I had a “theatre free” weekend.
No “reviews” for you this time, so I thought I’d give you a peek at some of the upcoming productions on my May schedule. Mark your calendars and catch the ones that interest you! Los Angeles offers an endless flow of diverse productions in our smaller Equity Waiver theaters…but they need our support to thrive. Whether intimate, controversial, informative, historical, musical, or hilarious… every offering represents the dedication of many talented artists following their dream (both on the stage and behind the scenes.) The entertaining diversion from everyday life for us the audience is such a valuable “escape” too. Borrowing written hints of “what’s to come” from my press releases… let me pique your curiosity, along with my own.
The Road Theatre in NoHo. Openings May 7th and May 20th. This always controversial theatre troupe is ever at the top of my list for all-around excellence. They will now open two highly anticipated productions, rotating in repertory. Both plays written by the highly regarded J.T. Rogers, I look forward to this duo.
Madagascar opens May 7th. Billed as “a haunting story of a mysterious disappearance that changes three lives forever,” it takes place in Rome, Italy. Three Americans each reveal their reasons for being here as their gripping story unfolds. Deane Barone plays a tour guide of the city’s ancient ruins. Playing her mother is Taylor Gilbert (founder of “The Road”), and Sam Anderson (co-artistic director of “The Road” and a cast member on TV’s Lost) plays Nathan. Expect flawless performances!
White People opens May 20th. A revival encore production, this intensely involving play was a multi-award winning huge hit here in 1998. I was there for the opening night, and was mesmerized! Now, with an all new cast, we revisit the inner soul and concerns of three ordinary Americans, placed in spot-lit monologue performances. Martin (Tom Knickerbocker), an attorney; a housewife (Mara Lynn); and Alan (Mark Doerr), a young professor, will enact beautifully written, brutally honest meditation on race, guilt, language, prejudice, and “paypack” in our culture. Controversial, darkly humorous, and thought provoking, I was blown away by the performances of Taylor Gilbert, Matt Kirkwood, and David Gianopoulos some 12 years ago! I’m so excited to see it again, performed by a new cast of young actors. For early booking to see either of these plays running in rep, call 866-811-4111.
Rockin’ with the Ages II: Opening May 19th at The Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Look out L.A.! The colorfully positive and perky “Pink Lady” Lady Goldberg is back! A sexy, sassy senior at age 77 with a zest for life that defies “aging” with a vengeance, she is quite a gal! She produced a smaller version of this revue last year at The Actors’ Forum… and sold out every night! This time around, using some of the original cast (all over 60 years “young”) and casting new talents too, she is thrilled to have the much loved David Mingrino wearing the director’s hat! Senior glitz, glamour, dancing, comedy, and singing motivate the fun loving musical madness. Jackie says, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” Call 818-606-6679.
U.S.S. Pinafore: Opening May 20th in NoHo at Crown City Theatre. Adapted and directed by John Mullich from MHS Pinafore and other Gilbert & Sullivan scripts, this one sounds like a madcap, musical marathon of fun! From Shakespearian to comedies, to “cutting edge” efforts… this troupe is fearlessly inventive! A cast of a dozen actors take us back to the 19th century, in a lark that I’m told will blast us out of Earth’s atmosphere, and into a solar system filled with laughter. The press papers state: “The trivial antics of G&S’s veddy British lords and ladies seem far less trivial when they’re fighting for their lives against alien lizard men! (Okay… possibly more trivial, but twice the fun!)” I expect “insanity” at this one! (Lower priced preview nights on May 15th at 8 and May 16th at 3.) Call 800-838-3006.
Congrats are in order to producer David Elzer and the entire cast and crew of the infectiously loveable 1960s doo-wop musical Life Could Be a Dream! In their ninth month of sold out houses at Hollywood’s Hudson Theatre, they recently won the L.A. Weekly “Best Musical Production Award,” and were also honored by the L.A. Drama Circle voters. See this one soon, as it moves to The Laguna Playhouse for two months in July…
Kudos also to one of L.A.’s hardest working artists, Rick Sparks, for his L.A. Weekly win for “Direction of a Musical,” for the riotously relatable Divorce: The Musical, which also ran at the Hudson Theatre.
There’s so much talent erupting non-stop in our “city of broken dreams.” Support their efforts while enriching your own lives. See a play this very weekend! Ta ta for now…