ARTS IN LOS ANGELES
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January 2020

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THEATRE!

The Last Ship

Oliver Savile and Sting in the Toronto production of The Last Ship (Photo Cylla von Tiedemann) Catch The Last Ship at the Ahmanson Theater Jan 14-Feb 16th

The Last Ship

  • By Debbie Emery
  • Photos By Cylla von Tiedemann

As both a founding member of The Police and a successful solo artist, Sting voiced the soundtrack of my childhood and teenage years. The multiple Grammy winner is now telling a story inspired by his own life growing up in an industrial town in Northern England in The Last Ship, which opens at the Ahmanson Theatre on January 14.

Sting’s first-ever musical tells the story of Gideon, a prodigal son returning home after 17 years at sea to find that the local shipyard his town was built around is closing and Meg, the love he left behind, has moved on. Tensions flare and picket lines are drawn as foreman Jackie White (Sting) rallies the workers to take over the shipyard and build one last ship in the face of the gathering storm.

The singer, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, performs original music and lyrics, along with his iconic hits such as Island of Souls, All This Time, and When We Dance. While Sting is best known for his immense musical talents, he is also a gifted actor and his movie credits include The Bride and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Having premiered in Chicago in 2014, The Last Ship is based on a book written by John Logan and Brian Yorkey, and directed by Lorne Campbell.

For details and tickets, click here.

Vietgone

LATW Vietgone’s Tim Dang (Photo M Palma Photography)

Vietgone

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo By M Palma Photography

I was fascinated by the L.A. Theater work’s newest offering, Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE. Let’s call it a flashback romantic-comedy road trip across America, but told through an ultra pop culture lens with a comic book hero, ninja warrior and sci fi point of view plus a raucous hip-hop soundtrack by Shane Rettig.  Sounds crazy but it works and is so compelling and entertaining.

The story: In 1975, Nguyen’s parents, two refugees from the Vietnam War meet in an Arkansas relocation camp, fall in love and build a life in a new land. And so their adventure begins as told through Nguyen’s lens. Per Nguyen, “When my parents told me the stories about Vietnam, they told me the real stories, what actually happened, but what I imaged was kung fu movies because the only things I ever saw that had a lot of Asian people in it were kung fu movies.” A prolific writer, Nguyen co-founded Vampire Cowboys, the successful NYC theater company known for over the top productions like “She Kills Monsters” and “Alice in Slasherland.” They gained notoriety for featuring minorities in hero roles. VIETGONE, directed by Tim Dang, will be recorded in front of an audience at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater for future radio broadcast. The Los Angeles Times reviewer called VIETGONE “a riotous theatrical cartoon (that) won me over with its simply honesty,” and I completely agree.

For more details, click here.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Arsenic and Old Lace plays Jan 24-Feb 16th at La Mirada Theatre

Arsenic and Old Lace

  • By AC Remler

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts is bringing in the new year with a killer classic comedy, Joseph Kesselring’s 1941 hit play Arsenic and Old Lace running Jan. 24-Feb 16. Directed by Casey Stangl and presented with McCoy Rigby Entertainment, Arsenic and Old Lace centers around two delightfully sadistic spinsters Abby (Carol Mansell) and Martha (Lynn Milgrim) Brewster. Thinking that they’re performing acts of kindness, the pair poison lonely old men with arsenic-laced elderberry wine and stash the bodies in the cellar. Mayhem ensues when their nephew Mortimer (Jamison Jones) arrives to propose to his girlfriend and discovers the ghastly antics. Before moving forward with wedding plans, he must first handle the pesky situation with his aunties. Adding to the lunacy are his two nettlesome brothers; one is a wanted criminal (seemingly homicide runs in the family) and the other believes he’s Theodore Roosevelt.

An interesting bit of history behind the theater production is that it stalled the release of the film adaption for 3 1/2 years. Contractually, the film couldn’t premiere until the Broadway run had finished –– 1,444 performances later. When it finally hit theaters in 1944, the movie (starring Cary Grant as Mortimer) was considered a worldwide box office success.

For details and tickets, click here.

Anne Frank

And Then They Came For Me plays Feb 1-9th at Lewis Family Playhouse

Anne Frank

  • By Arlene Winnick

When I first heard that And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank was coming to the Lewis Family Playhouse next month, I couldn’t imagine how they would present such a difficult topic to young people. But after talking with MainStreet Theatre Company artistic director, Mireya Hepner, I understand and can’t wait to take my grandchildren. As Hepner explained, the play is not about the holocaust, rather it’s about a loving family and true friends under extreme circumstances. The play teaches children to have empathy – a relevant part of our bullying conversation today; to think about values; and to understand history. Using videos of two Holocaust survivors, Eva Geiringer Schloss and Ed Silverberg, both teenagers during the mid-1930’s and World War 2, the play evokes a very moving personal story of love, loyalty, hope and survival while actors interrupt their recollections.

Two lobby exhibits will be featured during the run of the play – The Kindertransport, when children of Jewish families were sent to other countries, and the Art of Heinz Geiringer, Eva’s older brother.

MainStreet is the resident company at the Lewis Playhouse in Rancho Cucamonga presenting top quality productions that spark the imagination -and feature positive role modeling and uplifting messages that encourage children (and adults) to think about choices and how we treat other people. It’s a company with a unique and important mandate.

For more details, click here.

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