I was pretty busy on the weekend!

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I saw two productions to tell you about, watched the Super Bowl, “hit” some estate sales, and started working on my taxes. Yikes!

Benched – A Los Angeles Premiere. Presented by Interact Theatre.

Photo credit Alan Naggar

Eddie Jones (foreground) and John Towey in “Benched.”

Written with spellbinding skill by noted playwright, Richard Broadhurst … this is a captivating and thought-provoking play. Directed by the highly respected Anita Khanzadian with heartfelt emotion, on an effective set by Joel Daavid, I will not soon forget this quartet of heartfelt portrayals. As the play opens, Max, a disgruntled “life-worn” senior, comes to his longtime favorite bench in Central Park, to eat a sandwich and contemplate his destiny. He finds Randall, a stranger on “his” bench, who refuses to vacate it … claiming to be an “angel of death.” Who is he? Why is he here? A humorously poignant story unfolds as the two men interact … revealing the events and loved ones who have shaped Max’s life journey. Starring two highly regarded and recognizable veteran actors of stage and screen … Eddie Jones as Max and John Towey as Randall give brilliantly fine-tuned performances … captivating throughout! Kelly Lohman gives a fresh and spirited turn as Katherine, and Matt Fowler is kooky and animated as the “young man.” A compelling story about hope, self worth, memories, and regrets … that is all of the surreal storyline I want to reveal here. A thought provoking evening of theater, abundant with “food for thought,” and well sprinkled with comedic and heartfelt moments. Do try to see it! Running though March 24 at The Avery Schreiber Theatre located at 11050 Magnolia Blvd. in NoHo. For seats call (818) 765-8732 or go to interact.org.

And the World Goes ‘Round

Photo by Ed Krieger

The cast of “And the World Goes ‘Round,” from l, Kristin Towers-Rowles, Ryan Ruge, Emily King Brown, Isaac James, and Erica Hanrahan-Ball.

Celebrating the highly successful pairing of Kander (music) and Ebb (lyrics), their multi-award winning co-writing has produced such hit shows as Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman (just to name a few). It is offered here by a new theater company called Be Wild About Music. Dedicated to focusing on musical revues and exposing “up n coming” talents … this is their maiden voyage. Featuring over two dozen Kander and Ebb songs (many of which you will know) a fresh and stellar cast offers playful and highly skilled vocal performances. The story was conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson. Directed ambitiously by Gary Lee Reed, and with musical direction handled by talented onstage pianist/singer Joshua Eli Krantz … An attractive and talented cast takes us on a fun-loving and touching musical journey. Erica Hanrahan-Ball, Isaac James, Emily King Brown, Ryan Ruge, and Kristan Towers-Rowles … all excellent singers, offer inspiring and multi-layered performances. This show is a tasty treat for “musical revue” enthusiasts! The action takes place on a nightclub-esque set (by Thomas S. Giamario) where drummer Alex Strickels doubles as the bartender. Noel Britton’s choreography, Daniel Mahler’s costumes, and Matt Richter’s lighting set the tone nicely. Though the vocal performances were “spine tingling,” the first act seemed overly long to me, although the second act, offering more highly familiar songs … sped by in a flash! For a fun-loving show, loaded with Kander and Ebb classics and strong performances … this is the one to see! Running through March 10 at NoHo Arts Center located at 11136 Magnolia Blvd. in NoHo. For tickets call (323) 960-4418 or go to plays411.net/world.

Deja V 2 – Three Performances Only!

After a successful engagement at The Magic Castle in Hollywood, you too can catch this magically mindbending show in an intimate theatre space. A blend of mischief, comedy, and wonder … performed by International Magic Champion, Brian Joseph Ochab, and awarded stage and film phenom, Brandon Scott … This is a must see! Running Feb. 15 & 16 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 17, 3 o’clock matinee. Actor’s Forum Theatre is located at 10655 Magnolia Blvd. For tickets/info call (818) 506-0600.

That’s my story for this time … More to come next week!

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