Lots of Celebrations a Birthday a Homecoming and More

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It was a big day for a grand lady. Dolores Hope enjoyed her 101st birthday on May 27th with family and a few close friends. It was a quiet celebration at her Toluca Lake home, because Dolores jokes that she’s still recovering from her big blowout 100th last year. Hats off to her daughter, producer Linda Hope, who has become the guardian of her late legendary dad’s legacy, with all the Bob Hope honors that still keep coming. On June 10th in Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress will reopen the Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment with the new exhibit “Hope for America: Performers, Politics & Pop Culture.” And did you know that on June 2nd, the Bob Hope Airport celebrated its 80th anniversary?

Catherine Ricafort in A Chorus Line

photo from Broadway/LA

Catherine Ricafort in “A Chorus Line”

A Chorus Line is at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood (now through June 13), and taking center stage is a talented local girl Catherine Ricafort. The L.A. engagement is a homecoming celebration for Catherine, who grew up in the Valley and graduated USC last May. Although she studied industrial engineering, her minor was in musical theatre, and it didn’t take her long to land the role of Connie in the national touring company of A Chorus Line. She says “the discipline that you need for engineering studies can also be applied to the dedication you need to hone your craft as a performer.” Her proud family is from the Philippines, but Catherine was born in Thousand Oaks, and says “At a young age I developed my love for theater by joining the a cappella group the SoCal-VoCals. And I would go to see shows at the Pantages all the time, never realizing I’d get the chance to perform there. It’s a dream come true.” To quote the song from the show, she’s “One singular sensation.” Go and see the sensational stars in A Chorus Line.

VOX Mother Nature concert

For everyone who goes cheerio for the hit FOX show Glee, there’s another lineup of talented choral performers you should check out: The fabulous group VOX Femina of Los Angeles. They have an important concert coming up June 26, at the Zipper Concert Hall, at the Colburn School downtown. Artistic director/conductor Dr. Iris S. Levine founded VOX 12 years ago, and established it as one of the preeminent women’s choruses in the world.

She announced the next VOX Femina program will present “Cool Blue, Songs for a Green Earth.” Levine says, “It will be a celebration of the glories, wonders and gifts of the natural world. We will add our voice to those calling on all of us to save Mother Nature.” The repertoire will be a mix of choral pieces from the classical world, folk and popular music genres. A bit of a philosopher, Levine says, “Through music, we aim to create a world that affirms the worth and dignity of every person.” Of course, that includes Mother Nature.

Magic for Our Military

The Sealed with a Wish Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of U.S. troops serving in combat zones, primarily Afghanistan and Iraq. “It’s a charitable organization that provides comfort and care items from home that they would not normally receive,” reports founder Joan Lawton, who encourages people to check out their efforts on www.sealedwithawish.org. On the wish list for soldiers I was surprised to see simple things, such as M&Ms, Chapstick, and playing cards, mean so much to those far away. “They help morale, with the thoughts that the folks back home are thinking of them,” Lawton told me. Thanks to donations and volunteers, about 50 packages get sent every month, more if they can.

To help their efforts, Sealed With A Wish is putting on a fundraiser called Magic for Our Military, June 19 at the Rubicon Theater in Ventura. Because the organization has a strong connection with the Magic Castle, six master magicians from around the world will be presenting great family entertainment. Ventura may sound like a long way to go for a show, but Magician of the Year Kevin James is coming in from Las Vegas to perform. And think of how many GIs would love to take that trip.

Hope our soldiers were in your thoughts over the Memorial Day Weekend.

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Valley Variety

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