Sadly, the magical production I’m reviewing this week has already closed its short run
Having already done 400 performances in the USA, England, Canada, and New Zealand, I’m hoping it will return to L.A. again. If it does … don’t miss it!
Marilyn: Forever Blonde at The El Portal Theatre in NoHo
The large theatre was at full capacity, as we were all there to get an “inside peek” at the life, charisma, insecurities, hopes, and dreams of Marilyn Monroe. “Blonde Bombshells” of the silver screen come and go by the dozens … but this legendary star still lives in the hearts of millions of fans, 50 years after her death. This factual reenactment, directed dazzlingly by Stephanie Shine, takes place during the star’s actual final photo shoot at age thirty six. A recreation of what might have been her last chance to tell her own story, in her own words. Funny, sexy, heart-touching, and thought provoking … the audience loved it! Born Norma Jeane, raised up by nine sets of foster parents, her deep longing for true love, acceptance, and “respect” for her talent … motivated her life choices. Married three times … once in her teen years, later to Joe DiMaggio, and then to Arthur Miller, with dozens of affairs in between … she just never found her “Prince Charming.” Sweet, sexy, talented, and often scandalous, this was a beautiful and legendary star … who just couldn’t find inner peace. This entertaining production was brilliantly performed by Sunny Thompson, and soulfully written (after extensive research) by her husband Greg Thompson, based on the facts and frailties in Marilyn’s life … and Sunny’s vulnerability was heart wrenching! Her undeniable likeness to Marilyn, in appearance, movements, breathy delivery, and song vocals are uncanny! Actually … she’s a much better singer than Monroe was, by far. A dynamic delight, she was given a rousing standing ovation from an eye poppingly star studded audience! Congrats to Jason Phillips for a great set design, Woody Woodburn for inspiring lighting, and Mimi Countryman and Alice Worthy for fabulous costumes! An excellent and captivating theatrical experience all round!
A Timely Change
The El Portal’s smaller second theatre has now been renamed “The Monroe Forum Theatre,” inaugurated on Marilyn’s opening night … with celebrities, cupcakes, and champagne. Its reception area is adorned with a wonderful collection of framed photos of “Monroe” and various costars. Check it out!
A dynamic duo! Kudos to the savvy Pegge Forrest and Jay Irwin, for their love and diligence. In their endless quest to book fantastic and diverse productions and events at the beautiful El Portal … they have been tireless!
Elmina’s Kitchen – Opening This Weekend at The Lost Studio. Written by Award-Winning British Playwright, Kwame Kwei-Armah.
He will be honored at BuckinghamPalacethis year, for his “services to drama,” by the Queen’s appointment as “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” (OBE). Congratulations are in order! This play is said to be a gut-wrenching drama, set in the notorious “Murder Mile” section of London’s East End. It examines the bitter clash of values between three generations of black men, and its effect on their families and community. Sounds pretty powerful … I’ll tell you all about it once I’ve seen it. To book seats early call (323) 960-4451 or visit lowerdeptheatreensemble.org.
How about those Olympics! The dedication, skill, and “back stories” of these young athletes are mind-bending. I’m exhausted just from watching the spectacle from my comfy couch!