I caught two musicals on the weekend ….

Very different in style and content. One in NoHo and the other in Hollywood.

Nine the Musical

Photo by Michael Lamont

Melissa Anjose and David Michael Treviño in “Nine.”

As always with Doma Theatre’s musical offerings at The Met, the spacious equity waiver theatre feels like a much larger theatrical space than it is. With a huge stage area, and well sloped audience seating … you get a “larger” theater experience, in a 99 seat venue. In their second season of five musicals a year, I haven’t missed a single one, and am always highly entertained. Nine, the multiple award winning musical, written by Arthur Kopit (Book) and Maury Yeston (Music/Lyrics) was based on Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film, 8 ½. It is a sensually lively and passionate look at the life, marriage, affairs, and downfalls of a famous Italian Director. Suffering a major creative mid-life block, and endless issues with the ladies in his life … Guido Contini’s world is falling apart at the seams. As he ponders his dilemma, we repeatedly flash back to his life as a happy child of “nine,” before fame, fortune, infidelities, and insecurities begin to rule his world. As a hot blooded Italian, with an incurable “lust” for women, David Michael Treviño plays Guido with believability … but undeniably the powerful cast of 11 talented and gorgeous women steal the show! Under the eye poppingly exciting direction of Marco Gomez, the large cast captivates us with spot lit performances, in scintillating costumes by Irvin Jimenez. Musical Director, Chris Raymond and his onstage band rock the house! Melissa Anjose was heart-wrenching as Guido’s long-suffering wife. Other stand outs for me included: Lovlee Carroll, Toni Smith, Emilia Sotelo, and Michelle Holmes, but the entire cast also fared well. Behind the scenes kudos also to: Rae Toledo (Choreography), Amanda Lawson (Scenic Design), David Crawford (Sound), and Johnny Ryman (Lighting). This is an elaborate and entertaining production, folks. Do try to catch it! Running through Aug. 18 at The Met Theatre located at 1089 N. Oxford Ave. in Los Angeles. For seats, call (323) 802-4990 or go to domatheatre.com. General admission is $30. Seniors and students $20 with ID.

The Island – A World Premiere Sky Pilot Original Script.

T31-25-COL-Pat Taylor 2

The cast of “The Island.” From l, Ali Perkins, Jason Kobielus, Mark Ostrander, JR Esposito, Jude Evans, Catherine Cox, Lindsey Mixon, and Ashley Fuller (not pictured).

An edgy, “off the wall” new musical, with eight quirky characters and an eclectic music score … this is a wildly whacky production! With clever book and music by Jonathan Price, looney lyrics by Chana Price, and playfully directed by Jeanette Farr … the insanity runs rampant! A kooky reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest (which I’ve never seen) in a modern day alternate timeline, we first encounter a sorceress named Prospera (a powerful Lindsey Mixon) and her lonely teenage daughter Miranda, who’ve been stranded on an island for 15 years. Ali Perkins, a multi-talented beauty, plays Miranda with award-worthy excellence. Jude Evans as the island’s horny screwball, Caliban, is hilarious! Ashley Fuller as a kooky sprite, who bids Prospera’s wishes, is an animated delight! When a plane crashes on the island a decade and a half later … its nutty passengers are also stranded here, and must interact with its captive inhabitants. They include: Queen Alansa (A very funny Catherine Cox), her male companion (a zany JR Esposito), her cocky son, the Prince (a delightfully naughty/bawdy Jason Kobielus), and a “mute” novelty entertainer (a standout performance by Mark Ostrander). Sparks fly, and relationships form among them in witty dialogue, and sixteen crowd pleasing song performances (styles ranging from ballads, to “big band,” to pop, rap, theatrical, and naughty/bawdy showstoppers!) The whole zany play is inventive, fun, lively, and “off color,” in turns. Tifanie McQueen’s earthy island set, Samantha Carro’s costumes, and Heidi Marie’s moody lighting, set the tone perfectly for this insanely creative lark. A sensationally silly theatrical experience, for those who need a good laugh! Running through Aug. 18 at T.U. Studios located at 10943 Camarillo St. in North Hollywood. For seats ($20) call (323) 229-2753 or SkyPilotTheatre.com.

That’s my story for this time. See you next week.

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