I also brushed fate with two long-admired veteran actors. Ed Asner in “FDR”, and I briefly met Mel Brooks, (…who couldn’t have been nicer) on Saturday night. You can have Podunk, Idaho…I LOVE L.A!
Starring Ed Asner at the Historic Pasadena Playhouse. Artistic director Sheldon Epps, executive director Stephen Eich, and all of the dedicated folks involved… are thrilled to announce that the iconic theatre is back in swing! Victims of the global economic downfall of recent years, they were forced to close the doors last February. They have now scheduled a five month sequence of exciting shows. FDR just opened, and I was there on opening night. Ed Asner stars in a focused, commendable and informative solo performance, exploring the life and world events during the reign of one of America’s most revered presidents. Discussing his battle with polio, The Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, the “press,” his wife Eleanor (who he called “Babs”), friends and colleagues, meetings, alliances and much more, there are an awful lot of “details” to take in. Written with heartfelt attention, and a mountain of facts to absorb, by Dore Schary, the play is transfixing and slow moving, in turns… but a worthy overall effect. Franklin Delano Roosevelt… a dedicated “dead serious” man, with a realistic yet humorous look at his reign as the 32nd President, Mr. Asner capably reveals the “heart” of the man. Serving the country during one of its most challenging periods… the parallels to the issues of today are uncanny! He tells us “I’m an American, a Protestant, and a Democrat… but not necessarily in that order.” Millions know Asner as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but beyond that, his remarkable career has earned him seven Emmys, five Golden Globe awards, and an impressive list of theatrical credits. A gem of a production for political history buffs… and an involving theatrical experience for all others… Running through November 7 at Pasadena Playhouse- 29 S. El Molino Ave. in Pasadena. For seats, call (626) 356-7529. For discounted group rates (15 or more), call (626) 792-8672. Also, ask about their $15 rush tickets (depending on availability one hour before curtain).
Love and Other Allergies – A World Premiere
Presented by Vox Humana Theatre Ensemble, this is a thought-provoking, comical and highly enjoyable evening of “one act quickies.” I enjoy this fast-moving, brain-teasing theatrical style. A chance to experience a collection of mini-plays and director’s visions… while sampling the acting abilities of a dozen or so actors… this one was a lot of fun! My press release promised and delivered “…unusual gatherings of characters, who reach out to each other in the hope of finding solace, love, or even the most slippery common ground…” Written ambitiously, with cutting-edge vision by Michele Kholos Brooks (Mel Brooks’ daughter-in-law), we meet some pretty quirky people, in a wild variety of life’s unpredictable situations. Let me give you a brief synopsis of each act, to pique your interest.
Directed by Avner Garbi. An aspiring young British actress (a stunning Cassandra Sanchez-Navarro from Mexico City… in her first L.A. appearance) and a delusional senior ex-actress with a “screw loose,” meet in an allergist’s office (a highly-skilled Eve Sigall). When the nurse leaves them alone… (Collins Reiter), the hilarious insanity erupts!
Directed by D. Ewing Woodruff. A young mother is summoned (Beth Nintzel) by her 4-year-old son’s creepy preschool administrators, who feel the child has behavioral issues (Jeff Blumberg and Katharine Phillips Moser.) A trio of impeccably timed performances! Very funny!
Allergic to Walnuts
Directed by Steve Oreste. Two lonely oddball seniors share “tea time” on a bench, while discussing their relationship. Exploring each other’s feelings, lifestyles and habits… they conclude that this is the first time either has been truly loved. Touching portrayals by Robert Stephen Ryan and Rosemary Stevens.
Directed by Steve Oreste, and flawlessly performed by Avner Garby and Lisa Glass, in one of my two favorite acts. An attractive but uptight (and combative) New York businesswoman steps into a cab, arguing with someone on her phone. Her overly-chatty foreign driver crowds her personal space immediately… and sparks fly! In the end they find common ground, and part better off for their chance meeting.
Directed by Robert Stephen Ryan. (This is my “fave” scene.) A sexy, cocky and “experienced” Latina gal, sick of the men she’s encountered, visits an incarcerated “lifer” in jail. Having been e-mail pen pals on the prison website, she is there to pursue the prospect of a romantic relationship. Very entertaining, perfectly written… and excellently performed by Leila Arias and Kurt A. Boesen.
A delightfully creative grouping of “one acts…” Do catch this one! Running through November 21st at The Lounge Theatre- 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. For seats, call (323) 960 5772 or go online at www.plays411.com/allergies.
That’s it for this week… now back to Hubba Hubba! to hustle Halloween costumes. I’m pooped!