Many of this season’s TV premieres start up this week…

A bit of an “entertainment junkie,” I’ll be glued to the tube, like many of you. After a long summer of reruns… I look forward to checking out the new series, and checking in on the characters and shows that I’m already hooked on!

That’s Amore – An American Italian Song Book

The cast of “That’s Amore – An American Italian Song Book,” front center, Gilmore Rizzo, from back l, Paul Katz, Tod Macofsky and Perry Gentry.

A totally entertaining autobiographical musical revue that will keep a smile on your face, and a song in your heart throughout… I loved every magical moment of this one! A joyous and comedic tribute to family, heritage, music and the universal “Italian passion” for food… That’s Amore is a heartwarming crowd pleaser. Under the lively direction of Ginny McMath, the cast seemed to be having a blast! Starring the talented and infectiously likeable Gilmore Rizzo… (who just happens to be the cousin of Bobby Darin on momma’s side and Chuck Mangione on papa’s side), the songs and poignantly revealing personal stories of his life are joyous! He opens the show by saying, “There are two kinds of people in the world… ‘Italians,’ and the people who wish they were Italian.” Tastefully accompanied on electric keyboards by Bryan Miller (Gilmore’s “life partner” for 17 years), he shares fondly vivid memories of his colorful family, and a “delicious feast” of well known hit Italian songs. You’ll likely recognize most of them… recorded by the likes of Dean Martin, Sinatra, Connie Francis, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney… and more. On a flairfully “fab” 1950s set, and backed by three excellent and playful male singers called “The Three Goombahs,” he takes us on a sentimental and fun filled journey. “The Goombahs” are played by Paul Katz, Tod Macofsky and Perry Gentry. Proudly sharing priceless old photos of his family members as his life history unfolds, we learn much about “familia” Italian style! Passionately recalling his upbringing in an American-Italian family, he honors the four women who decidedly shaped his life… A loving mother, a clever sister and two wise and quirky grandmothers. Plenty of relatable chuckles, heartfelt memories and gorgeous vocal harmonies, captivated the appreciative audience… who gave them a rousing standing ovation! Much detailed dialogue about the Pisano “love affair” with food… left us starving! Luckily, we were treated to delicious homemade cannolis and Chianti, after the opening night performance. This is a charmingly intimate theatrical experience, which may just stir up some lingering memories of your own upbringing… Do try to catch it! Running through Oct. 23 in the back theatre at The NoHo Arts Center located at 11136 Magnolia Blvd. in NoHo. For seats, call (818) 508-7101 ext. 6, or visit www.thenohoartscenter.com.

Mark Your Calendar Sequel: Life Begins Again

A “one night only” benefit production at Burbank’s Colony Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. The script was co written by June August and Sonny Fox… two widows in a “bereavement program” sponsored by the H.O.P.E. Foundation. Boasting a cast of seven, this is a musical-comedy benefit performance, on the subject of “restoring a vibrant life after loss.” The story follows two widows and two widowers who come to realize that “The right time is the time left…” Sounds quite inspiring… To attend this worthy evening of theatre… call (818) 788-4673 or The Hope Unit Foundation at (818) 788-4673. General admission is $35; students $25 and $25 each for groups of eight.

Yikes! The manic but profitable “Halloween Season” is quickly approaching! With a few new stores open, and offering costumes this year along Magnolia Boulevard, it could just be wackier than ever after Oct. 1! I hope to survive the insanity!


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