Only caught one production to report on this time
I took a much needed little get-a-way jaunt to San Diego to recover from my store’s manic Halloween season! I went there to partly relax and partly to hang out with two of my “vintage clothing dealer” gal pals, who both live in that area. Tho’ I’m still pooped, I had a good time! Thought I’d pass on a couple of “special” places to “check out” the next time you head down south… I had a delicious dinner, and drinks (and plenty of laughs), at “The Red Fox” with my friend Linda, who’s a daytime “mixologist” there. Owned by the charming John Dimos for over 50 years… Being there was a fond flashback to times spent at Burbank’s long-running film studios/local hunt, “The Blarney Stone!” (Exactly the same “vibe.”) Great steaks/seafood, garlic toast, bleu cheese dressing and old tyme ambiance… served in a room so dark you can barely find your fork. With “live” piano bar music nightly, kitchen open til midnight, great service and a colorfully varied clientele… this spot is an “institution,” just as was our much missed counterpart. The next day I spent with June who took me to “Balboa Park” for a delectable lunch at the gorgeous “Prado,” and to catch a vintage gown exhibit in one of the many museums there. The rest of the time I was catching up on my sleep, “getting lost” or driving the wrong direction on one-way streets in the massive and confusing city! Maddening! It seems I need another get-a-way to recover from that get-a-way! Now… back to theatre chat…
“Polyester the Musical”
For a whacky trip back to the 1970’s Disco era… complete with its flashy miniskirts, white boots, bell bottoms, Afro-“doos” and outrageous dance moves… this one will get you there! Countless zany 70’s references, jokes, costumes, gestures and songs will catapult you back to that period in musical history. Tho’ I was never a fan of the “disco craze” or the style of music that pulsed it… many of the audience members opening night were die-hard “Disco-ettes” who laughed uncontrollably throughout! This is one of those energetically entertaining productions that will thrill some theatre-goers as they “trip” down memory lane, and that will strike others as “overkill.” Written by two unseemingly likely co-writers, each with their own impressive credits and careers, Phil Olson (book/lyrics) and Wayland Pickard (music/lyrics) joined forces here for the first time. The show features 16 original comedic 70’s style song/dance routines and a story about an “over the hill” 70’s musical group trying to make a comeback. Phil is best known for his hilarious series of plays about folks living in “small town” Minnesota, and Wayland for his self-written and performed “Liberace Tribute…” though both have done so much more. Michele Bernath’s lively disco choreography and Carey Dunn’s lighting set the mood effectively! “We” are the 1999 “live” audience at WKLN (a public access TV station) as they broadcast a telethon, hoping to “save” the station. Riotously hosted by the cocktail swizzling, over exuberant Lance, in a mint green suit and ruffled shirt, (a delightfully quirky Robert Moon), “The Syncronistics” are the featured band. After their only hit record (in 1979), “Remember the Good Times We Had,” set them up for major fame… unexpected events tore them apart. An ABBA “wannabe” group, now middle-aged… this telethon is their big chance to reignite their careers and lives. Under the insanely nutty co-direction of Pickard and Doug Engalla, this enthusiastic cast of five has a rollicking good time! Singing, dancing and digging deeply into their personal “issues…” All work hard! As sizzling secrets unfold, we gain an understanding of why they parted 20 years ago. Jim Staahl is “spot on” as Carl, Christopher Fairbanks plays “the naughty hubby” Barry, Pamela Donnelly plays his angry ex-wife Mindy and Gwendolyn Druyor (my all-round favorite) is adorably perky as Peggy. Quite honestly, though I did enjoy certain moments and particular songs/segments of this show… the whole shebang was a bit too corny and contrived for my taste! Having said that… I’m sure that there are plenty of 70’s music fans out there who will get a kick out of this camp farce. You know who you are… and you are the “Polyester” targeted audience!
Running through December 20th at The Actors Forum in NoHo. For your seats, smack dab in the middle of the 1970’s, call (323) 822-7898.
Life Could Be A Dream—At Hollywood’s Hudson Theatre Complex
Having ravingly reviewed this wildly loveable 1930’s Doo Wop musical, with a flawless young cast, three months ago, I went back to share its “feel good” joy with my family this time. Still fabulous and packin’ in sold out houses, producers David Elzer and Peter Schneider have a smash hit on their hands! New York bound hopefully… if you haven’t seen it yet… do it while it’s still in Los Angeles.
Next week’s theatrical travels will take me to the opening night performances of “Molly” at The Victory and “Baby, It’s You” at The Pasadena Playhouse. Check back then for the “scoop…”