I only caught one production on the weekend, but it was a wild ‘n’ wonderful winner!

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Hope you’ll see it! A winner for all audience members who are “young at heart”… of any age!

Hoboken to Hollywood – A Journey through the Great American Songbook

Luca Ellis in “Hoboken To Hollywood: A Journey Through The Great American Songbook,” at Edgemar Center for the Arts.

Wow…What a spectacular musical adventure… I loved every magical moment! If there was a “re-run button,” I would’ve sat there and watched it again from start to finish. “We” are the live audience at a 1960s taping of a TV broadcast Special, starring “that famous crooner from Hoboken.” A clever “behind the scenes” look at the whole process… we are privy to the loveable crooner’s inspiring song performances, camera work, cue cards, commercials, audience applause signs, screw ups, bickering, and final outcome, of an exciting TV show. Later to be viewed by millions of fans… funny, manic, touching and wildly entertaining… it was as if we were actually a part of it all. The charismatic, sinfully handsome and mega talented Luca Ellis, was billed in our theatre programs as “The Crooner.” Although “old blue eyes” was never mentioned by name, (probably “rights” issues) it was delightfully obvious from song one… whose life, talent and charisma we were peering in on. We were charmingly captivated in a nostalgic experience throughout, as Luca’s “likeness” to Sinatra magnified with each wonderful song. (They just don’t write ‘em like that anymore.) His velvety voice, breathing, phrasing, smooth style, swagger, wardrobe, and persona… brought the Italian super-stud back to life with brilliance! Performing over 20 beloved songs, smoothly winning over our hearts, and spawning memories… the audience loved him! Lovingly produced by Peach Reasoner, the show was directed by Jeremy Aldridge, who also co-wrote the script with Luca and musical director Paul Litteral, whose 12-piece onstage orchestra was fabulous! The kooky supporting cast was also a joy, each adding to our total enjoyment. Notably… Pat Towne was a non-stop riot as the frazzled Andy, juggling the multi-production tasks of the taping, under the frantic scrutiny of the demanding director (Al Bernstein). Chandler Hill (Announcer), Jeff Markgraff (band leader, Nelson Riddle), Franci Montgomery (the blonde bimbo commercial actress, Darlene) and Aaron Star, (Cameraman #1), skillfully played their parts. “Fave” songs and vocal performances for me include “Stardust,” “One for my Baby,” “Young at Heart,” “Don’t Worry About Me,” and “I’m Gonna Live ‘Til I Die.” Special kudos to the entire production team for perfectly setting the mood, and keeping it all realistic and raw. You’re gonna love this show… book your seats today, but I think it will become a sold-out hit! Running through December 14th at the gorgeous Edgemar Center for the Arts – 2437 Main St. in Santa Monica. For seats, call (310) 392-7327 or online at edgemarcenter.org.

In my final week of frantic Halloween madness, (thank goodness) I don’t have the time or energy to review any plays for next week. I’ll be back in early November, though, with more of my thoughts and opinions on L.A. theatre shows. In the mean time… get out and enjoy the play!

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