In an unusual set of circumstances, both of the particular productions I’ll tell you about this time are already “past,” which means you won’t be able to see them
Tricky…but in each case… “There’s more to come!” Read on…
The Nvitational Dance Festival at The El Portal – July 29-Aug. 14
I wrote a lengthy and informative article in my July 20 column about this “musical marathon of movement” (a different program each night) running for 18 performances. To book seats or get more info about the upcoming schedule, call (818) 508-4200 or go to www.elportaltheatre.com. To read my original write up on the show, go to www.tolucantimes.com and search for “Nite Lights.” Featuring the visions of some of the busiest and highly respected choreographers, and 75 of the “hottest” young contemporary dancers in the “biz”…there are plenty of musical thrills to be had! Three stages in different locations will be rockin’ every show, one after the other, throughout the run of the event. The choreographers and dancers, showcased the night we went, were as follows: Scott Hislop’s “Comedic Movement” and Ryan Heffington’s riotous “drag show,” “The Lady Boys of Sweaty Sundays,” in the Forum Pre-Show. Later, on the main stage, three lengthier pieces were presented by noted choreographers and many inspiring dancers. Dee Caspary… (Called “the modern day Fosse of our generation” by Dance Magazine) offered the haunting “It’s All Around You.” Kitty McNamee guided “The Wheel,” and Marty Kudelka offered a “cutting edge” smooth hip hop selection (our favorite!). Each piece was performed by sizable groups of beautifully toned, innovative dancers, wearing creative and provocative costumes (not credited). All of you hopeful “up ‘n coming” gifted dancers should experience these performances! The El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.
A Good House for a Killing – at the Beverly Garland Theatre
This was my first time as an audience member at a CART Radio Theatre production (California Artists Radio Theatre) and it was quite a lot of fun! (Tho’ confusing at times keeping track of it all…) Like being a privileged fly on the wall, peering in on a group if strangers’ lives, as the story unfolds. No sets or scenic changes… no tricks or illusions… just a large cast of respected and recognizable actors, scripts in hand, and tons of sound effects being created onstage to set the activity of the plot. A pretty “trippy,” in the moment experience. You really had to pay attention to keep up with the whole zany story! “CART” has been presenting world renowned actors, scripts, musicians and writers, for over 20 years. Each play only runs for a day, to record for radio play… and availability for public purchase. Highly acclaimed and cleverly produced and directed by Peggy Webber…since 2001 they can be heard on XM Radio, Oasis and audible recordings for fans to purchase, and new productions run periodically at this venue (since 1999). To order any of the CART celebrity performance tapes, or receive a list of those available…call (213) 683-3422 or go to www.cartaudio.org. This play, A Good House for a Killing, was written by the beloved and quirky Marvin Kaplan (book and lyrics), who also hilariously appears here as a German personal assistant to a “blowhard” Shakespearian actor. (Music by Scott Martin & Richard Loring) At 84 years young, Marv’s creativity and “zest for life” is remarkable! He now hopes to eventually produce this one as a full length film! John R. Lee is wonderful as the brash and boozing thespian, who rubs everyone the wrong way… There are those who plot to end his miserable life, but eventually he redeems himself. In a highlight moment, his song performance on “Give Me Tonight” was brilliantly moving! A talented cast of 15 notable working actors play these “tongue-in-cheek” roles with pizzazz, in this Wild West, barroom musical comedy! Too many to comment on all, but they must be mentioned: Leslie Easterbrook, Richard Herd, H.M. Wynant, John Harlan, Linda Henning, Tommy Cook, Joe Flood, Bob Legionaire, Paul Keith, Phil Proctor, Tom Williams, Diane Mercer and Annie Gagen. A “fun-loving” concept in theatrical offerings! Kudos to all involved!
Hot Tip: The incomparable Dave Morgan at “The Cork” in Sherman Oaks (Friday nights for awhile)
We went to catch one of my “fave” singer/keyboardists, and “human beings,” at this comfy little bar behind the long open Corky’s Restaurant on Van Nuys Boulevard. With the soul and voice of a rock ‘n’ roll angel… This man will heal whatever ails you! Stop by and catch him and his great band soon! (No cover)
That’s my entertainment chit chat for this week…as always…more to come.