December 2019

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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Love Actually Live

Love Actually Live is now playing at The Wallis starring Rex Smith (Photo Lawrence K. Ho)

Love Actually Live

  • By Debbie Emery
  • Photo By Lawrence K. Ho

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a tear-inducing dose of Love Actually. Richard Curtis’ British romantic comedy has become essential Christmas viewing since it was released in 2003, and the classic is once again being brought to life at The Wallis’ Bram Goldsmith Theater in Beverly Hills.

For Love Actually devotees who cringe at the idea of other actors taking over the iconic roles played by Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson and the late Alan Rickman to name but a few, can rest assured. Instead of a theatrical adaptation, the movie is aired on multiple giant screens in its entirety while intertwined with live performances by a cast of pitch perfect singers and a 15-piece orchestra on stage. Now in its second year, The Wallis and For The Record’s production brings the festive charm of London to life through the use of rotating sets, twinkling lights and a present-laden Christmas tree.

The original Love Actually soundtrack was also the gift that kept on giving, with artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Dido, Girls Aloud, and the Beach Boys all contributing hit tracks. But we guarantee that it’ll be the catchy Christmas Is All Around by fictional rocker Billy Mack (played by Rex Smith returning to the role) that you’ll be singing in the aisles as you leave the theatre.

For tickets and details, click here.

LEDISI: The Legend…

Ledisi: The Legend of Little Girl Blue at The Wallis December 13-29th

LEDISI: The Legend…

  • By Deborah Behrens
  • Photo By Ron Young

Powerhouse vocalist and twelve-time Grammy nominee Ledisi returns to her jazz roots with an intimate show dedicated to one of her greatest inspirations, the iconic Nina Simone. LEDISI: The Legend of Little Girl Blue, a musical journey into the lives of Nina Simone and Ledisi, mixes classical, jazz and rhythm & blues sounds with the captivating tale of a contemporary artist influenced by a legend from the past. In a nightclub-style setting at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts’ Lovelace Studio Theater, Ledisi portrays herself, her mother and Simone performing reimagined versions of her classic hits in this beautifully orchestrated production featuring strings and big band horns.

Created by Ledisi and co-written with husband Ron Young, this soon to be legendary evening is produced by five-time Tony Award nominee Suzi Dietz (Mothers and Sons, Fela!) and Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning multi-hyphenate Billy Porter (Kinky Boots, Pose). Eight-time Grammy and Emmy Award winner Gregg Field (Ella 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella Fitzgerald, The Kennedy Center Honors) directs alongside creative music supervisor Kim Burse (Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Tina Turner) and musical director Brandon Waddles.

“Nina Simone’s legacy lifted me and reminded me to be proud of my skin and embrace the walk I was given. Her music lets me know I am not alone in my journey.” — Ledisi

Plays December 13-29. For more information, click here.

Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress starring Miriam Drysdale, Danielle Trzcinski, and Amanda Barker at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (Photo Dahlia Katz)

Little Black Dress

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo By Dahlia Katz

You’ve got one.  Your friend has one. Audrey had one in Breakfast at Tiffanys. There was Coco Chanel’s 1926 Ford Dress and Lady Di’s revenge dress. Every woman has that one reliable little black dress — the ‘secret weapon’ that has been with her through all stages of her life.  Now the hilarious team that created Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody returns with Little Black Dress The Musical and it’s a must see.

We can all relate to best friends Dee and Mandy as they experience life through their LBDs – first dates, first kiss, first break up tears, first jobs, first (and second) awkward sexual experiences and beyond.  You’ll laugh, cry, sympathize, sing along and scream – I guarantee it.

I couldn’t resist asking Danielle Trzcinski who co-wrote the play and stars as Dee about her go to LBD.  “I love how versatile it is.  You can dress it up with some heels and colorful earrings…or throw on a pair of flats for brunch with your parents.” And why do audiences come back again and again.  “It’s a full musical with improve so every show is different and audience participation is a big part of what makes our show so unique and fun”.

So gather up your posse and head to the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City to enjoy a very funny and very poignant girls’ night out at Little Black Dress.

For tickets and more details, click here.

Disney’s Frozen

Disney’s Frozen at Pantages Theatre December 4th – February 2nd

Disney’s Frozen

  • By Debbie Emery

Christmas comes early for this year Arendelle-obsessed Angelenos as Frozen the Musical brings its magic from the Great White Way to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre on December 4th. Wicked alum Caroline Bowman takes over the lead role of Elsa, with Caroline Innerbichler (Anna), Austin Colby (Hans), F. Michael Haynie (Olaf), and Mason Reeves (Kristoff) rounding out the rest of the main cast.

For anyone who has been hibernating for the past six years, Frozen is the heartwarming tale of Princess Elsa as she struggles to control her magical powers that create ice and snow. But when she accidentally unleashes them on the court during her coronation as queen, Arendelle literally freezes over. Younger sister Anna must join forces with mountaineer Kristoff and his reindeer sidekick, Sven, to find Elsa and break her icy spell, with sentient snowman Olaf providing much-needed comic relief for the princesses in peril.

Frozen received praise for its original musical numbers that transform flawlessly to the stage. Composed and written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, original songs such as Let It Go, Do You Want to Build a Snowman? and Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People have reached iconic status and are belted out by the vocal powerhouses of the new cast in the theatrical extravaganza.

Runs December 4th-February 2nd. For more details, click here.

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