No play reviews this week. Instead, I will use my space this time to honor and celebrate the visionary life of a friend …

Whose time on earth has played out. I’m quite sure that he is on a stage in heaven, passionately coaching the angels!

Gene Bua – Oct. 7, 1940 to Nov. 17, 2012

Toni and Gene decades ago on the long-running soap opera “Love of Life.”

The community and theatrical world has recently lost a very unique, talented, and special man, after a 13 year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Gene Bua was a fine actor, singer, and renowned Master Acting Coach, to many now famous people … Brad Pitt, Drew Barrymore, Katey Sagal, Mario Lopez … just to name a few. Gene was a soulful, volatile, passionate, deeply complicated, charismatic, and spiritual man, who definitely lived his life by his own set of rules! He is survived by his loving and talented “angel of a wife,” and soul partner, Toni Bull Bua. The couple met nearly 50 years ago as actors on the set of Love of Life … and the rest of their endless love story is history. The duo moved from New York to Burbank in 1980. They soon opened/cofounded the “Gene Bua Acting for Life” theatre, here in Burbank. There, they taught and inspired hundreds of actor hopefuls to “be in the moment,” and celebrate their worthiness. Many unforgettable productions graced their stage through the years … most notably their co-written heartbending musical about teen suicide. Titled Pepper Street and soulfully starring Riley Weston at the time, it ran for six years and garnered major accolades, including honors from the White House, and many other organizations. This was the magical place and time when I met the Buas … and began a lifelong friendship with them. As creative, complex, and dedicated a couple as I’ve ever met … their mutual love and admiration was undeniable! They later created an acting program for “youth at risk,” with the “Penny Lane Residential Treatment Center.”

The Buas in recent years.

Gene is also survived by a son, a granddaughter, a brother, and a countless number of friends and acting students, who will always benefit from the Bua’s mantra … “Live Your Dream.” Gene Bua…. This loving, spiritual, handsome, brilliant, multitalented, and sometimes cantankerous “larger-than-life” man, was loved by many, misunderstood by some, and a “guiding light” to others. He lived his life with spontaneous unbridled passion! I feel lucky to have known and followed the dreams of this unique man … and will feel his inner beauty forever! His wife Toni is dealing with the loss of “the love of her life” with the same positive, selfless, grateful, and spirited grace that has always earned her adoration from anyone who meets her. She will host a celebration of Gene’s life early in the new year.

Avenue Q – The Met Theatre in Hollywood

With a friend visiting from out of town, I went back for the second time, to see Avenue Q, presented flawlessly by The Doma Theatre Co. A wildly enjoyable x-rated celebration, looking at controversial issues, and played out by hilarious puppets and actors … this highly inventive adult themed musical romp is a must see for liberal-minded theatergoers. Garnering rave reviews all over town, it has been a sell out every performance … but an extension is being discussed. To find out when seats are available, call (323) 802-4990 or go to domatheatre.com.

Random Notes: Whacky Christmas Sweaters at “Hubba Hubba!”

It has been a fad the past few holiday seasons, to host Christmas parties where the guests must wear outrageous holiday sweaters! I’ve bought them when I can find them all year long, and have about 40 by now. Come take a look! If you can’t find one you like … Try my next door neighbors’ selections. Both “Swift” and “Magnolia Gowns” have their own collections! $25 to $30 each.

Best slogan I’ve heard in ages … in an Audi TV commercial. “Be yourself … Everyone else is taken.”

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, spent with family and friends. Back next week with a couple of new “reviews” for your consideration….

No play reviews this week. Instead, I will use my space this time to honor and celebrate the visionary life of a friend …


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