As the holidays fade off in the distance…

Finally, local theatres are presenting their first productions of 2010. I do hope many of you will get out this year and support their efforts. We live in a city brimming over with creativity, dedication and talent just waiting to be shared… and “live” theatre is a rewarding and entertaining way to spend an evening! I love it!

“Ray Bradbury’s Wisdom 2116”

A World Premiere Musical

Photo by Luann Pirillo

(L-R): Samantha Marcella, Lisa Morrice and Steve Josephson.

A “wildly entertaining winner!” One of the world’s most beloved master storytellers, Ray Bradbury’s vision always takes us to the depths of our psyches… and the teetering edge of possibilities. Well into his eighties, he can still open minds, touch hearts and “spin a yarn” like no other! This visually stunning and quirky story mesmerizes the audience throughout, as the beauty, loyalty and wonder of the depth of love between a man and a woman charmingly unfolds. A romantic gem in these fast-paced, fleetingly unsure times, Ray dedicates this one to his friend/mentor, Charles Laughton, and his wife, Elsa Lanchester, whose marriage deeply inspired him some fifty years ago. To our delight, on opening night, Mr. Bradbury colorfully spoke to the audience pre-show and then did a lobby “book signing” afterwards. This whimsical musical, presented in a surreal European style, felt like a cerebral “Cirque du Soleil” of the heart and soul. In a fantasy-like, androgynous world of marionettes, robots, dancers and “magic,” we meet “The Wycherlys” (delightfully played by Rob Harryman and Lisa Morrice). A loving married couple approaching their 40th anniversary, each one secretly explores the act of buying android replicas of their younger selves as celebratory gifts to each other. A lovely gesture… as each learns a lot in the process. Under the mystical and magical direction and eye-popping choreography of Steve Josephson, a mesmerizing and gifted cast takes us on an exciting journey! Amazing dancers/vocalists… all their energy was electric! Book and lyrics by Bradbury and music by John Hoke, blended nicely in offering nearly a dozen entertaining and fun songs. Kudos also go to the “behind the scenes” wizards! J.W. Layne (“trippy” set), Sarah Schuessler (fab costumes), Stuart A. Fabel (inspiring lighting), Darlene Krantz (brilliant makeup), Gregg Barnette (whacky wigs), and the precious Czech Marionettes! This is an ingenious, expertly-written, performed and produced production, folks—suitable for all ages. It will make you “smile” non-stop and leave you wanting more… Do catch it! Running through February 27th at The Fremont Centre Theatre (1000 Fremont Ave. in South Pasadena). Call (323) 960-4451. Admission: $20, seniors $15, students $10.

30 Rocks! Live at The Victory Fundraiser

One Night Only: Sunday, January 31 at 6pm
A celebration and “benefit” evening supporting the impressive 30-year efforts of Burbank’s Victory Theatre Center… this promises to be an affair to remember! Innovative and dedicated owners (…and “dynamic duo”) Tom Ormeny and Maria Gobetti have quite an evening planned! A pre-performance reception will offer hors d’oeuvres, wine, vodka cocktails, desserts and a lively hour of “mix-n-mingle.” At 7pm… a star-studded variety show starring Linda Purl and Tony Award®-winning ventriloquist, Jay Johnson, will explode! Notable dancers, comics, singers and endless surprise acts will donate their talents. General admission is $30 with limited preferred seating at $60. Sounds like a party to me! To book seats, call (818) 841-4404 or visit online at www.thevictorytheatreventer.org.

Mark Your Calendar: “A Prayer for My Daughter”

At NoHo’s Crown City Theatre Opening Feb. 5th
Still “riding high” on their 3-month hit run of “A Big, Gay North Hollywood Wedding” (which will continue to run on Sundays), they will offer this “cutting-edge” drama. Written by Thomas Babe and directed by Albert Alarr (director on “Days of Our Lives”), the storyline and theatre reconstruction plans are pretty “hush hush.” I can’t find out much… The press notes state: “This play’s bizarre poetic quality and edgy dialogue make it a play to remember. The characters display both their masculine and feminine sides as part of a master game of manipulation. Someone is going down for murder…” Intrigued? I am! For more information or to book seats, call (818) 605-5685 or go to www.crowncitytheatre.com.

I know we need it… but I, for one, am fed up with this rainy “gloom n’ doom.” A bright, sunny day about now would be a joy! See you next week…


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