the critically acclaimed 2016 Rattlesnake Playwright’s Theater production alongside new cast member Marcel Spears (The Mayor) as Vic. “Ms. Ireland positively vibrates with the force of will that keeps Darja moving ahead,” wrote New York Times critic Christopher Isherwood, who also labeled Bania’s performance as“wonderfully tender.”

“Why is Marin Ireland not yet a household name? Playing the central role of a hard-edged, financially struggling Polish immigrant in Ironbound, the actress is compelling from first minute to last.”  – The Hollywood Reporter

Plays January 30 – March 4th. For more information, click here.

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