I enjoyed two productions on the weekend …

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As different as they could possibly be … One a wacky farce … the other a concert under the stars … Both wonderful! I love this job!

Hotel Paradiso

From l, Van Boudreaux and Mark Atha in “Hotel Paradiso.”

From l, Van Boudreaux and Mark Atha in “Hotel Paradiso.”

A wildly wacky, fast-paced, highly entertaining French farce, taking place in the late 1920s in Paris … this one will give your “funny bone” a workout! Written by Georges Feydeau and Maurice Desvallieres (translated by Peter Glenville) and hilariously directed by Drina Durazo … a large cast of sixteen actors take us on a hysterically wild ride! Forbidden lovers, a frantic pace, slamming doors, sassy secrets, and manic situations unravel, with razor-sharp humor! Opening in the drawing room of the volatile Angelique and the scandalous Boniface (stellar performances by Suzy London and Van Boudreaux) the insanity erupts! Their unfulfilled friends Marcelle and Cot (each married to others) secretly have “an eye on each other,” and plan a romantic tryst at the Hotel Paradiso (riotously played by Gina Yates and Mark Atha). When Martin, a “seasonally stuttering” acquaintance, stops by wanting to stay at their home with his three daughters, all kinds of craziness ensues (a screamingly funny Doug Haverty). When our devious couple turns up at the eerie hotel, they are greeted by a sleezeball hotel manager (a riotously seedy Robert Gallo). All manners of ditzy deceit explode! Chris Winfield must be applauded for his comic versatility in multiple roles. The rest of the cast, too many to list … All contributed colorfully to our total enjoyment! Kooky kudos also to the behind-the-scenes efforts: Chris Winfield/Drina Durazo (Production Design), Jasmin Lopez (Lighting), Emily Doyle (Costuming), and Christian Ackerman (Sound). This is a non-stop, fast-paced, hilariously rewarding production, folks … sure to entertain your quirky side. Do see it! Running through August 11 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre located at 10900 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. Great air conditioning by the way.… For seats call (818) 763-5990 or go to thegrouprep.com.

Hot Tip:

Ladies get in for half price on Friday nights – so why not plan a “girls’ night out”? You will laugh yourself silly!

California Philharmonic Orchestra – 17th Summer Series Kicks off with a Bang!

California Philharmonic Orchestra Maestro Victor Vener.

California Philharmonic Orchestra Maestro Victor Vener.

Under the expert and chatty Direction of Maestro Victor Vener, who always inspires excellence from his fine orchestra, while keeping it fun and lively for us … We had a wonderful time. In spite of the soaring temps (108° during the day), the audience had a ball at “Festival on the Green,” at Santa Anita Racetrack. Presenting “Beatles, Beethoven, & Beach Boys” this time around, with a large screen next to the stage for a “closer-up view,” we could see everything perfectly! The audience dined at tables or on blankets on the grass, while soaking in the glorious “vibe” and the highly skilled performances. Starting off with the lovely “Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68,” Victor’s lively and informative patter, as always made the experience educational, and rewarding for everyone! This was followed by a nostalgic orchestrated Beach Boys medley … and later a rousing roster of 12 Beatles hits. Performed in Beatles costumes by “The Fab Four” … Ron McNeil (as Lennon), Andy Sarraf (McCartney), Gavin Pring (Harrison), and Erik Fidel (as Ringo…), the audience loved it all! You can bring dinner and dine at round tables for eight, or on blankets further back on the grass. Bring your own dinner and wine, or purchase meals at their gourmet food court. Either way, it is a charming and musically rewarding experience! From 3 to 90, folks of all ages and types attend these concerts, dancing in the aisles and meeting new friends. My guests and I shared a table with a fun-loving African American family of five, ranging from Great Grandma to her Great Granddaughter. The whole experience was magical! Gates open at 5:30 for pre-concert dining, and the concerts kick off at 7:30. There is a full bar available, a live jazz band pre-concert, “kiddie friendly” activities, and many gourmet dinner options for purchase. The upcoming trio of concerts this season includes: Andrew Lloyd Webber Meets Puccini – July 13. Dance Fever – Featuring Dancing with the Stars’ beloved Derek Hough – July 27. And Rogers, Hammerstein, and Gershwin – August 10. To book tickets for these upcoming concerts: call (626) 300-8200 or visit calphil.org. To learn more: go to lauren@pasadena-entertainment.com.

As you can see, I had a pretty special weekend. I do hope my theater column encourages many of you to add “live entertainment” to your plans … There’s more to life than merely existing!

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